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!
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.
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.
There's a lot to enjoy about this cheerful story. For one thing, in many ways Small Medium at Large is about the daily adventures of an ordinary girl. It just happens to have a few ghosts thrown in.
Levy has some clever ideas about what to do with her premise. There's Lilah's ghostly grandmother, Bubby Dora, who brings along a fashion designer ghost from the early twentieth century. The funniest scene in the book is when these two ghosts insist on taking Lilah bra shopping. Of course, further humiliation follows.
We wind up getting experiments in kissing from Lilah (no tongue, we're assured) and experiments in dating for her hapless father. Apparently Bubby has mostly stuck around to play matchmaker to her depressed divorced son. The book sometimes reads like a TV sitcom, as in the following scene:
"'Dad!' I said again. He turned back toward me, abandoning the juice. 'What is it, Lilah?' It was like he had completely forgotten what I had said. 'You do need to be dating. I hate to be mean, but look at you, Dad. You're thirty-eight, single, and you spend every evening at home, drinking your tomato juice and either playing Scrabble with your daughter or watching TV by yourself. You're in a rut. You need to get out there before it's too late.' 'I like playing Scrabble with my daughter.' He almost sounded pouty. But it was a good thing; it meant he was actually listening."
A more poignant part of the book is that Andrew has lost his father, and he's not about to believe Lilah when she starts hearing from Mr. Finkel and trying to pass the guy's messages on to his son. Lilah also runs into trouble with a mean girl and then a mean ghost, but friendship, sleepovers, and girl talk solve these problems in the lead-up to a school fashion show.
So yes, there are ghosts, but mostly Small Medium at Large is a fun girl book for middle schoolers. This upbeat tale will probably go over well with readers in grades four through seven. Oh, and do keep an eye out for a clown ghost. Because who wouldn't like to have a ghostly clown come to her birthday party?