Karma Bites
  • Karma Bites
  • Karma Bites

Karma Bites

4.6 9
by Stacy Kramer, Valerie Thomas

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Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders.

Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma.

Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up.

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Life seems to have it in for Franny Flanders.

Her best friends aren’t speaking, her parents just divorced, and her hippie grandmother has moved in. The only karma Franny’s got is bad karma.

Then Franny gets her hands on a box of magic recipes that could fix all of her problems. It could even change the world! Finally, life is looking up.

But Franny is about to learn that magic and karma aren’t to be played with. When you mess with the universe, it can bite back in unexpected ways.


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Twelve-year-old Fanny is stressed: her parents are divorced, her father is already dating, and her freaky New Age grandmother, who serves yak butter tea and talks about her past lives, has moved in. Franny also feels caught between hyper-segregated social groups (her two best friends have chosen different sides) at Jefferson Middle School. When Franny learns about Granny's "Hindi help box" of spells that she acquired from a lama she met during her world travels, despite Granny's warnings to be prudent, Franny tries to fix her problems using the spells, which end up working a little too well. Franny and Granny share a strong chemistry, and the book is peppered with deadpan humor and amusing hyperbole, though Franny's habit of comparing her problems to those of people in developing nations ("I live in suburban Fall River, New Jersey, not Gaza. Must my life be so difficult on a daily basis?"), might provoke eye rolling. The plot unravels from parody into implausible slapstick with the appearance of a hip lama and a Justin Timberlake cameo. A few too many ingredients sour a promising recipe. Ages 10–up. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Lisette Baez
Karma Bites is a funny and charming tale about surviving the cliques of middle school, family drama, and all the chaos that comes with the seventh grade. Twelve year old Franny Flanders' life is in turmoil. Her parents just got divorced, her hippie grandmother recently moved in, and her best friends are not speaking to each other. As if life couldn't get any worse, in a beauty makeover attempt, her hair is dyed orange. Granny comes to the rescue when she counteracts the color by using a recipe from a magic box. Granny acquired this special box from a monk in Bhutan. Despite warnings from Granny not to abuse the box's abilities, Franny quickly begins to tempt fate and the universe. She believes this box will fix all her problems and maybe even change the world. As the title boldly states, Franny quickly learns that karma indeed does bite. Her recipes and requests begin to backfire and what was once an exciting adventure now has her scrambling to just have her life back to the way it was. Reviewer: Lisette Baez
VOYA - Madelene Rathbun Barnard
Franny, a new middle school student, is down on her luck. She gives herself a bad hair dye the day before school begins. In addition, her two best friends (one a cheerleader and the other a member of band) are from two opposite ends of the school's social horizon. How can she divide her time between the two and still find time for herself? Mix in a spiritual New Age granny who happens to be friends with a powerful lama, her divorced parents, high-energy twin younger brothers, and an evil school queen bee—what would any sensible teenager do? Would she misuse her granny's magical box filled with wonderful curing recipes? Since it erased her bad hair dye (with only a few side effects), how harmful would "Brilliant Banana Bread" or "Make it Better Munchies Mix" be? Franny thinks, why not replace bad karma with good karma? Her choices create situations nothing short of planets colliding. Will everyone live happily ever after after a Justin Timberlake concert? Why not make some of the recipes within, find a charming reading spot, and magically transcend into Franny Flanders's world? I recommend the "Naturally Nice Nag." Reviewer: Madelene Rathbun Barnard
VOYA - Angi Barnard
Ugh! Franny Flanders has entered the middle school years. There are feuding best friends, divorced parents, an eccentric grandmother, and a secret crush. It seems like life cannot get any worse. After a freaky hair dye, Granny helps out using a magical recipe. Franny decides she can use other recipes to fix all her problems, ranging from the culinary-challenged lunch lady to the demonic English teacher. Her fixes upset the karma. I recommend reading this story to see if karma does bite. Reviewer: Angi Barnard, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A breezy narrative and likable characters keep this book fresh, even while it leans on timeworn conventions. Magic, absurd situations, unforeseen consequences, a mean girl, and celebrities all play a part. Trouble begins when Franny's hair gets dyed orange. The 12-year-old's Granny counteracts the color with a recipe from a box acquired from a monk in Bhutan. Despite Granny's warnings, Franny asks the box to generate ideas for a smoothie, facials, and more to solve problems. She shuttles between best friend Joey, who hangs out with the pompom crowd, and her other BFF, Kate, a band geek. Her middle school is stratified, its hierarchy played out on the front stairs. At the top, Elodie won't let others in the door. After Franny applies her recipe, goodwill and then chaos ensue. Joey and Kate become so buddy-buddy that they leave her out. Her attempt to get her dad back with her mom instead of his girlfriend ends with him slumped into depression. It takes a visit from the monk to straighten things out. The message—to discuss problems with those involved—is admirable. But the conclusion—that kids need cliques in order for middle school to run effectively and smoothly—is a bit disconcerting. Better not think about the plot too much. If you need another lightweight read, this one's fun.—Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
HL680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Prologue: Don’t Blame Me, Blame the Butterfly Effect

Ever heard of the butterfly effect? It’s part of chaos theory, which we learned about in sixth grade science. For the record, calling it chaos is a huge understatement. It’s more like total flipping madness. The butterfly effect is this mind-bending idea that one small change in the world, like a butterfly’s wings flapping or a panda turning over in its den, can trigger a crazy, unexpected chain of events that can lead to something huge and unpredictable like a tornado, an earthquake, or, in my case, spontaneous combustion in middle school.

Let me break it down. A panda turns over in its den, and that’s it, deed done, the panda goes back to sleep and absolutely nothing in the world has changed, right? Uh, wrong! Totally wrong! Turns out, that panda can rock the whole world with one innocent roll of its fluffy little body. Because when the panda turned over, its furry butt nudged a small stick out of its den; the stick began to roll; it knocked a rock loose, which in turn dislodged a bigger rock, which caused an avalanche of rocks to cascade down a mountain and into the sea, leading to a huge tsunami that hits the shore in Japan and wipes out an entire seaside village.

Crazy, right? But it can happen. Trust me. I know. It happened to me. One little bitty thing knocked my whole world out of whack, metaphorically speaking. And I’m still recovering from it . . . But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself here. Before I go any further, I need to go back. Two months, to be exact, to the night before the first day of school.

Meet the Author

Karma Bites is a first novel by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas. Kramer is a comedy writer, whose television credits include “Lizzie McGuire” and “Less Than Perfect.” She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Karma Bites is a first novel by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas. Valerie Thomas is a screenwriter and producer, and has overseen such films as “Ulee’s Gold,” “Adaptation,” and “Philadelphia.”

Valerie Thomas lives in New Jersey.

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Karma Bites 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When Franny accidentally dies her hair orange, her grandmother uses a healing potion to turn it back to its normal color. The potion was made from a recipe from a magic box. With just the right touch, you can make a recipe come out that can pretty much cure any ailment in life. When Franny gets to school, her two best friends are both demanding all of her time and refusing to spend any time together. The most popular girl in school is making her life miserable, and Franny's tired of being torn apart in too many different ways. Using the box, she attempts to make her friends see eye-to-eye, make the most popular girl in school less popular, and make her school a better place to be. Unfortunately, karma comes back to bite her, and now she has to find a way to fix everything before her grandmother finds out. Can Franny put her life back to the way it was supposed to be? A fun, humorous chick-lit book for girls. The characters are well-developed; the plot is funny and easy to follow. The twists and turns do a great job of holding the reader's interest. Those who like humor, friendship stories, and realistic fiction with a bit of magic will all enjoy reading KARMA BITES.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it just me ordoes the picture on the cover remind anyone else of the story about pandora's box?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReadingAngel002 More than 1 year ago
This book was hilarious! I was cracking up from the beginning to the end! My family kept looking at me like I was crazy every time I would start cackling. This may be a middle grade novel, but it is one I enjoyed just as much reading as an adult! It really reminded me of those awful middle school days, and those are undoubtedly the worst years of my life, as I'm sure it was for many of you! Franny was smart, funny, and resourceful. She really got herself in some major trouble messing with the universe, but who could blame her! If I had a box full of magical recipes when I was in middle school I'm sure I would have done a lot more damage! Who could resist making the cafeteria food taste better, or making your teacher go easier on you? Although she thought everything was going to work out, it ended up biting her in the butt, and it was all a downhill, laugh a minute from there. My absolute favorite part of the book had to be Granny. She was the funniest character (reminded me very much of the crazy granny from the Stephanie Plum series, although she was a little more sane...hehe). She was quirky and a complete individual, but she loved her granddaughter and was there for her in any way she could be. Made me miss both of my grandmothers something crazy! Overall, I recommend this book to all of you. We all need to laugh, it's healthy for you after all, and this book is just what the doctor ordered! So go fill your prescription!
LASR_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Originally posted at: www.aurorareviews.blogspot.com ***** When they said middle school wasn't going to be easy, they weren't kidding! Franny Flanders is going in with the odds already stacked against her. Her two best friends can't stand one another. Her parents just divorced. And when you add the oddest of all grandmothers into the mix, you have to wonder, can things possibly get any worse? Without a doubt, yes, they can. Franny is your ordinary girl. She's excitable, she's fun, and she loves her friends. However, she's also stuck in a tough situation, both with her family and her friends. Sometime in the past, her two best friends, Joey and Kate, had a falling out, leaving Franny to shuffle between them like a lost ship. The idea that her two closest friends can't even be civil to one another tears at her heart and her twelve-year-old sense of fairness. She struggles for a way to bring the three of them together constantly. And when she's accidentally presented with what seems to be the perfect solution, disaster strikes. Even though Franny is a pretty level-headed kid, she is still just that - a kid - and she lets the excitement get the better of her. Despite well-meant warnings and her own gut feeling, she gets caught up in what's happening around her, unable to make herself stop, in much the same way kids do every day. In the way of pre-teens everywhere, an uncontrollable sense of what should be overcomes her better sense and the hard truth of what is. Aside from being a bit hard-headed, Franny is a loveable character - very realistic in her thoughts, fears and actions. I found a lot of myself in her - never settling into her own niche, always kind of floating between her more popular friend Joey and her less popular, but just as good friend, Kate. All in all, she's a good kid with a strong idea of how she wants things to be. Eventually she does come around and comes to grip with the idea that some things just can't be solved with magic. Some things just aren't meant to be. In addition, like most kids her age, she can learn only one way - the hard way - before she gives in and realizes that others often do know best. Karma Bites is a great story, full of laughs, difficult choices, and crazy middle-school hijinks. It's a fun way to show kids that not everything bad has to be the end of the world, nor does it give false hope by swearing that everything will always be okay. Despite the magical aspect, these kids are very real in their ideas, actions, and feelings. Because of this, you're sure to love Franny and her madcap group of friends and family from the very beginning. By the end of this delightful story, you'll be cheering her on!
YA-Addict More than 1 year ago
I had an absolute blast reading this book! This took me back to when first started reading as a tween. Back when I craved books that were fun and entertaining. Back when a happy ending was a given. If I was a tween again, Karma Bites would have made my world. Franny is in a position we all go through at some point during our adolescents. She feels everything in her world is going wrong, and she has no control over it. Franny was such a likable and engaging character. The antics she gets herself in were hilarious. I couldn't wait to find out what recipe was up next from the box of magic, and what the side affects would be for Franny. Besides Franny, her Granny was my favorite character. The wacky characters always seem to be my favorites (What does that say about me?). I really enjoyed watching the subtle way granddaughter and grandmother grew closer together throughout the story. What pulled this book off was the wonderful writing style of Kramer and Thomas. Not every writer can pull off funny as organically as Karma Bites. Everything from the sentence forming, to the hilarious chapter names, to the added recipes (some I'll be trying myself), it was all incredibly charming. Whether you are a tween yourself, or a grown up who wants a piece back of those light-hearted days, Karma Bites will be a win for you. Just remember to pull your smile out first. You'll need it for the whole duration of this book.
ReadingTeen More than 1 year ago
Karma Bites was a really cute book for middle grade girls, about a girl who tries to do the right thing, but in all the wrong ways. It was so entertaining to read about Franny, even as you can see that her choices are going to make her entire world spiral out of control. But, even though Franny makes some stupid decisions, you can tell that she just wants what's best for her friends, her school, and the world in general. Unfortunately, Franny seemed like the only one with half a brain in the whole book! She was a sweet, witty, funny girl in a sea of total morons. I felt so sorry for Franny, having to deal with the stupidity and/or cruelty of the friends and other schoolmates around her. Her only ally was her New-Age Grandma. "Franny's Granny" was so funny! And she was a great friend and grandma to Franny. Karma Bites is full of magical recipes (like the "Sensually Sexy Smoothie"), humorous chapter names (like "Justin Timberlake knows my name"), words of the day, Peaks, Geeks, Blogs, a Buddhist Monk, and a Moose. If you're a Middle Grade girl who likes Chic Lit, this book is for you! ~Andye (http://ReadingTeen.net/)
Reading-Writing-Waiting More than 1 year ago
The main character in this novel, Franny Flanders, was so cute. The authors, Kramer and Thomas, did a fabulous job making the character not only likable but funny, which most of us writers know is hard to pull off. The concept is highly original and there were a lot of twists I was not excepting, which is awesome. The only issue I had with this novel was target range was a little lower in the Young Adult genre that I normally read, but I would definitely recommend this book to tweens and very early teen readers because I think they would get a kick out of Franny.