Genre: MG Contemporary
Word Count: 47,000
My Main Character would prefer to live in:
Considering Karma met her enemy at the swimming pool on a sunny day, she’d rather risk frostbite than spend time in the sun being burned by the insults of a new girl. Plus, this isn’t scientifically proven, but heat makes your hair grow faster and having a mustache is enough for Karma. The heat of the sun might cause her to sprout a full on beard. No question. Karma prefers snow.
Things a normal sixth-grader should worry about: new clothes, new shoes, new classes, but not a new mustache. Karma Khullar freaks out when she discovers exactly seventeen hairs above her lip. Facial hair, peach fuzz, whatever it’s called—it’s obviously a horrible disease or mutation.
Karma’s best friend, Sara, is more interested in nail polish and fashion magazines than calming Karma down. Especially when a sparkly new girl arrives in town. Not only does the new girl whisk Sara away, she points out Karma’s mustache in front of a group of boys who nickname her 'Stache Attack.
Starting school best-friendless and with a nickname is only the beginning of Karma’s troubles. Newly stay-at-home Daddy is now in charge of things like packing Karma a tiffin full of dal and curries for lunch, which is one more thing to add to the list of insults hurled her way. Karma’s convinced there’s a cloud of bad karma hanging over her family. It’s the only way to explain why she’s mutating into the bearded lady. Not to mention how her brother ignores anyone and everyone but his guitar. And her Mom is too busy spending all her time at her new job to notice any of it.
Karma takes matters into her own hands and sets out to learn more about her Sikh heritage and how to break the karma curse. Things backfire quickly when her Study Buddy idea pairs her with her enemy, the new girl. Just when Karma’s had enough, she forms a plan to turn her bad karma on its head, ‘Stache Style.
It’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret—the Bollywood version.
First 250 Words:
My grandma, Dadima, used to say I’d be as strong as a lion if I drank milk twice a day. She never mentioned I’d get as hairy as one, too. There should’ve been a disclaimer—bold letters and a voice over with a list of symptoms scrolling along the side of Dadima’s face whenever she handed me a cup of hot milk.
Daddy’s back was to me as he pried pratha dough off the rolling pin in a misshapen glob and dropped it in a pan. I quickly tipped the milk he’d poured for me into a pot of cilantro on the counter.
Instead of a warning that milk gave you more than a milk mustache, I was stuck consulting the Gorgeous Georgians section of my Horrible Histories books for a way to get rid of the hair above my lip. A magazine like Tween Bop would’ve been a better choice, but Daddy refused to buy it.
Lucky for me, my best friend Sara was on the phone. She was a walking, talking guide of fashion and personality quizzes.
Daddy flipped the pratha and turned to me. “Just like Dadima’s,” he said, grinning.
I cupped my hand over the mouthpiece of the phone when Daddy turned back to the stove. “I’m serious, Sara. There are exactly seventeen of them.” I pinched the hairs above my lip, hoping no more had grown.
“Mmm hmm.” Sara’s breath rattled through the phone.
I pictured her blowing a loose strand of hair out of her eyes.