Today’s post is a special one as I have both a book review and author interview with Tara St Pierre! The author of the book:‘Just a Few Inches’. This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion or review of the book. So let’s begin this post with the interview I had with the lovely Tara St Pierre:
Me: What were your ideas/ inspiration for writing Just a Few Inches?
Tara: I was standing in the checkout line at a drugstore or supermarket, casually glancing at the magazines. I was struck by how many of them featured headlines about ways to shed pounds and/or inches. This over-emphasis of how women “have to” appear was distressing. But it was one particular headline that utilized the word shrink that caught my attention, saying “shrink your waist” or something like that.
Being a fan of classic science fiction movies, my mind did some free-association and connected with the 50s film The Incredible Shrinking Man. I imagined a scenario where a teenage girl influenced by these magazine covers and television ads would unnecessarily want to be a little bit smaller, only to find that she was getting smaller in a very different way.
After that, I researched factors that may play a part in society’s perception of body image. Is it the media? I could explore this question by giving my protagonist Carrie have a career goal in journalism. Is it competition with each other? I could explore this question by giving her boyfriend an ex-girlfriend that may want him back. Is it fashion dolls girls play with? I could explore this question by shrinking Carrie down to that size. Once these questions—and ways to address them—were developed, I knew I had something.
Me: How long did it take for you to write your novel?
Tara: My inspiration for the novel came in the mid-90s, and back then, I wrote maybe the first six or seven chapters of the novel. I was much less experienced with plot outlining back then, and I was writing with very little idea of where the story was going to end, so I stalled. Over the years, I’d revisit what I had written, maybe make a few changes, but I was never able to move forward.
In early 2014, I was looking at the first chapter and I saw one of the things I was missing. Carrie needed a career goal, and it made perfect sense for her to want to go into journalism. Who better to comment on the media than someone who would have some understanding of it? Then I wrote the prologue (renamed as “Before”) and epilogue (“After”), and I had the bookends of the story.
Once that happened, I sat down with a calendar and planned the second half of Carrie’s senior year in high school—from the Valentine’s Dance, the Prom, all the way to Graduation and slightly beyond—matching her dwindling height to the various events. After that, it took about six months to write the first draft, and then I spent almost a year revising and tightening the story.
Me: Have you always wanted to be an author?
Tara: I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and I’ve always enjoyed creating stories. I’ve written lots of things, and they’re in various stages of completion. I write at whatever pace I like and whenever I have free time, so I don’t know if I could ever be a full-time author with deadlines to meet.
Friends of mine have enjoyed my stories, so when I learned about self-publishing options, I decided to research further. It seemed like a good fit for me because I don’t look at my writing as my primary career—I have one of those. I write because it’s part of who I am, and it’s exciting to share the stories and have people respond positively to them. Sure, it would be cool sell millions of copies, but until that happens I’m grateful for every sale I get.
Me: Are you currently writing/ planning on writing any upcoming novels?
Tara: Of course I am! I’ve got several other projects that I’ve worked on over the years that I hope to revisit and finish. Also, a new idea came into my head within the past month, and I can hear the protagonist’s voice screaming to get out. I have the ending of this idea—particularly the antagonist’s true motivations—all figured out, and I may start drafting the first chapter soon.
Me: What was your favourite part about writing your novel?
Tara: Doing all the math involved! I wanted Carrie’s shrinkage to follow a predictable pattern, so I had to create a mathematical equation for it. Because she gets smaller, everything appears larger to her. I needed to calculate how much larger so I could better describe it from her point of view.
Also, in order to capture what her world looked like to her, I explored my house from different perspectives. Sometimes, I’d walk around on my knees to see what I could reach. Sometime, I’d lie on the floor and look up at things. I’m sure I looked a little odd, but it was all to make the book feel that much more real.
Me: And finally, what is your favourite book of all time?
Tara: How do I pick just one? Obviously, the Harry Potter series is phenomenal, and I can’t wait to read Cursed Child. I’m also a big fan of Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, primarily for its structure. I love how he told two first-person stories in a seamless way.
Title: Just a Few Inches
Author: Tara St Pierre
Genre: YA contemporary, Romance, Sci- Fi
Synopsis: 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.
We all have the capacity for incredible achievements and incredible change, but those come from the inside, and none of it will happen while we’re obsessing about what’s on the outside.
– Just a Few Inches
My review: This book deals with the serious issues of body image and self-esteem in a great way. When Carrie sees a beautiful red dress while shopping with her friends, she knows she needs to wear it to the Valentine Dance. But the dress is a little too small for her, so she resorts to taking diet pills.She achieves her goal and fits perfectly in her dress on the night of the dance. Everybody is stunned at how beautiful she looks. But the diet pills don’t seem to be wearing off and she keeps on losing weight. Oh, and she also starts losing inches. Yes, you heard me right, she actually starts shrinking. Carrie can’t believe it and tries keeping it a secret. But then things start getting out of hand. Her shrinking is growing at a fast rate and there’s seems to be no end to it. How can Carrie stop shrinking?
This was a great book and I’m surprised at how much I liked it. The plot is unique and something that I haven’t ever read before. The book progressed quickly and I got hooked straight away. Carrie had a normal life. She was neither fat nor chubby in any means. She was an average height and lead an active lifestyle as a cheerleader. She had a loving family, boyfriend and group of friends. So why did Carrie decide to take diet pills INSECURITY is the answer. This book accurately deals with insecurity and why we succumb to it.
What I love most about this book is the vivid descriptions. Each chapter title had the progress of Carrie’s weight or height, which really added to the realism of the story. As Carrie keeps on shrinking, the story is shaped on how she views the world. It amazed me how much detail was put into the book for the readers to imagine how much Carrie was shrinking and how she viewed her surroundings. The comparisons in the book kept on making me imagine myself in her position *shudders*. This book was intense and gripping. I didn’t want to put it down, I HAD to know what would happen to Carrie.
This book is very realistic. I know, that sounds weird considering the book is about a girl shrinking. But it truly is. The characters were realistic and easy to relate to. The romance in the book was more of side issue, but it was still cute to read about. I enjoyed that it wasn’t too over the top. Carrie was a very strong character and it was actually really scary to imagine what she was going through.
I really enjoyed this book. It was very powerful, but in a subtle way. The way this book deals with body issues was very impressive and it was a very interesting read. I highly recommend reading this book, the story and message stays in your mind for a long time.
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4/5)
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Let me know in the comments if you have read this book and what your thoughts on it are♡
Signing off, Ash xx