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.
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?
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?
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