Monday, June 27, 2016

Just a Few Inches

                Hello happy readers!  First announcement the giveaway for a SIGNED copy of The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski closes tonight!  This weekend was pretty eventful for me, I spent all day Saturday with my family which was fun (my dad also hooked up my back-up camera so score!) and the other days were spent sleeping, reading, and baking/cooking.  I tried a couple new ideas for baking with grasshopper cookies and tiramisu cupcakes and they are currently being taste tested by my co-workers.  Some of the reading I did was to pick up Justa Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre.  I received a copy from the author for an honest review.

Rating: 4 Stars

                Just a Few Inches is a YA contemporary novel with a small sci-fi element that deals with body image, self-esteem, and teenage relationships with both friends and family.  Carrie likes herself well enough but she would like to be a little more or less in some areas; a bit larger chest and a bit less overall weight.  She’s a cheerleader and has a star basketball player boyfriend and two amazing best friends, her life is good.  But as her boyfriend’s ex starts to become more flirtatious with him again Carrie feels more pressure than before to find the perfect dress to the Valentine’s Day Dance.  She finds it.  THE dress is perfect, but she is a few inches away from it zipping and no amount of exercise or dieting will work in the time she has so she succumbs to an ad for weight loss pills promising a quick solution.  Just a few inches slimmer is the goal.  Dance day and all is perfect in life until days later she begins to notice she is no longer her usual size.  She wasn’t losing a few inches the way she imagined but instead was shrinking.  She much work with her doctors to find a cure while leaning on her family and friends and taking a hard look at what has happened to her.

                 I’m past my high school days and while I do accept my body much more now than I ever thought possible back in school I’m still not comfortable with it all the time.  I have a better understanding over time though and my feelings are based more on health than other things like in the past.  Just a Few Inches tackles the whole concept of body image in a way that forces one character to reflect on it in the most extreme way possible.  Carrie is shrinking and not how she’d hoped and also not stopping.  There are impossible standards put before us at such a young age these days from filters to airbrushing and more from magazines and TV/movies it’s all there.  Last night I even counted the amount of diet/weight loss ads I saw in only four hours: twelve different ads some playing multiple times.  I liked Carrie because she knew the ads were a joke and the media was manipulating her into thinking she needed them but even knowing that logically her brain and heart still were ready to do anything to fit into the perfect dress.  I could reflect back and think this book may have been even more impactful back when I was in school and was dealing with the issues in a more immediate way. 
                 Relationships are one of the most important things in this book and something I really enjoyed.  Both with her family and friends there were ups and downs.  Carries family is a combo of her and her younger her step-sister and her half-sister and her mom and stepdad.  Siblings can be difficult on a good day and monsters on others I know and I liked the way the author captured that.  She really brought in how the matter not only effected Carrie but those around her.  She also has her two best friends Trish and Lauren who I loved and totally could see as some of my friends.  They both have their own different personalities that play off one another well and it’s easy to see why they are friends.  Another character I enjoyed was Evan and how he worked through the story, from her co-editor on the school paper who is constant.

                Another character and subplot I enjoyed was that of rival cheerleader and all around mean girl Janelle.  Around this time I also came to my slight issue.  Carrie was much more forgiving than anyone I ever knew.  Some of the things people do to her that she just moves on from with understand are things I would have lost my mind over.  I could see it showing as while she was getting smaller physically she was being a bigger person in whole and I like the symbolism there but personally some things that people got away with rubbed me the wrong way.  Even knowing the circumstances I had no sympathy.  I recently watched a movie I can’t remember the title of but it popped up on Netflix about a teen who is bullied and things around it and I remember at the end it was how the bully didn’t realize she was so mean and she had some issues of her own which while I understand I don’t think anything you go through gives you the right to bully others to make yourself feel better.  But I digress that could be a whole post in and of itself.

                The way things played out as she got smaller and smaller and the challenges she faced each and every day were something insane.  Some I thought of immediately being an issue but other things brought up I never would have thought of and now they make me think about The Borrowers or Thumbelina a bit differently.  I’m 5’7 and can generally reach most things without assistance but the idea of not being able to any longer is disconcerting. 

                Overall the book was a quick read and it was sweet and cheesy at times but it was good and more importantly it has a good message.  I think most can relate to the story and see some aspect of their current or past selves in her.  I would recommend this as a good perspective book and definitely for anyone currently in middle school or high school.  I am glad to have read this story.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the book or the premises in the comments below. 

                Until next time…

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