Small Medium at Large Hardcover – Jul 3 2012
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“A can't-put-it-down read.” ―Eileen Cook, author of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood
“Joanne Levy is hysterical - she turns the tragedy of middle school into sheer hilarity...I'd read anything by her.” ―Lisa McCann, NYT bestselling author of the Wake trilogy and The Unwanteds
About the Author
Joanne Levy can usually be found at her computer, channeling her younger self into her books, or at the park, throwing a ball for her black Labrador Retriever, Zoe. She also shares her home with two cats, an African Grey parrot, her amazing husband, and a very large supply of chocolate. This is her debut novel. www.joannelevy.com
Top Customer Reviews
I am an adult but have two kids and have purchased three copies. I have no doubt my kids will very much enjoy reading this tome and I am thrilled to be able to give them something to read that is entertaining, age appropriate and compelling. In our family we read books together and then discuss, sort of like our own little family book club, so I really look forward to discussing this one!
CANNOT SAY ENOUGH ABOUT THIS BOOK! Buy it!
An adorable middle grade novel, there were so many facets to love about this one- and I could easily see younger readers thoroughly enjoying this one, and even older fans of MG books for its sweet story and even sweeter heroine.
Reasons to Read:
1.A superstar heroine:
Oh, I just ADORED Lilah as a character! She's so sweet and well-intentioned, and she has these incredibly embarrassing moments at times that she totally shines during, regardless of how embarrassed she is. They're scenarios that could happen to any 12 year old girl (12 year old Brenna can remember feeling tha tway, at times) but I was amazed at how well she continually bounced back. She's exactly the kind of girl younger girls will be able to relate to, but she has this quiet kind of confidence that you can't help but admire for - exactly the kind of girl I'd want the preteen/teen girls I know reading about. She knows what's important in life and doesn't let things hold her down.
2.Uplifting family dynamics:
Not all families are perfect, but I really appreciate reading about some who try their best and you can tell truly love and care for each other. The Blooms are a perfect example of that, and Lilah's relationship with her father is particularly touching. They're incredibly close, in their own way, and work hard to support each other as much as they can.
3.A healthy dose of reality:
I like that life isn't all sunshine & rainbows perfection in the story.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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!
Small Medium at Large released this week and positive reviews have been all over Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, so on an impulse I decided to get a copy. It's a short book, at only 208 pages, but it has the perfect blend of realistic situations, supernatural elements, and humor that amounts to one positively adorable and enjoyable book. I'm not always sure what's "okay" for middle grade readers, but I feel secure recommending Joanne Levy's debut to 5th graders and above because it's a clean book and the themes in the story aren't too complex. The characters aren't doing anything questionable or using foul language. There are discussions about "boobs" and kissing but that's as far as it goes. Considering I was reading Caroline B. Cooney books and the like in 5th grade, I think this one is okay (not that her books are bad, but there were some "big" issues in her books).
Lilah Bloom is such a cute character. She ends up with the ability to hear ghosts after being struck by lightning and is pretty level-headed about the whole thing. The first ghost she encounters is Bubby Dora, her grandmother who passed away four years ago. I love her interactions with Bubby because Bubby acts as both an authority figure and a helpful friend. The way she and Lilah spoke to each other made me think of what it would be like if I could talk again with my grandma who passed away when I was six; I think many of our interactions would be the same. The ghosts, in general, are really amusing and bring out Lilah's character. Lilah is a very believable sixth grader simply trying to fit in, but now trying to do that with the ability to talk to ghosts. She worries about boys, bras, and bullies. Lilah also wants to help her dad get back into the dating scene; those scenes are some of the cutest.
I like that even though Small Medium at Large might be considered supernatural since Lilah is communicating with ghosts, it mostly reads as realistic fiction. Lilah is experiencing many of the same things an average 12 year old experiences, only she has ghosts helping her out at times. She has a close group of friends, she struggles in school sometimes, she's dealing with a bully, and she's crushing on a boy.
What really sets this book apart is its execution. Joanne Levy really makes Lilah stand out and come alive on the page, along with all of the supporting characters. There wasn't a dull moment in the book. Small Medium at Large is my favorite book of the summer so far, and I really hope you read it.
Disclosure: my name is on this book--I blurbed it because I loved it. I especially love that I can point younger readers who aren't quite ready for teen paranormals to Small Medium at Large. Plus, I'm a sucker for an author who can write funny stuff -- it's really a rare gift to be able to do so.
From the very beginning, I knew I would love this, because Lilah has such a great, optimistic voice, perfect for a middle grade narrator. As the book begins, Lilah's the bridesmaid as her mother marries her new step-father, Stan. In most books, this would be where we hear about the evil step-parent or sadness over the divorce, but Lilah is nothing but supportive of her parents finding happiness. Even better, both of her parents are involved and loving.
While standing outside the reception hall, Lilah leans against a metal pole while trying to scrape some crud off her shoe and gets struck by lightning. She wakes up in the hospital with all three concerned parental units (mom and step-father having delayed their honeymoon), apparently no worse for the wear. Well, except that now she can hear her Bubby (her dead grandmother) talking to her.
Turns out, the lightning strike scrambled her brain and now she can hear dead people, but not see them, which is probably for the best. It's like The Sixth Sense, only hilarious and adorable instead of creepy. These sassy ghosts do what sassy ghosts do best: impart lots of advice of varying quantities of usefulness, and also ask for help of their own. Lilah, being the sweet, caring girl she is, takes this all relatively in stride and does her best to help everyone that comes her way, with the occasionally bumbling assistance of her best friend, and future band-mate, Alex.
What made this feel so essentially middle grade was Lilah's reaction to all of this. She has so much less skepticism in the face of the phenomenon and much less fear of other people's reactions. Where a teen or adult would keep this information on the down low, Lilah tells person after person, because she's honest and wants to help. An older person might devise a clever way around telling how they know what they do, but that's just not Lilah's style. It was adorable, especially one particular scene where Lilah tries to convince her crush, Andrew Finkle, that his dead father was speaking to her. Oh, also amusing was Lilah's inability to avoid responding to the ghosts, such that she ends up getting caught talking to herself a lot.
Lilah's interactions with others, both ghost and human alike, are where the book really shines. She takes such good care of her father, urging him (at Bubby's request) to start dating again. Her interactions with Andrew are totally accurate to middle school flirting in their sweet awkwardness. Bubby and Ms. Lafontaine stole the show with their sassy advice to Lilah, as well as their occasional shock at twelve-year-olds these days, who want to get kissed at the seventh grade dance (shocking!).
If you love adorable middle grade stories or know some middle graders who do, Small Medium at Large is an excellent choice, sure to delight a younger reader even more than it did me.
"Despite the suffocating mid-May heat, and the nonbreathable fabric of my lavender polyester dress, it was shaping up to be a very good day."
It would definitely seem that this is the year of mid-grade greatness. I have read a fair amount of mid-grade books this year and so far have not been disapointed by any of them, and Small Medium at Large was no exception.
Small Medium at Large is the third book I have read were the main character is struck by lightning. Even so, I found this one to be unique and nothing like the other two books with lightning strike survivors.
What really made it so original and interesting would have to be the interaction between Lilah and the ghosts that begin to pop up in her life. I thought it was definitely a nice twist that one of the ghosts was one that was familiar to Lilah herself, being that it was her grandmother. I like to think the addition Bubby Dora, Liliah's grandmother, made it easier for her to accept her new found ability. Besides, Bubby Dora was an absolute hoot and cracked me up everytime she made an appearance.
One of the reasons I loved Small Medium at Large as much as I did would have to be the writing. I thought that Ms Levy did an excellent job of capturing Lilah's personality. She also knew how to hit the funny, embarrassing moments right on the head with out the humour coming across as forced or overly planned. I definitely look forward to seeing what else the fabulous Ms. Levy will have in store for readers on whatever she tackles next.
Lilah was definitely one spunky girl and a joy to read about. One of the things that surprised me most about Lilah herself would have to be how well she dealt with her newly gained abiliy of speaking with the dead. It was interesting to see that she did not freak out too terribly bad. Lilah was just one of those characterts that is absolutely likeable and who you want to see succeed, plus it was nice to read about a character that got on with their parents.
Usually I name one thing that I liked about a book, like an element to the story, but this time the thing I liked the most was a scene. And that scene would have to be the undergarment shopping/run in with Lilah's crush. Oh my goodness, I was giggling like crazy over this scene because it was flat-out hilarious and so well written. Ms Levy did an excellent job writing such mortifying encounter tn be forgetting it.
The only downfall of the awesomeness that was Small Medium at Large would have to be that it was over entirely too soon. I was so sad to see it draw to an end, but happy with the way things ended for Lilah.
Final Verdict: Small Medium at Large is an epically funny read with
Small Medium at Large earns 5 out of 5 pineapples.
review taken from my blog, The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia.