Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith

Sam Abernathy is known as the boy who fell into a well and spent three days at the bottom when he was four years old. So he's already famous in his small Texas town. But pair that with being the age of a sixth grader who starts middle school in eighth grade and he's a regular sideshow.

While learning how to navigate the halls of middle school, Sam also learns how to avoid James Jenkins, the boy who is responsible for Sam falling in the well to begin with. He also must figure out how to disappoint his father who likes to take his son on survival expeditions that Sam absolutely hates, and wants his son to go to MIT when Sam would prefer to go to culinary school.

In true Andrew Smith fashion, he has managed to write a story that is both hilarious and poignant with a dash of absurdity, but this time for a middle grade audience. For those readers who wonder how a young adult author who has made a name for himself in his use of obscenities and pushing the envelope, one might wonder how that translates to a middle grade audience. Well, dear reader, don't you worry. Smith came up with a genius way around his inability to use swear words while also implying them, but you'll just have to read for yourself to find out how.

For loyal readers of Smith's YA novel Stand Off, you will be particularly elated to discover that his first middle grade novel is about the endearing and annoying young roommate of Ryan Dean West. If that's not a reason to read it, I don't know what is. But just in case you haven't read Stand Off (which if you're a middle grade reader, I hope you haven't), then just know that this book stands alone and leads readers nicely into both Winger and Stand Off when they are older. But also, I think Smith sets this story up nicely for writing another middle grade novel about another character in this book, James Jenkins (hint, hint Andrew if you're reading this).

The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith
Published: March 26, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 272
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Magical Realism
Audience: Middle Grade
Disclosure: ARC received at 2018 NCTE convention

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