This was another read chosen for briskness while supervising the octolet at the library, and I read it in one sitting (possibly while hiding from said child while my mother watched him). I quite liked it, but I have to remember to grade young adult novels on a curve (which is not to say that they can’t rank up there with literature written for adults, but it’s not fair to expect a book written for younger readers to necessarily appeal to older ones).
The beginning was so strong that I really wanted it to end as well as it started – our protagonist Will is short of stature, under five feet tall at age 16. His taller stepbrother Drew and he befriend an adventurous girl, Monica, who they both inevitably develop feelings for. Will’s plan to confess as much is thwarted by her patting his head, a move that he reads as patronizing, compounded by his later finding her kissing Drew. Will attributes all of this to his height, and defeated, he measures himself… only to find out he’s getting taller.
I was hooked, particularly because Brown writes Will as having a sense of humor about his plight, but unfortunately the book goes for the “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely” path. Will turns into a bit of a jerk with his newfound height, and ultimately doesn’t mature as fast as he grows, so to speak. The love triangle is sort of left unresolved, but I was pretty pleased that the author doesn’t let Will get away with attributing all his problems to his height. I just think the book would have been stronger with Will staying short – his coming to terms with his personality flaws would have meant more if he didn’t reveal them only with power – a side character shows that the powerless can be just as damaging, but it would have meant more from the one the reader is most invested in.