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The Size of the Truth

(Sam Abernathy #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  326 ratings  ·  107 reviews
A boy who spent three days trapped in a well tries to overcome his PTSD and claustrophobia so he can fulfill his dream of becoming a famous chef.

When he was four years old, Sam Abernathy was trapped at the bottom of a well for three days, where he was teased by a smart-aleck armadillo named Bartleby. Since then, his parents plan every move he makes.

But Sam doesn’t like the
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published March 26th 2019 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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I (excuse me) hated sixth grade. So I was hesitant to read a book about Sam, who, "during the first week of sixth grade at Dick Dowling Middle School, they brought me in for tests, and then they brought me in for tests again, and again after that, until I found myself in eighth grade, surrounded by giants and talking monsters with acne."

I (excuse me) can't think of anything worse, unless it's One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes.

But my friend Emily wrote an irresistible little review (here), so I
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids, 2019
What a sweet, bizarre little book. It was the perfect thing for me to take a day and read as a break from a long series reread I’ve been doing. I adore Sam Abernathy, and I hope the fact that this is numbered on Goodreads means there will be more books about him.
Andrew Smith has such an unusual way of approaching stories about growing up and dealing with trauma. His writing is imaginative, moving, and laugh-out-loud funny. Every time I saw (excuse me)in this book, it was timed perfectly to star
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the great advantages of being a long-time bookseller is that sometimes you get really early peeks at books you're looking forward to. The downside is that you can't really talk about them except to say "Yup. I read that." This is one of those.

EDIT 07/30/2018:

Official ARCs are out in the world, so I can actually talk about this a bit now. And I'm going to be lazy and pretty much just share whole cloth what I sent to Andrew Smith and the good folks at Simon & Schuster after I'd read it:

May 07, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Make no mistake: The Size of the Truth is a bizarre novel, as per usual for Andrew Smith. Certain phrases are repeated ad nauseam, it's difficult to tell whether the story ultimately makes sense, and the characters are a mix of neurotic personalities and hackneyed stereotypes. The fact that this is a middle-grade rather than YA novel, though, restrains Andrew Smith's wilder impulses; he avoids gratuitous grossness and nasty language, and the story promotes real values. Eleven-year-old Sam Aberna ...more
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Sam has some unusual characteristics. He's small for his age, especially since his parents had him moved ahead to 8th grade at the beginning of 6th.; His father seems to think he will go to MIT and be a famous scientist, but Sam just wants to cook. His family runs Lily Putt, a putt putt golf course, where he and his father often hand out wearing kilts, not usual garb for Texas. He was also "the boy in the well" and the community has not forgotten that when he was
Jul 01, 2016 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2019

Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is entirely too much to think about in this (excuse me) "children's book."
Samantha (WLABB)
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
When Sam was four years old, he spent three days trapped in an abandoned well. From that day forward, he promised himself, that he would never worry or disappoint his parents again. As he grew older, he found that promise harder and harder to keep, as his parents' and his idea of his future began to diverge.

I don't think anyone understands how excited I was to see that Sam was getting his own series. I met Sam in Stand-off, and was eager to read more about young Sam's life. As expected, Smith d
I mean.....I am just completely incapable of rating an Andrew Smith book less than five stars. It just can't be done. By me. Although I will admit that I wasn't sure how he would do with a middle grade book, since his YA books seem so upper YA, you know? Guess what! He did great with it!

This is Sam Abernathy's book, before he ends up as Ryan Dean West's roommate, and both during and after his eventful three-day stay at the bottom of a well. Sam's adventures in the well are appropriately weird,
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
“It made me sad to think how all of a sudden, at eleven years old, I had forced my father to confront the reality that I had formed my own ideas about the way things should work out for me, even if I might make mistakes trying.”

Andrew Smith is so (excuse me) weird. And quirky. And hilarious. But no one else writes quite like him and I am so thankful he took a dive into middle grade. As he says in his acknowledgments, “Who doesn’t like Sam Abernathy?” The answer is no one. Sam is the perfect char
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Weird and wonderful.
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was at first unsure how Andrew Smith’s awesome storytelling would translate to a MG novel, but oh my gosh. I think this might be my favorite MarburyJack book yet. ♥️
The Bookish Austin
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story!

Here's a link to my review:
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Edelweiss+ provided me a DRC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love everything Andrew Smith...his hilarious, hard-hitting realistic fiction and his quirky, crazy, not-for-everyone science fiction. This is his first middle grade offering, and it's kind of a mix of the two.

The story follows Sam Abernathy (yes...THAT Sam Abernathy...from Stand-Off) as he skips two grades, with overbearing parents, struggles with claustrophobia, and tries to escape his "The Boy in the Well" reputation
Karen McKenna
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first Andrew Smith book, and I was intrigued by the off-the-wall writing. It was quirky, unexpected, but so human. I loved the surprising twists Sam and James' characters take in the story. I understood the human dynamic of Sam's parents. After Sam falls into a well at the age of 4, his parents are determined to plan every second of his successful future. The problem is, they don't ask what he wants. Sam has to learn to stand up for himself and accept his own uncertain future. I thoug ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was just recently gifted an ARC of The Size of the Truth from Andrew Smith himself! I read it over the last couple days and I am thrilled to get some of Sam Abernathy's backstory! Fans of Andrew Smith know Sam from his YA book Winger and this book, intended for middle grade audiences is everything you would expect from an Andrew Smith book (minus the curses, though you will find yourself substituting your own curse words every time Sam says/thinks "Excuse me"-which makes the book even more fun ...more
Ella Schwartz
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge Andrew Smith YA fan. I will admit I picked up this MG, Andrew's first foray into writing for this age group, thinking "let's see if he can pull off writing for a younger audience." And I can say he pulled it off and then some. The Size of the Truth has the same hilarity and personality as many of Andrew's YA books, but with no swear words! And like Andrew's YA there is a bit of crazy (talking armadillos?). I loved this endearing story. I wish I could have had best friends like Sam and ...more
Becky Carleton
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Narrated by a lovable, relatable 11-year-old outcast named Sam Abernathy, this novel walks a tightrope line between realistic and surreal. Talking armadillo unicorns, Grammy-winning gospel songs, survivalist kilt-wearing father-son camping trips, awkward middle-school dances, imaginary friends, real friends, obnoxious gym teachers, and tween culinary dreams featuring fancy Mac n cheese are just a few of the details mixed together to make this seriously hilarious journey worth the trip. Read-alik ...more
Kate Crabtree
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved Winger, Stand-off, and Sam/Snackpack. Thus, I was thrilled to read this, even though I just about never read middle grade lit. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the aforementioned novels. While Sam was great in this book, I think I enjoyed reading about Sam from Ryan’s point of view even more. James is an absolutely fantastic, progressive character and I need more of him, stat.
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A boy falls down a well. A boy gets accelerated 2 years in middle school. A boy tries to avoid holes, and to avoid dissappointing people.

What a wonderful book!
I cried on the beach.
No regrets.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is (excuse me) beautiful.
I love this, it's just so Andrew Smith!

Having read every book by Smith, I love how we see the same quirky writing, long sentences (I know, some people won't like this but I do) and over all feelings, but set to a middle grade backdrop. Basically there's no swearing and it isn't harrowing XD

This book makes me want to reread Stand Off because Sam

Bartleby is a massive troll and I live

One of my favourite parts of this book is how Sam describes a guy in his class as a murderer, it's just so excessi
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good. I haven’t heard a middle grade title in a while, and this was just perfect. The story is about Sam, who fell down a well when he was 4. That should be the worst thing that happens to him, right? Nah. He still has middle school.

The voices of the kids in this book are perfect. Sam is so precious. James Jenkins the not-so-bully is so perfectly described. Bartleby the unicorn armadillo might be the best armadillo voice I have ever read.

I haven’t read any other books by Andre
Remember when I read this book the first time and said that it's not one of my favorites yet, but that maybe it would be once I read it again? I decided to listen to the audiobook, and yeah, that happened. Just as I suspected!

I wasn't quite sure what to make of the audiobook narrator at first. Sam's 11, and I spent a ridiculous amount of time pondering whether it's weird to have a full-grown man reading a book from the point of view of an 11-year-old kid. Would it be less weird if it was narrat
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I'll gladly pick up anything with Andrew Smith's name on it, and Smith's first foray into middle-grade fiction was no exception. Learning about Sam Abernathy's backstory made for a good read, though I wish some parts of the story weren't so speculative. Also, I'd love to read more about James Jenkins. An enjoyable read, but it didn't pack as big of a punch as some of Smith's other works.
Anne Martin
Feb 14, 2016 rated it did not like it
Why is this maybe-maybe not book listed here? No one knows if it even exists! Amazon certainly does not know more than I do. And though I am sure Andrew Smith will write more books, what do you get from a third part of Winger, which could be about middle-school, or a spin-off, or about another character.
And so far -not surprising as we know nothing- the book does not have a title, nor a tilt. So it is untitlted. Copied from the top of this page...
No comments.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first Andrew Smith read and I am underwhelmed. Sam and James are both likable and the way their friendship develops is my favorite part of the story. What is with Bartleby the armadillo, though? Why does four-year-old Sam seem more like a preteen than a preschooler? And those (excuse me) stupid asides before every word that is questionable. Too much!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Such a fantastic story! I loved learning more about Sam Abernathy and meeting James Jenkins.

I will read anything Andrew Smith writes because he is a masterful storyteller. This foray into middle grades fiction will surely not be his (excuse me) last.
Remember Sam Abernathy from STAND OFF? Yep. THE SIZE OF THE TRUTH is about THAT Sam Abernathy. And it's as wonderful and lovable and endearing as you would expect it to be. Longer review to come closer to publication date.
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Andrew Smith is the author of Winger, Grasshopper Jungle, The Alex Crow, 100 Sideways Miles, and Rabbit & Robot, among others. Exile from Eden: Or, After the Hole, the long-awaited sequel to Grasshopper Jungle, is coming from Simon & Schuster on September 24, 2019. ...more

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