Review: Just a Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform Release Date: May 31st 2015
Pages: Paperback, 306 pages
Received an ecopy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
I--and I'm sure many others out there--can relate to the message within the pages of Just a Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre. Just a Few Inches is a YA novel that addresses topics such as body image, self-esteem, and teenage relationships; at the center of it all is Carrie Roberts, a young woman who just wants to "be a little bit smaller."
Carrie is a high school cheerleader, dating the star basketball player (Todd), and according to medical charts, she may even be a little underweight for her 5'8" height. And even though Carrie is very aware of the fact that she is in no way fat, outside pressures (i.e. jealous ex girlfriends and Valentine's Day dances) cause her to feel just a tad too big. The answer to Carrie's insecurity? Well-marketed diet pills.
The first time she takes a pill--nothing really happens. So, she keeps upping the dosage way beyond the directed amount. At this point, I just wanted to scream "LISTEN TO YOUR FRIEND LAUREN!" Feeling like you have to fit into a certain dress size in order to "keep" your boyfriend is not a feeling you should have! Besides, she definitely shouldn't have been worried about keeping Todd interested--the chemistry just wasn't there from the start, so losing him wouldn't have really been a loss at all (which made the romance reader in me really sad to know). THANK GOODNESS Carrie wised up eventually.
But, I digress. Let's get back to discussing Carrie's pill popping. To our main character's delight, she does lose a few inches--enough that she can fit into her killer Valentine's Day Dance dress. Sounds like a win, right?
*Cues the Jaws' theme song*
Unforeseen side-effect: Carrie is shrinking.
Like turning into Thumbelina shrinking. Like Honey I Shrunk the Kids shrinking. Not going to lie--the idea of this freaked me the flip out. Just think about it. Wouldn't it be so weird to have your BFF, boyfriend/girlfriend, daughter (or whomever!) shrink to the size of a barbie? Does the idea of cradling a barbie-sized teenager against your collarbone freak anyone else out? Or is it just me? I don't know. I was just slightly disturbed by the whole shrinking thing. Especially because characters like Amy's friend and Kylie's friend made me realize how dangerous/scary being teeny tiny could be. But once I accepted the shrinking (and the fact that this a YA book with a message, not my typical romance read), I was really kind of into this book.
I couldn't turn the pages fast enough because I was like OMG what's going to happen to Carrie? Is she going to live? Are her and Evan (who I love so much--seriously, I was cheesing so hard whenever Evan entered the scene) really going to start dating when Carrie is less than a foot tall? What are mechanics of it all? Does she still need to go to the bathroom? Maybe. But how does she do it? My gutter brain was probably the only one wondering that, but I NEEDED answers!
And I got most of them (minus the bathroom answer--unless I missed that. Seriously, I spend way too much time thinking about bathroom-related issues. Probably because my family is a "potty humor" family...TMI?). It just took a little longer than I would have liked because the pace was a bit sluggish about halfway through. Also, I sometimes felt trapped with Carrie because I was always in her head, and she was almost always alone--not interacting with anyone because her shrinking caused her to be very fragile in physical terms. Maybe if I was able to see more of the secondary characters, I would have liked them more. Now, that's not to say that I disliked them. I just didn't know them. OKAY. OKAY. You got me. That's a lie. I disliked Todd. And Val seemed a little too convenient. Surprisingly, I thought I would hate Janelle, but it was pretty awesome that I was rooting for her/crying with her in the end.
Ultimately, I'm with ya Carrie! Evan is da bomb. Your Mom is da bomb (if a little cooky). Your friends are da bomb. And your attitude is da bomb. Carrie was so positive when I would have wanted to crawl in a whole and scream and die. I felt for Carrie because I know how much hindsight sucks (don't we all?). I know she wished that she could have reversed time and not have taken those pills, so I'm glad everything worked out in the end!
I think most of my female friends and I can attest to the fact that everything seems worse in high school. I wish I could go back to my high school self and just say "STOP IT. YOU ARE NOT FAT. Be happy, live life, and please for the love of God just wear the right sized pants!" That last bit about the pants was a joke, but really, it's crazy how normal it is for young girls to see themselves in such a negative light. I believe this book could really help shape young women's attitudes towards their appearances. I mean, it won't be a miracle worker, but it might help to put things in perspective.
Overall, Just a Few Inches is a unique (slightly weird in my deranged mind) story, with a strong message. Carrie is a strong character with an fascinating journey. The writing is great, the suspense is nail-biting at times, and the mini romance caused a few "AWWWWWs" to come out of my mouth.
Thank you Tara St. Pierre for giving me the opportunity to read Just a Few Inches! Until next time...