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Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy

Small Medium at Large (edition 2012)

by Joanne Levy

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6710178,380 (3.55)1
Title:Small Medium at Large
Authors:Joanne Levy
Info:Bloomsbury USA Childrens (2012), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 208 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:middle grade, ghosts

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Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy



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After being struck by lightening, Liliah wakes up hearing the voice of her grandmother Bubby. Problem is, her grandmother is dead. She realizes she can talk to dead people, becoming little “medium” Liliah. Liliah’s parents are divorced and her dad ...read more http://www.musingwithcrayolakym.com/3/post/2013/06/small-medium-at-large.html ( )
  crayolakym | Jun 2, 2013 |
Joanne Levy’s début middle-grade novel, Small Medium at Large (what a great title!), is a funny and engaging story. Spunky 12-year-old Lilah Bloom is suddenly hearing dead people after being struck by lightning. With the help of these friendly ghosts, including her very own grandmother Bubby Dora, Lilah is determined to find a girlfriend for her dad – and maybe even a boyfriend for herself!

Levy’s début is full of fun and mischief, as Lilah learns to cope with her new abilities and directs her dad in his disastrous attempts at getting back in the dating game. Along the way, she finds herself actually talking with crush Andrew (Andy) Finkel and experiencing some rather embarrassing moments with him. (I admit, I cringed as badly as Lilah did when these moments happened.) The story is told in the first-person narrative, so it is a good thing I liked being in Lilah’s head. She definitely had a pretty mature outlook for a 12-year-old, but there were moments throughout that made me remember she was a pre-teen. Scenes involving Lilah shopping for her first bra and discussing “french kissing” with her best friend Alex (Alexandra) are perfect examples. Both scenes made me laugh out loud and remember similar moments from my own younger years. I really liked her description of crush Andy, “Andrew had shaggy brown hair and emerald-green eyes. Perfect. And he was really nice, which is also very important in a potential boyfriend.” (Chapter 1) I’m going to have to agree with this sentiment – “really nice” is a VERY important thing to look for in a boyfriend, so to recognize that means she has a good head on her shoulders. I mean, let’s face it, a lot of boys may be cute, but they’re not all Prince Charming!

A couple of things surprised me (pleasantly) as I read Small Medium at Large. First, it was nice to see a story in which a child is living with only one parent and it’s dad. Mom is definitely in the picture – after all it was her second wedding where the lightning occurred – but it is clear that dad has primary custody. In many books where only one parent is in the picture it is generally mom, so I like when a father-daughter dynamic is brought in. The struggles Lilah goes through to get him back in the dating scene were cute and funny, and it was great to see how well-adjusted she was to her parents’ split. Secondly, Lilah is very open with her abilitity to talk to dead people – except with her own parents. Allowing her friends and other students (and even a teacher) to know of her ability seemed a little too trusting of her, but then I remembered her age and confidence and decided her openness was natural. This is a well-loved child with solid relationships around her, so being able to tell others about something unusual that has happened to her works.

Other than Bubby Dora, most of the other ghosts make brief appearances: Chuckles the clown at a party; former school cafeteria worker Miss Marion (who turns out to really know her food) in, of course, the cafeteria; a former girlfriend of the aforementioned teacher who wants him to do something important; etc. Fashion designer Prissy Lagontaine shows up more often, providing much-needed fashion advice, and a relative close to Andy also makes a few appearances, one of them leading to a rather humiliating little scene for Lilah. All of them are very friendly and/or mischievous, so there are no scares in this book. There are a few poignant moments with the ghosts, but this is a very light-hearted read and fear is not on the agenda.

On the human side of things, Lilah’s best friend Alex is flighty and boy crazy but bearable. Andy really IS nice and the perfect first boyfriend, and his inadvertent entry into the bra shopping experience is both funny and cringe-inducing (if you’re a girl). Somehow Lilah’s most embarrassing moments seem to involve underwear and Andy! Mean girl Dolly Madison turns out to have a heart, while Lilah’s friends Tamsin, Anita, Fiona and Sherise are sweet. And dad? Well, he’s a little lost with the whole dating thing, but he is also a really nice guy who ends up having a surprising shot at romance. All in all, a good group to spend a little time with.

With its engaging story, large doses of humor and spunky heroine, Joanne Levy’s début novel Small Medium at Large is geared to the middle-grade crowd but is a fast and extremely fun read that can be enjoyed by everyone. I’ll be keeping my eye out for future books from Ms. Levy, and hoping they are as entertaining as this one. ( )
  eomalley | Apr 13, 2013 |
Frothy fun that middle grade girls will love. Joanne Levy GETS seventh-grade girls, and her writing has a lighthearted energy that makes it hard to put down. Wonderful characters, wonderful storyline... it's the whole package in under 200 pages. ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
This was really just a cute middle-grade book which is what I look for in my fun reading. Lilah is hit by lightening and can now hear ghosts which proves to be problematic. Wackiness ensues but there are some poignant moments too. ( )
  matamgirl | Apr 3, 2013 |
GUYS, Small Medium at Large is every bit as frickin' adorable as the puntastic title implies, and I am so happy to be able to say that. I had extremely high hopes for Joanne Levy's debut, since we've bonded over Twitter, but experience has shown that just because I love an author, I won't necessarily be impressed by their novels. Thankfully, Joanne's was a little ray of middle grade sunshine that made me say "AWWWW" out loud multiple times.

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. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
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Book description
Lilah Bloom hears dead people. And boy, are they annoying!
After she's hit by lightning at a wedding, twelve-year-old Lilah Bloom develops a new talent: she hears dead people. Among them, there's her over-opinionated bubby Dora; a comically prissy fashion designer; and an approval-seeking clown who livens up a seance. With Bubby Dora leading the way, these and other sweetly imperfect ghosts haunt Lilah through seventh grade, and help her face her one fear: talking to and possibly going to the seventh-grade dance with her big crush, Andrew Finkel.
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After being hit by lightning, twelve-year-old Lilah, who has a crush on classmate Andrew Finkel, discovers that she can communicate with dead people, including her grandmother who wants Lilah to find a new wife for Lilah's divorced father.

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