Synopsis: Lilah is your average Seventh Grader…until she is struck by lightning at her mother’s wedding. While Lilah is thankful to be alive, she’s in for a surprise; she can hear ghosts. Specifically Bubby Dora is always in Lilah’s ears, enlisting her help to find Martin (Lilah’s dad) a new girlfriend.
How on earth is a Seventh Grader supposed to help her dad get back into the dating world, crush on Andrew Finkel and talk to dead people? Lilah is about to find out…
Cover Gushing Worthiness: I adore this cover and I think John Candell (the Jacket Designer) did a great job. The colours are beautiful and the font of the title is perfect because it adds a spooky feeling to it. I also like the girl’s smile. Overall it’s a great cover for this book!
Review: I have to admit that it was the cover that drew me to read Small Medium At Large. I mean how can anyone resist such a great cover? I first saw this book on goodreads and after reading the synopsis of the book I decided to give the book a chance and I wasn’t disappointed. Plus I got a signed copy of the book :).
The plot of this book is light and quirky as it follows Lilah Bloom who has acquired the power of being able to hear ghosts. Apart from the supernatural element which is central to the book, Levy adds a humorous take on real tween girl issues like buying your first bra and crushing over someone. There were parts in this book where I did laugh out loud because I couldn’t imagine myself talking to my own dad about girl issues, but Lilah takes everything in stride and a part of you thinks “wow, she does handle herself well for a twelve year-old.” Jen from Lost in a Great Book mentioned Levy’s talent as an author to mix both supernatural and realistic elements to make a believable story in her review and I agree with her. Levy wrote the book in such a way that I found myself thinking “Yeah it is completely normal for a twelve year-old to be able to handle school, crushes and talk to dead people and help them in any way she can.” There were some touching moments in this book and I found myself getting a bit teary-eyed, but that’s probably just me. I did feel that some of the subplots of this book were weaker and were just there to fill up the pages, but it’s not a major issue and I was able to look past this particular flow and just enjoy the book.
Characterwise Lilah was a likeable protagonist. As I said before I did find myself laughing at some of the exchanges between Lilah and her friends. When I was reading those parts I was reminded of my former Thesis advisor who keeps telling me to stop using the word ‘like’ so much. But hey Lilah is only twelve years-old, she has plenty of time to grow out of that habit. Actually I hope both Elementary and High School students grow out of using the word ‘like’ all the time, but I’m not sure if it’ll ever happen. Bubby Dora, Lilah’s grandmother was also likeable and I enjoyed her “grandma” moments. Lilah’s love interest Andrew Finkel was an adorable character and I enjoyed reading the interactions between the two. I think Andrew had very realistic reactions to what was going on between Lilah and him and he was a believable thirteen year-old guy.
None of the secondary characters particularly stood out to me, like they did in Adam Canfield: The Last Reporter ,
but I will say that I was surprised at Dolly Madison’s quick personality change towards the end of the book. Somehow it didn’t seem quite believable. Nevertheless this won’t deter your enjoyment of the book.
I don’t have any issues with the pacing of the book. The book is quite short (only 208) pages and the pacing suits the story arc. I do admit that I did find the ending of the book a little weird.
Overall, Small Medium At Large was an enjoyable read. I can’t say that I loved it like I loved Adam Canfield: The Last Reporter. I do believe that this is a good debut book by Joanne Levy and I do think I will pick up her future work. If you’re looking for a light, quick middle-grade read, this is one book to consider.
My rating: 3/5
Would I recommend it? Yes
If you’d like to read Jen’s review of the book click here