When Sam Abernathy was four years old, James Jenkins threw a ball up in the air so high that everyone playing the neighborhood game of SPUD ran really far – so far that Sam took that one extra step before the ball was caught…and fell down a well. A well that put his little Texas town on the map, and led to T-shirts being sold that all said “Pray for Sam,” and resulted in Sam not speaking for quite some time after the whole incident. So he started school a bit later than usual, but he must have been absorbing a lot, because now that he’s supposed to be in sixth grade, he’s just been skipped ahead to 8th grade.
Now, starting middle school is a pretty big deal, but to be starting middle school as an 8th grader is crazy, at least that is how Sam feels. And when he finds out that James Jenkins – the boy who caused Sam to fall down the well, at least in his mind anyway – has been held back and is repeating 8th grade, well, life just keeps getting worse as far as Sam is concerned.
After falling down the well, Sam has been worried about taking a wrong step, both figuratively and literally! His parents are more than happy to step in and plan all those steps out for him, especially since he’s tested so high. His father has decided that Sam will get into high school early and then go on to MIT and make amazing advances in the areas of Math and Science. The only problem with that plan, is that Sam has no interest at all in Math and Science. Instead, he sneaks downstairs at night to watch cooking shows, and tries out all his recipes on his best friend Karim. All while he’s pretty sure that James Jenkins is planning to murder him, because he appears to have all the attributes of an actually murderer, at least as best Sam can figure out!
The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith is a delightful book about a boy who has grown up believing in one story, only to slowly figure out that story was clearly written in a different language. It is hard to make a book humorous without going over the top, and this book does it. This was a really fun read.
Recommended for grades 6 and up.