Deb Joanne’s Launch Week Concludes with Just the Kind of Question You Might Expect from Deb Linda

My very first thought when I heard about Joanne’s book was, best title ever!

TG (my darling husband, for those of you who don’t know me very well), said exactly the same thing when he saw me reading it. No doubt about it–Small Medium at Large is the perfect title for this book. I mean, come on. A middle grade book about a girl who gets hit by lightning and, as a result, can hear ghosts?

Like I said. Perfect.

But a great title alone cannot carry a book. The book has to live up to it. Rest assured, Small Medium at Large is more than up to the task. I’ll admit, I was a little worried about being able to relate to a middle grade book at this point in my life, especially since my kiddos are no longer in that age group. But as soon as I started reading, my worries fell away–I was sucked right into the story, and enjoyed an amazing nostalgia trip down memory lane. Made me feel like a kid again, and I love that!

As you’ll note from my question, certain parts of the book were excruciatingly (an hilariously) easy for me to relate to.

My Question:

There are so many funny and touching scenes in Small Medium at Large that I love. Your characters are so real–they transported me back to my youth (admittedly a long trip), and I had a blast spending time with them on the page. My absolute favorite scene is the one where Lilah has to shop for a bra. (I can’t imagine a woman, of whatever age, who couldn’t relate to it on some level.) Did you draw on embarrassing memories of your own to frame that scene, or was it a product of your vivid imagination?


Joanne’s Answer:

Thank you so much, Linda. That scene, the bra-shopping one, is my very favorite in the book as well. There’s something about being a developing tween girl that just begs for humiliating scenarios, right? So much material! This scene is sort of an amalgam of my own humiliation over developing and getting a bra, which I think for a lot of girls is a bittersweet experience—you WANT to be growing up, but having to admit that your body is changing is embarrassing. Of course, it’s embarrassing for tweens; it seems to NOT be embarrassing for grownups, which I think is where the fun begins and why I think this scene works so well. Despite her reluctance to let ghosts help her with this very important thing, Lilah’s spirited peanut gallery (her dead grandmother and an also-deceased fashion designer) offer a lot of help in getting her fitted properly. But in the end, when it looks like all will be okay, poor Lilah runs into her crush, Andy, and all goes terribly wrong.

I remember very distinctly a horrifying experience I had back in sixth grade—I was wearing this white turtleneck with penguins on it, when a boy (who will remain nameless, but I still remember his name very clearly, thank you very much) walked up to me, looked me up and down and told me I had big boobs. I think it was that very weekend that I made my mom take me to get a bra. I’m pretty sure she made me get one in blush pink—I don’t know why, but who wants to argue?

And I’m not even going to get into what it was like for me, developing in front of three older brothers (although, since you have three brothers of your own, Linda, you probably have a good idea what it was like).

But back to my scene—so to answer your question, this particular experience didn’t happen to me, but it may as well have, minus the ghosts. Looking back, I’m pretty thankful now that my awkward years (especially the developing ones) happened – now that I’m well beyond that stuff, I have a goldmine of experiences that prove to be great fodder for books.


Back to Linda: So true, Joanne! Awkward experiences are the purest form of research. And, yes, having three brothers ensures you’ll have every one of those awkward experiences pointed out and commented upon. Trust me, I know.

If any of you out there have kids or grandkids (nieces, nephews, neighbors…) of the right age, I can’t recommend Small Medium at Large highly enough. Oh, heck, even if you want a fun trip down Memory Lane, it’s a great choice. You can always pretend you’re buying it for a friend.

Do you ever get the urge to revisit the books you loved as a kid?

Leave a comment and be entered to win a signed copy of SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE!

32 Replies to “Deb Joanne’s Launch Week Concludes with Just the Kind of Question You Might Expect from Deb Linda”

  1. Linda, that was my favorite scene too!! (I think I referred to it as the foundation garment scene in my post)–it was genius and who can’t relate to Lilah! It’s hard enough to have to buy your first bra, now imagine doing it with co-shopping ghosts–and then bumping into your crush!

    Joanne, I hope you’ve enjoyed your launch week half as much as we have here at the Ball! Our thanks to you and to Lilah and ALL her family and friends for making SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE such a fun and tender reminder of the bumpy waters of adolescence–and how good it feels to finally learn how to steer our own ship safely into the harbor!

    1. Bumping into your crush alone would make shopping for your first bra a memorable experience, but add ghosts to it and you couldn’t forget it if you tried. I totally love it. *grin*

    2. FYI – this has been the best week ever. I feel like a shy bride who also just had a baby that simultaneously graduated and just made her way out into the world. So many life events rolled into one!
      Thank you so much for sharing this with me – I feel very lucky and honored.

    1. That’s what I love so much about writing for this age group – we all go through that stuff and those moments become lifelong memories. The more humiliating, the better. 😀

    1. It is, Andrea! So much fun to read. I figure all women must have embarrassing memories of that time in their life. It’s universal.

    2. Thanks, Andrea! I’ve been hearing a lot of great feedback about how I really captured that age well, and I’m so glad it’s resonating with so many people!

  2. Linda it seems everyone is realating to the “BRA” scene. If my memory (if it can go back that far) yes it was an experience to never forget.

    I was living with my grandparents, my parents, my brother, my Aunt and Uncle and my little cousin he was five years younger than me, now you want to talk about bumpy waters of adolescence (many many many years ago) and it is still imprinted in my mind. Oh yeh and a cousin who was three months younger than me who’s Mother (my Aunt) would keep on saying to me “are you not wearing a bra yet) talk about memorable experiences, yep you all guessed it I made my Mother take me out buy me a bra and I stuffed it with kleenex, just so my bitchy Aunt would get off my case, and then the embarrassing moment happened while we were having co-ed gym, can you imagine kleenex falling on the floor because you reached to shoot the basketball (OY VEY) I had a real good cry and did not want to go back to class for the rest of the day so I faked being sick and the school called my Bubby and she came to get me and did I ever get you know what starts with s and ends with T. To many stories to tell about my growing up years so I will stop here and I hope I gave you all a good laugh to start your weekend.
    Okay Debs have a great weekend and I thank you all for your wonderful comments and support for my Joanne.

    1. Oh, Marcia! That must have been excruciating for you! But you know what they say — one person’s excruciating memory is a writer’s “research.” 😉

      Thanks for sharing your painful research with us!

      1. Oh boy, Deb Mom Marcia–that is a fabulous story! I’m so glad you shared it–and we’ll look forward to sharing more stories of adolescent horrors when we meet at kugel-fest! 😉

        And it’s been our joy to share this week with your dear Joanne–and you too, of course! 🙂

  3. the title of this book is genius! and the premise (which, while ghosts freak me out) seems very original and not too scary. i think i could handle the ghosts in this book better than the embarrassing bra shopping scene. oh me, oh my do i remember shopping for my first one. i’m pretty sure i didn’t even fit into a size A, but everyone else was wearing a bra, so i had to have one too! congrats to joanne on her release and thanks for the wonderful review, linda!

    1. I think you could handle — and enjoy! — the ghosts in this one, Abby. They’re very entertaining.

      And my first bra was euphemistically labelled “double-A.” Because a regular A wasn’t small enough. Talk about embarrassing!

    2. Thank you, Abby! And I promise, my ghosts are not scary, unless you count the potential for embarassment scary, in which case, you may want to read with the lights on.

  4. I still have my favorite books…Charlotte’s Web, of course, and Are You There, God, it’s Me, Margaret…
    I have a little brother, which might even be worse for the developing tween…and I was the one who got in trouble for punching him when he told the boys in the neighborhood that I had some of the other characteristics of puberty going on…as a matter of fact, I think I might need to go punch him again…

    1. LOL! I feel your pain. I have two older brothers, and one younger one, so I was sandwiched in between the teasing and the annoying. 😉

    2. Those are a couple of my favorites, too, Teri! And brothers can always use a punch–even if it’s in cold blood. Chances are they did something to deserve it. 😉

  5. I swear, y’all are gonna turn me into an A-1 fan of YA literature! I absolutely adored “Princesses of Iowa”, (will be reviewing it on my blog on Monday) and “Small Medium at Large” sounds like another book I’d thoroughly enjoy. I don’t reckon we ever forget those “developing” years, or how cruel other people could be if said “development” was a little slower than the norm. My best friend was a sweet little bit of a thing, and some of the other girls (especially the ones who liked to prance around naked in the locker room to show off their jiggly parts) teased her unmercifully. As for re-reading the books I loved as a girl, I don’t really do that, but I love it when my granddaughters read them and enjoy them, based on my recommendations.

    1. And oh the irony, Susan! After a certain age, we worry about anyone seeing our parts jiggling and do everything we can to KEEP them from jiggling. Where’s the happy medium!? (Oh, and yes, pun ENTIRELY intended 😉 )

    2. Ugh. I was always the girl in the locker room who kept herself covered at all costs, so embarrassed was I at my lack of what I considered to be, um, significant developments. Dang, if I had that body now, I’d go on stage with it. 😉

  6. I seriously must read this just for the bra scene! Though I’m sure the rest is great! I was one of only 2 girls in the entire 4th grade who needed a bra…and I’ll leave it at that. Congrats on the book!

    1. That scene is worth the price of the book. Though, I hasten to add, the rest of the book IS great, too. 🙂

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