Review ~ Karmack by J. C. Whyte

karmack

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Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing

Synopsis

Everyone knows Curtis “Sully” Sullenburg is the toughest kid at Higgins Elementary. For years, he and his gang have tormented students and teachers alike with their pranks. And for the most part, they’ve gotten away with it. But all that changes when a strange little creature appears on the scene. From that point on, pranks start coming back like boomerangs, smacking Sully’s gang right in their fifth grade butts!

Sully is the only one who can see this creature, which he names Karmack. The little guy claims to be a nature spirit whose job is to balance all the bad karma the boys have amassed over the years. Because if Karmack fails, these boys will undoubtedly suffer “dreadful, awful doom”. Just like that kid who shot at crows with his BB gun – one day he crashed his bike into a pigeon coop and emerged as the Abominable Snowman of bird poop! That kind of doom.

Sully soon realizes he must save not only himself but his gang from Karmack’s doom, even though his friends have no idea why they keep getting boomeranged. Of course, calamity and hilarity follow. But in the end, Sully and the guys learn a valuable lesson about the consequences of being a bully, and what it takes to be a true leader.

The book is for children ages 8 to 12, but is also a perfect read-aloud for classrooms. It is available at all major online stores such as amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Excerpt

Through front yards, backyards, and down the main road, the pursuers continued to chase the squealer into town. Sully, Breeze, and Gonzo (also known as Curtis Sullenburg, Matthew Brezinski, and Carlos Gonzalez) were the toughest dudes in fifth grade. Everyone knew these three were definitely trouble. And the worst was Sully, their leader.

The old Statewide Bank building lay just ahead, on the corner of Main Street and Railroad Avenue. And that was where the squealer ran out of gas.

Sully immediately pinned him to the ground, right there at the corner. Lying in the snow, the squealer looked petrified. Sully laughed and let go of the boy—just knowing he scared the living daylights out of the kid was enough for Sully. But not Gonzo—he dropped his backpack on the left side of the squealer’s face. “That’s for making us chase you,” he said.

Sully let out a loud “Hah!”

Then the boys heard a rumble. It came from above them—from the pitched roof of the bank. Sully looked up in time to see a bundle of snow drop from the roof. It fell downward, toward Gonzo, who was still hovering over the squealer.

“Hey, look out,” Sully shouted, but not in time. Gonzo did look up, just as the pile of snow hit his face. The squealer managed to squirm out of the way and take off down the road. Breeze began to dig out his friend.

But Sully was frozen to his spot, still gazing at the roof of the bank. Because he saw something up there—a small figure no bigger than a two-year-old. And was it…laughing?

Sully knew it couldn’t be a child. Not with that long, fat nose. Definitely not a child.

Was it just his imagination? Or maybe…a reflection…from ice on the roof? After giving his eyes a good rub, Sully changed his view of the roof by walking around the corner. And there—there was that little guy, laughing again! The creature in the funny green outfit saw Sully too. Then came a flash of light as it darted to the other side of the roof, beyond Sully’s vision.

“Breeze…did you…see that?” Sully wanted to know.

“Yeah, Gonzo got dumped on. Lucky break for the squealer.”

“No, I mean…aw, forget it.” Sully knew he’d seen someone. Yet…

Never the shy one, Sully next ran into the bank to question the first teller he saw. “Is some guy up on the roof?”

“What?”

“You got some guy shoveling snow off the roof? My friend, he got dumped on.”

“Uh, not that I’m aware of.” The female teller turned around and asked the branch manager the same question. Then she returned to Sully. “No one’s on the roof. What’s the problem?”

“I saw…somebody…up there.”

The manager came to the counter. “There’s no one up there, son. Some snow must’ve fallen from the roof. Is your friend all right?”

“Yeah, I guess. But I coulda sworn I saw someone up there.”

The teller smiled. “Probably just glare from the sun. Nice to have some sun today, isn’t it?”

But Sully only shrugged and walked out of the bank.

The guys were waiting for him outside. Gonzo was dusty with snow. And he was cradling the left side of his face. It was red and starting to swell.

“What’s going on?” asked Breeze.

“That’s what I wanna know.” Sully frowned as he committed the creature’s face to his memory. Anyone crossing Sully usually lived to regret it.

That is…until now.

To see a recent review of Karmack, go to its Goodreads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18080078-karmack

My Review

3 STARS!!!
Curtis, a.k.a. Sully, is your typical 5th grade bully. He has his small band of followers, which consists of Breeze and Gonzo. He gets his kicks out of tormenting others. One day things start to change. For every bad thing the boys do, a bad thing happens in turn to them. Sully notices a small figure during one particular stunt. He sets out to capture it and does. The creature tells Sully that he’s a karmic balancer. Therefore, Sully begins calling him Karmack. Karmack begins to teach Sully all about balancing his good deeds with his bad.

I’m torn on this book. I’m not a believer in karma, but I did enjoy watching Sully “grow up” and learn to think of others. I believe that aspect is a good lesson for children, even with those having differing spiritual beliefs. My twelve year old son is going to read this, and I’ll share his opinions after he finishes. In the meantime, knowing his likes, I think he would like the book well enough. If you read my review on The Door in the Wall, I can safely say he’d like it a whole lot more than that. There were parts that were funny to me, and I’m sure he’d find them a lot funnier than I did. He’d hopefully pick up on putting others before yourself and thinking of how your actions affect others!! Those are definitely two wonderful morals to the story!!

So, I give this book a solid 3 STARS!! I think there’s definitely a good moral to the story, and I think most children that enjoy reading would like this. I look forward to reading more from J.C. Whyte and sharing them with my children!!

About the Author

jc
When I was eleven, my 6th grade teacher gave the class an assignment to write a poem about an American sport. I knew my classmates would probably choose popular sports like baseball or football, so I decided to compose a poem about golf. To my surprise, the teacher found it comical and encouraged me to keep writing. So I did.

Then over summer break, students were told to choose 26 books from a reading list and write a book report on each. BLAH! I wanted to enjoy my summer, not spend it reading! Back then, I was a very slow reader and didn’t much enjoy the experience. Plus, kids didn’t have the fun books which are on the market today. But that wise teacher told my mother I could write 26 stories instead of reading them. That was absolute genius. Although I didn’t actually write 26 stories (perhaps six?), I submitted one which made my teacher laugh out loud in class. And that teacher gave me an “A” on my summer reading assignment. I’ll never forgot that wise teacher who let me play to my strengths.

So I knew from age eleven that I wanted to be a professional writer. Yet when I reached college, I also understood that writing stories seldom paid the bills. So I got degrees in Journalism and Communications Management. Then for many years I channeled my creative energies into the field of Public Relations.

Marriage, kids, and several more degrees and occupations later (including stints as a travel agent and paralegal), I entered law school – mostly for the challenge of writing creative arguments for the court. But while in law school, I became a columnist for the student newsletter, writing humorous pieces on the strange and quirky life of a law student. I was thrilled when one of these articles was chosen for publication in The National Jurist, a magazine distributed to law students throughout the US.

But after graduating and passing the Bar, I realized within a few years that creative writing was still what made my heart sing. So now, as a grandma, I’ve returned to writing for children. And with the publication of Karmack, I’ve come full circle, back to where my writing journey truly began.