The Bibliophiliac’s Corner: “Karina”
By Amanda Merriman
Connection writer Amanda Merriman admits she is hopelessly addicted to books. It has been this way nearly all her life. Every month she shares what she has been reading with the hope that others will share in the obsession too.
It is always a delight when I get to read works from local authors. Such is the case with E. B. Mann’s recently published novel, “Karina.” Mann, a Castle Pines resident since 2008, has woven a magical tale of self-discovery and overcoming obstacles. (Learn more about Mann on page 19.)
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” (Mann, from “Karina”.)
Karina is like any teen in middle school. She struggles with self-confidence and her first crush. A group of mean girls makes school a nightmare. Living with her two younger brothers that constantly fight is also a challenge. What makes Karina different from most is that she suffered an injury as a toddler that left her with a scar. The scar has become the overriding force in her life, leaving her vulnerable to bullying and overwhelming insecurity. Luckily, Karina has moments of brightness with her quirky and free-spirited friend Mary. She also shares a unique bond with her grandma. Even though these relationships provide her with critical support, Karina seems destined to remain emotionally stuck due to her circumstances. Readers will likely be able to relate to Karina’s struggle personally through their own experience or through that of a loved one.
Then, one fateful day, Karina encounters a mysterious cave. The cave and its inhabitants challenge her to open her mind and unlock her potential. Karina’s journey after this moment will keep readers rooting for her throughout the rest of the story. Will Karina overcome the emotional consequences of her scar? How will this cave change her as a person? How will the experience affect her other relationships? That my dear bibliophiliacs, I will leave to you to discover when you read this book.
Mann’s debut novel is a quick and thought provoking read that would appeal to both teens and parents alike. Karina invites readers to explore the necessity of introspection in a world that increasingly draws our attention away from this. It is also about self-love and compassion for others. Personally, I look forward to having my children read this book and have conversations about all of these aspects.
Fellow bibliophiles and book club members, feel free to join in the dialogue. Blog your thoughts and feedback at www.castlepinesconnection.com and enter the keyword “bibliophiliac” in the search bar. Have you read a great book recently? Email your find to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.