Little story with a lot of heart
Disfigured by a childhood accident, thirteen-year-old Karina Morgan has it tough. Labeled an outcast because of her appearance, she must deal with bullying, rowdy brothers, and parents struggling with their own problems. One day, walking through the woods, she happens upon a mysterious cave. What she finds inside will change her entire world.
What I loved:
I have a soft spot for stories about bullied kids who find their way back to happiness, so I connected with Karina immediately. I felt her pain as she dealt with the school divas, unrequited crushes, and a world that seems hellbent on crushing her. The plot was well thought out (think Wonder meets Alice in Wonderland), and I think many early teen readers would enjoy it. The plot also got rather metaphysical near the end, to the point where I wasn’t sure whether what was going on was real or imagined, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
What I didn’t love:
This is the author’s first book, and it shows. She described many events in past perfect, which I found jarring at times. And while I appreciate that kids that age do swear a lot (especially boys), there was rather more than I would have expected in an MG novel. Karina’s best friend, Mary Blair, was a character I wish could have appeared more than she did.
My Final Verdict:
Karina is an endearing story, and not at all what I was expecting. If you are a teen (or a parent of a teen) who knows what it feels like to not fit in, then this might be the book for you.
Karina in Wonderland
Karina is that rare book that both instructs and delights. In this captivating young adult novel, the reader sees the world through the eyes of Karina Morgan, a highly-intelligent middle-schooler who feels like she's going through life unnoticed and unloved and hates the way she looks because of a facial scar she suffered as a toddler. As Karina slogs her way through a somewhat angst-ridden existence, something magical happens one day after school--she discovers a secret doorway to a magical world. At this point in the novel, the story takes on some aspects of Alice in Wonderland, but make no mistake, Karina carves out its own world, one filled with hope, love, forgiveness, and most of all--empowerment! The world can be such a heavy place and I loved the positive message that Eliza Mann spins in this heartfelt book. Karina is my favorite read so far in 2018. I highly recommend it.
Karina is a story that is geared to inspire teenage girls, but its powerful message can lift up anyone who reads it.
You'll love this one.
I want to re-read it already!