Karma Khullar’s Mustache

A novel written by Kristi Wientge.  A biracial Indian/Caucasian girl is nervous to begin middle school, especially since her mother is now the breadwinner of the family, her best friend may no longer be a bestie, and the appearance of the seventeen hairs over her lip that form a very unwanted mustache.

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. Ages 8–12. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Aug.) –Staff (Reviewed 06/05/2017) (Publishers Weekly, vol 264, issue 23, p)