By: Colleen Hollis
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: April 28, 2023
Review Date: May 23, 2023
Karma Two by Colleen Hollis is a very thought-provoking novel that shows not only the most horrible aspects of life but also gives the reader a riveting story of hope and what one can accomplish when they set their mind to it and force themselves to try.
In Karma Two, we follow Arizona Sunshine Jackson on his journey through life - it is a remarkable story that is at times downright tragic and unimaginable. This harsh beginning eventually leads readers to a story of hope and perseverance as this little boy grows up. In the beginning, Arizona, or AJ as he is known to everyone, suffers through a horrible childhood filled with danger, drug use, abuse, and prostitution. AJ faces so many tragic things as a child, from being separated from his mother and his little brother, to being placed in foster homes which are more dangerous than the home he started in, to living on the streets as his final option. With each new loss and tragic outcome AJ never gives up but keeps trying to survive and is more determined each time to overcome the things that are meant to destroy him.
All of a sudden, while living on the streets, AJ is gifted with a small glimmer of hope that appears out of nowhere. AJ is smart enough to grab the opportunity and hold on tight to his dreams of a better future for himself. Even as he questions whether or not he truly deserves this chance, AJ fights for it with everything he has. That is when the novel becomes more of a joy to read. As AJ finally begins to understand that he is entitled to work hard and better himself, he takes on a whole new personality as a person who tries to give help and support to others like him so that they too can become better people.
The beginning of this novel is truly heartbreaking. There are so many devastating themes that are covered in these pages from addiction to prostitution to physical and sexual abuse to the total fear of life and it does take a strong heart to get through it all. The author confronts all of these topics fearlessly and has created a story that is very powerful. The characters in the book, especially AJ, are very well-written and you cannot help but feel a part of their lives. You will cry with them, hurt with them, want to give up as they do, and finally you will laugh with them and feel their joy.
Karma Two is definitely a book that will leave a huge impression on the reader and be something that is remembered long after you read that last page. As we read AJ’s quest to survive and to correct so many wrongs that he has done and suffered in the past you will certainly believe, as AJ comes to believe, that there is a higher power out there who can help one to survive anything. It is an engaging and well-written story and I would recommend this novel to all.
Quill says: Karma Two is an excellent novel that is based on some very harsh realities of life. It is a story that makes the reader really think about themselves and their own actions and, while it can be a very difficult read at times, the end result is well worth it.