Review of Just a Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre

51qlbiuyd0l-_sx322_bo1204203200_Rating: 4/5

Release date: May 31, 2015 (out now!)

Length: 306 pages

Buy it on Amazon.

Source: The author provided me a copy 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.

Carrie Roberts is a senior in high school who, in a desperate attempt to fit into the perfect dress at the Valentine’s school dance, takes diet pills and then begins to shrink. At first, she tries to hide her shrinking from her friends, family, classmates, etc. but as she continues to get smaller and smaller, that’s no longer possible. She’s thrown into the spotlight and although many people are following her story and offering support, she and those close to her are more or less left on their own to figure out how to deal with this very unique situation.

One thing that bothered me and kind of made it difficult for me to figure out what size Carrie was at the moment was that I think in the beginning when she first began to shrink, descriptions of how much smaller she was were exaggerated. For example, when she has gotten down to 4′ 11″ (which is small, but not outside the range of normal height for an adult woman), there are descriptions that really make it seem like she’s so much smaller because she describes herself as being eye level with another girl’s chest (which may not be too far off, but still made her seem super small to me) and mentions that she feels like she’s forgotten because of how small she is. Right from the beginning, there are these types of descriptions that make her seem tiny when in reality she’s just a relatively short person but still has a healthy and normal height. I think part of this may result from her originally being 5′ 8″ which is pretty tall and so even at 4′ 11″ it would be a big height difference to her, but it still was a bit confusing at times.

However, aside from that, I thought the writing was well done and that the story was entertaining. Although the concept of shrinking from taking diet pills may seem a bit silly at first (or at least it did to me), I found it to be really interesting. Imagining how life must be like for Carrie as she gets smaller and smaller was both fun and thought-provoking. I also really liked seeing how different characters reacted to her shrinking. Most were very supportive, but some weren’t. And there was at least one character who I thought was a lot more supportive than they ended up being.

Carrie was a pretty well-developed character. She starts off kind of “shallow” in that she mostly cares about her appearance and how other people perceive her. The whole reason why she even begins to shrink in the first place is because she wanted to fit into a dress she found so she could look good for her boyfriend and keep a rival cheerleader, Janelle, away from him. But as her story continues and she’s faced with bigger problems, we really see her grow and learn that how you look is not the most important thing in the world. Something that I really enjoyed was seeing how important her friends and family were to her and how much she grew to value them (not that she didn’t care about them in the first place, but she certainly becomes more appreciative of them as time goes on). I did like that characters who were, at one point or another, portrayed to be “bad” people (to varying degrees) were later shown to have more to them. I won’t go into detail because I don’t want to spoil things for you, but I liked that the author acknowledged that people are usually not mean for no reason and that those people have the ability to grow.

I found myself constantly hoping that things would turn around for Carrie. I really liked that the author included scenes to help us understand how big (or, more accurately, how small) Carrie was. Like I mentioned before, in the beginning, descriptions of how much smaller she had gotten often felt exaggerated, but as she gets smaller there are things that happen that let you truly grasp what size she is. I found these scenes to describe her size in a much more believable way and make it easier to picture her.

I also really loved Evan. He’s a great character and I really loved his dorkiness. I also loved that you could see right from the beginning of the book how much he cared for Carrie, despite her having a boyfriend. He doesn’t act in an “oh no I’m friendzoned” way either which I appreciated.

I liked that it had this overarching theme of accepting yourself and learning that there’s more to you than just how you look. Self-esteem and body issues are something that I think almost all of us can relate to and while obviously what’s happening to Carrie is not going to be happening to any of us any time soon, it still deals with these topics in a positive way. I don’t think having Carrie’s particular situation being so unrealistic takes away from the reader’s ability to relate to the underlying problem/message.

One last comment: I totally loved that my school (Boston University) was mentioned multiple times. This is the second or third book that I’ve read that mentions BU and I still get excited about it hahaha

Overall, this was a really fun read and if it sounds like something you might enjoy even a little bit I would recommend checking it out. I’d be willing to bet that you’ll like it more than you think you will. All in all, it’s a captivating and imaginative read. There will be moments that make you laugh and moments that break your heart, but a very satisfying ending to make it all worth it.

Again, a big thank you to Tara for sending me a copy!!

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