Of Karma and Sea Lions

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Publication Date: November 3, 2020

Summary from NetGalley:

In New York Times bestselling author Marissa Meyer’s young adult contemporary romance, a girl is suddenly gifted with the ability to cast instant karma on those around her – both good and bad.

Chronic overachiever Prudence Daniels is always quick to cast judgment on the lazy, rude, and arrogant residents of her coastal town. Her dreams of karmic justice are fulfilled when, after a night out with her friends, she wakes up with the sudden ability to cast instant karma on those around her.

Pru giddily makes use of the power, punishing everyone from public vandals to mean gossips, but there is one person on whom her powers consistently backfire: Quint Erickson, her slacker of a lab partner. Quint is annoyingly cute and impressively noble, especially when it comes to his work with the rescue center for local sea animals.

When Pru resigns herself to working at the rescue center for extra credit, she begins to uncover truths about baby otters, environmental upheaval, and romantic crossed signals—not necessarily in that order. Her newfound karmic insights reveal how thin the line is between virtue and vanity, generosity and greed . . . love and hate… and fate.

ARC provided by MacMillan Children’s Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review


This was such a fun and really cute contemporary romance. I really liked all of the characters and the setting of a coastal town with a struggling sea animal rescue center was perfect for it. The magical realism could have been a bit more important to the story, but it was kind of fun watching Pru serve justice to those who mostly deserved it.

I liked Prudence for the most part. She is over-achieving and a bit of a control freak, but she is also comfortable with her self. She knows that speaking in front of large groups is hard for her but she has tricks that helps her to cope when she needs it. Her main fault is how judgmental she is of everyone. But as she is doling out Karmic judgement on those around her, she does begin to realize that there is sometimes more to a person’s story than a single act might portray.

I really like Quint, Prudence’s lab partner and all around thorn in her side. This is definitely a case of opposites attract. Quint is pretty easy going, but he is also dedicated and much more hard working than Pru gives him credit for. He is the perfect guy for Pru in that he makes her think about herself and how she sees the world. I really enjoyed seeing how things developed between them. I also loved his dedication to helping the sea animals at the center.

There are some side characters that I really liked too. I enjoyed Pru’s relationship with her twin Jude. They always had each others backs, even though they are also very much opposites. Ari is their best friend and I really liked seeing her bloom a bit in this story. I would have liked to have seen Pru’s parents a bit more. What we saw was great.

The story was well paced with a little bit of a mystery thrown into the romance plot. There were some great scenes between Prudence and Quint, like when they go snorkeling together or watching Jaws. Pru’s karmic power was not as important to the story as one would think. There were times when it completely disappears from the story for awhile. But there were times when things that she caused to happen came full circle. And it also helped to shape Pru’s growth as a character. I also really enjoyed all of the Beatles references, they cropped up at some pretty perfect times.

Overall I really enjoyed this little romantic comedy. It is a stand alone book, but there were some things said at the end of the story, that makes me think we might be seeing more of these characters in their own stories in the future. I for one certainly hope so.

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