Title: Just a Few Inches
Author: Tara St. Pierre
Publication: May 31st 2015 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: 306 pages
Format: Provided a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review
All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller.
To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend, the school’s star basketball player. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. And to be noticed by her classmates.
Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be.
Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story. Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day.
Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.
Shelf it on Goodreads
So here’s the alphabetical run down:
I like Carrie’s character. Her optimism throughout the story is uplifting, but I felt like at times sounded like she was a high schooler written from an adult perspective, (which I know that most YA novels are written by adults, but the characters should sound like they have only the experience appropriate for their age).
A lot of the characters in the book change throughout the story. I appreciated the character growth, but felt like at times it had a forced “lesson learned” feeling.
I’m not a fan of the cover. It does fit the story, with the red dress and the cover model looking small in comparison, but it’s just not eye catching or really very aesthetically pleasing.
Carrie is in two distinct romantic relationships in the book. I enjoyed the contrast between the two and really liked the boy she ends up with, but I also enjoyed that the romantic relationships weren’t the focus of the story and seemed to be a natural, unforced secondary plot.
Although not very long in actuality, the book feels long. I won’t pretend to understand all that goes into independent publishing, but I feel like a really good editor could have taken the concept of the book and the writing and made it into something really spectacular. As it is, I respected the message that St. Pierre wanted to convey with the story, but it felt like some of the mundane details could have been left out, while at other times the plot points seemed to be strung together only following Carrie’s shrinking and not filling in to create a complete story.
I really enjoyed that the plot was completely unique. The book reads like a contemporary, but Carrie’s shrinking is obviously a fantasy element. I appreciate when an author uses the naivety of their character as a reason not to completely explain a rule within the world they have created. Similar to Claudia Gray’s A Thousand Pieces of You where the time travel isn’t fully explained because the main character isn’t a physicist, Carrie’s shrinking is given a medical explanation, but St. Pierre uses Carrie and her family not being medically trained as a reason not to fully explain it.
“Everyone was too worried about how everything looked instead of being upfront and honest and doing what was right. Was this how people in the real world operated, or was this phenomenon limited to high school students?”
“We would’ve made quite the poster trio for body self-consciousness because the condition of our bodies mattered far less that night than wonderful time we had in them.”
“No one should be considered average; it’s a purely mathematical concept, and though math may have its useful purposes, describing who a person is shouldn’t be one of them.”
Three stars isn’t a bad review for this book! I liked it. I had trouble with the pacing of the story at times, but I think the overall message of the book is really important, unique, and well done.