Jemima Small Versus the Universe

Jemima Small Versus the Universe

Jemima Small Versus the Universe
Tamsin Winter

Usborne Publishing Ltd

ISBN 9781474927284

Jemima Small is funny and smart. She knows a lot of things. Like the fact that she's made of 206 bones, over 600 muscles and trillions of cells. What she doesn't know is how that can be true and yet she can still sometimes feel like nothing... Or how being made to join the school's "special" healthy lifestyle group - aka Fat Club - could feel any less special. But Jemima also knows that the biggest stars in the universe are the brightest. And maybe it's her time to shine...

Librarian's Book choice

Jemima Small Versus the Universe is a heart-warming novel. It made me really root for Jemima. She is a warm, kind and intelligent person. She has an amazing memory, works hard in class and enjoys memorising random facts. She lives near the sea with her Dad, Auntie and Brother Jasper.

It is when trying her swimsuit on for the summer and realising that she has outgrown it that Jemima becomes more body conscious. Jemima Small gets bullied at school for being big and of course her surname doesn't help matters. Lottie, in particular, is very unkind and Jemima fears that things can only get worse when she is selected to join a Healthy Lifestyle group (aka Fat Club). Can Jemima boost her self-esteem high enough so that she can compete on Brainiacs, her favourite TV show?

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Jemima Small Versus the Universe. I loved the family dynamic, the relationship with her brother and their sibling rivalry. The banter between Jemima and Jasper was very typical yet when Jemima needed support, Jasper was there to cheer her on - in French!

I would recommend this book to readers that enjoyed Wonder by R J Palacio or Big Bones by Laura Dockrill. It was told with a lot of humour and I really warmed to the characters within (apart from Lottie!) It is one of the best books about self-esteem and body image that I have read.

400 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Clair Bossons, school librarian


Reviews

Jemima Small Versus the Universe5/5

Jemima Small Versus the Universe

Tamsin Winter

Review

Jemima Small is smart, funny, clever and brave. Unfortunately for Jemima, her peers are not kind to her as her body image does not conform to the celebrity-fuelled social norm; calling her Jemima Big and making cruel and hurtful comments whenever she is within earshot.

The relationship between Jemima and her brother, Jasper, and Dad who is trying to the best he can as a single parent rings true; bickering with each other one moment and there for each other when the chips are down. Add a psychic, tarot-reading Auntie Luna, who just happens to live in a cabin in the garden, to the mix and you have a family who all in their own way want to support and encourage Jemima to have confidence in herself; to love herself; to compete in Brainiacs, the quiz show the whole family watch at home, the quiz show which Jemima usually knows all of the answers to!

I really enjoyed Jemima's journey of discovery, which is made with the encouragement of Miki, her closest friend, and a group of students who are part of the 'Healthy Lifestyle' programme implemented by the school, which Jemima is made to join. The stories they share about their experiences of not fitting in with the crowd are poignant and cause Jemima to realise that she is not alone, or on her own.

I would recommend this book to children 12-years and onwards. It is told with humour but also gives food for thought, for those who for whatever reason, feel that they don't measure up to those around them and also for those who are judgmental of others who don't conform to their idea of what is 'acceptable'.

400 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lorraine Barnes, school librarian

Reviewed by: Lorraine Barnes


Jemima Small Versus the Universe5/5

Jemima Small Versus the Universe

Tamsin Winter

Review

I was thrilled to receive a free copy of Tamsin's new book this summer - after our Book Club devoured Tamsin's first novel Being Miss Nobody last year, I couldn't wait to share the news with them about Jemima!

The novel tells the story of Jemima Small, a highly intelligent bright spark full of facts, who is battling with her weight and body image. Jemima is frequently at the mercy of her classmates and is taunted with the nickname 'Jemima Big'. Jemima is an instantly likeable character who frequently made me laugh out loud with her sarcastic, witty comments about her family. Tamsin has masterfully raised awareness of how it feels to be different, and I found Jemima's negative experiences in secondary school both eye opening and heart breaking.

I think the book will reach out to so many younger people, and hopefully help readers to feel empowered and see that everyone has their own unique strengths. The novel feels brutal and almost painful at times, and the way Jemima sees herself amongst society will ring true with so many of her readers. I loved that Tamsin has ended the book on such a positive note, with Jemima learning to slowly accept her body and not forcing herself to lose the weight and become someone else.

One of my favorite characters was Gina, who I hope will raise awareness of the lack of support in many schools for children who are struggling. It would be great for schools to have someone to deliver such a positive message about healthy lifestyle and wellbeing.

The book is great for both children and adults alike and is both inspiring and entertaining, well worth adding to your collection!

400 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Katie Bradwell, school librarian

Reviewed by: Katie Bradwell