Wholesome, Sweet and Honest | Blog Tour + Review: Paul, Big, and Small by David Glen Robb

6:00 AM

Another day is here, and with that day brings another wonderful title from our friends over at Shadow Mountain Publishing! Introducing: Paul, Big, and Small!


Paul Adams has always been short, but he’s an excellent rock climber. And his small size means he can hide from the bullies that prowl the halls of his high school.

Top on his list of “People to Avoid” are Conor, from his Language Arts class, Hunter, who hangs around the climbing gym, and Lily Small, who happens to be the tallest girl in school. But he might be able to be friends with a new kid from Hawaii who insists that everyone call him “Big.” He’s got a way of bringing everyone into his circle and finding the beauty in even the worst of situations.

When the three of them—Paul, Big, and Small—are assigned to the same group project, they form an unlikely friendship. And Paul realizes that maybe Lily isn’t so bad after all. He might even actually like her. And maybe even more than like her.

Paul and Lily team up for a rock-climbing competition, but when Lily is diagnosed with leukemia, Paul ends up with Conor on his team. And when Paul learns that Conor is dealing with bullies of his own—as well as some deep emotional pain—he realizes that the bullying in his school has got to stop.

Paul, Big, and Small is about the turbulent, emotional lives of young adults who are struggling with life’s challenges openly and sometimes in secret.


Paul, Big, and Small by David Glen Robb 
Rating: ★★★

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way. 

Minor trigger warnings: death, anxiety/panic attacks, cancer diagnosis and more. None of these are especially overbearing but I'm trying to get into the habit of mentioning trigger warnings at the start of my reviews! 

Something about Paul, Big, and Small reminded me of a youth spent devouring books by Lurlene McDaniel. Perhaps it is in its wholesome simplicity that makes it feel almost reminiscent to these books of yesterday. There's this seriousness in the way Paul, Big, and Small conducts itself--while still maintaining that minimal, sweet tone to it, and this is what will make it succeed with its young readers.

If you love books with heart and soul, that dabble in life's lessons. I found that with time, it developed itself into a beautifully crafted novel of life. Each of the characters we meet are wonderfully complex and I really adored that we see them grow and overcoming life's hardships.

While there were occasions that it felt like an after-school special (I am not necessarily complaining or calling this a bad thing) or lacking in descriptions, for the most part Paul, Big, and Small had a frankness to it that couldn't be replicated. There's a fairly good balance of topics tackled within its pages, making it quite well-rounded. 

I'm all for books that explore the complexities of being a teenager and facing your fears, and the world, head on. In order for these books to be compelling and realistic, an author has to take great care with the topics at hands. David Glen Robb does so beautifully and stands out in emotion.

Paul, Big, and Small succeeds in many ways. It reminds adults how capable children are. It reminds children that they are not alone. I think, ultimately, this is one of the biggest triumphs of Paul, Big, and Small: it is a reminder of life, loss and friendship. Sweet as it is honest, Paul, Big, and Small feels hopeful even in its moments of struggle. Ultimately, I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and seeing how they adapt to life's many obstacles.

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