by Kristi Wientge - £6.99 Simon & Schuster (2018)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781481477710 | ISBN 10: 1481477714
In the tradition of Judy Blume, debut author Kristi Wientge tackles the uncomfortable — but all too relatable — subject of female body hair and self-esteem with this “sparkling and triumphant tale of a middle school misfit” (Heather Vogel Frederick).
Karma Khullar is about to start middle school, and she is super nervous. Not just because it seems like her best friend has found a newer, blonder best friend. Or the fact that her home life is shaken up by the death of her dadima. Or even that her dad is the new stay-at-home parent, leading her mother to spend most of her time at work. But because she’s realized that she has seventeen hairs that have formed a mustache on her upper lip.
With everyone around her focused on other things, Karma is left to figure out what to make of her terrifyingly hairy surprise all on her own.
Recommended for readers aged 8 - 12
"Karma Khullar —half Indian, half white; half Sikh, half Methodist — is starting sixth grade, and she’s pretty sure that the universe is against her. With her mother working full-time, leaving her father to make lunches and take Karma bra shopping, life at home has required adjustments. Meanwhile, Karma’s best friend Sara is suddenly obsessed with hair, makeup, and the snarky girl from California who just moved in across the street. But Karma’s biggest problem is the 17 new hairs on her upper lip that are a magnet for attention — the unwelcome kind. As tension grows with Sara, and her classmates’ taunts about her hairy lip escalate, Karma attempts to take control of her own destiny.
Debut author Wientge neatly captures how it feels to be different, especially as an adolescent. The bullying that Karma faces, both for her “mustache” and the Indian dishes her father packs for her lunches, will be relatable to many readers. The novel’s ending — hopeful but not completely happily-ever-after—sends a strong message of self-acceptance and resilience."
(Patricia Nelson, for Publishers Weekly)
(Price & availability last checked: September 2018)
In booklists: Dual-Heritage / Mixed-Race Characters: Books for Children, Body Positivity & Respect: Books for Children & Young Adults, Fiction - Older Children, In categories: Childrens & Teenage Books, Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, Children & Young People, Health & Wellbeing, Fiction,