Deanna's Reviews > Karma

Karma by Cathy Ostlere
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really liked it

Verse novel, young adult, culture, historical fiction

I enjoy learning about countries and cultures through fiction. I am interested in finding out more about the author, Ostlere. Is she from Indian background and what kind of research did she complete to write this novel? Set in 1984 when India's prime minister is killed and religious genocides occur.

Maya, fifteen years old, is growing up in Canada where her parents immigrated to from India. Her father is Sikh and her mother is Hindu--completely different religious beliefs. Her mother longs to return to Canada but her father won't hear of it. Sadly her mother finally returns in an urn. When Maya and her father arrive in India (Maya's first visit) a cultural war has begun where thousands of Sikh people are murdered. Maya loses her father in the uprising and ends up at a refuge for widows. A woman doctor helps her by sending her to her family to heal where she meets a young man named Sandeep. The community believe Maya is a witch that will bring much harm to them. Thus begins a journey in the desert to find a new place for Maya.

Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it I wonder about the verse. Sometimes I thought it was forced. The sentences seemed to be formatted into poetry but might have been better in a journal/diary format since that was what the characters were writing. I actually preferred when the story was in 2 voice poems and wish Ostlere had used more of this format.
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