This was probably the funniest, most adorable Middle Grade book I have ever read. The witty humour, strong writing and interesting lead character pulled me directly into the wonderful, uplifting story. Amusing, clever, and astonishingly captivating, Small Medium At Large is a delightfully charming and deliciously atmospheric gem of a book! And though it's a rather short and quick read, it's certainly a very memorable one. Joanne Levy packs a punch for fans of all things quirky and paranormal!
Lilah Blood: my kind of hero. What a wonderful, cheerful, funny little girl she is! She definitely made the story for me. Her witty remarks and hilarious inner thoughts had me hooked right away. I was constantly laughing out loud. She is smart and sassy, and as far from snobbish and whiny as you can possibly get. When, after being struck by lightning, Lilah wakes up in a hospital bed with the ability to communicate with ghosts, her world is turned upside-down. Thankfully, she can't actually see all the ghosts that are all of a sudden trying to chat with her (that would be scary!), she can only hear them. And one of the very first voices she hears belongs to no one else but her own grandmother, who, concerned about her divorced son's well-being (Lilah's dad), decides to team up with Lilah and play match-makers!
While it obviously has some great paranormal elements, Small Medium At Large reads more like a contemporary comedy than an actual supernatural novel. All the characters are very down-to-earth; they worry about relevant, every-day stuff, such as dating, being liked and accepted by others, or - in Lilah's case - getting her very first bra. Many of the situations described in the book are simply adorable and amusing. And I especially loved the way all the characters interacted with one another. For such a short story, they're surprisingly well developed. I found Lilah's dad to be exceptionally well characterized. He's just your regular, clueless dad, who - despite his good intentions - doesn't always know what to do with his teenage daughter. He's caring, sweet, and thoughtful, but he's also quite shy, and he doesn't always know how to show his affection. The divorce left him lost and confused, and he definitely needs Lilah's help getting back in the game.
Lilah's interactions with ghosts are not only laugh-out-loud funny, but also quite meaningful. Every ghost she encounters has some sort of unfinished business; and they all need Lilah's help to finally be able to rest in peace. Reading about Lilah's adventures was very heart-warming and thought-provoking. All the situations she found herself in while trying to help the poor, lost souls were interesting and moving, and it's clear to me that the author has put a lot of thought into the construction of the plot.
The story itself isn't overly complicated. There are no inappropriate scenes, nor foul language, and it can easily be enjoyed by the younger audience. The plot is very concise and straight-to-the-point, though if you stop and think about it, under the entertaining and adventurous outer layer you'll discover some meaningful messages. And that makes Small Medium At Large a brilliant, shiny, and comforting read that could be enjoyed by both middle grade children and adults alike.
Overall, Small Medium At Large proved to be way more fun and moving than I hoped it would be. I really didn't want it to end and was very sad when I hit the back cover. I really hope Joanne Levy will turn this fabulous paranormal adventure into an entire series of books, for I am already missing Lilah's vibrant and loveable personality!