Book Review: Larger-Than-Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall

Title:  Larger-Than-Life Lara
Author:   Dandi Daley Mackall
Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Release Date:  November 1, 2016
Genre: Inspirational Literary Fiction / Middle Grade

This isn’t about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up. At least that’s what Mrs. Smith, our English teacher, says.

But the story is about ten-year-old Laney Grafton and the new girl in her class—Lara Phelps, whom everyone bullies from the minute she shows up. Laney is just relieved to have someone else as a target of bullying. But instead of acting the way a bullied kid normally acts, this new girl returns kindness for a meanness that intensifies . . . until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader.

In a unique and multi-layered story, with equal parts humor and angst, Laney communicates the art of storytelling as it happens, with chapter headings, such as: Character, Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax. And…

Larger-than-Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall is a book about bullying. Yes. That's it. Of course in every story, there's more to it than a simple word, but in this case, the main objective is that. It's written in the perspective of a 10 year old. Grammar and sentence structure may be questionable, but based on what the author is trying to achieve in authenticity of a 10 year old's  narration, it's successful.  Larger-Than-Life Lara is a good story. It's good despite all the minor qualms I have with it. It's good simply because it focused on one social issue (bullying) and was able to deliver the impact it has on kids and others.  There are other issues from other characters that lurks in the background, but the author doesn't dive into it, but remain focus on Lara and bullying.  True, we meet Laney, our narrator and does get to know a little more about her, but even Laney narrates and says this story is about Lara.  There are some realistic elements in Larger-Than-Life Lara and definitely a great story to read with kids and discuss the ramifications of the actions in the book. Again, I would not dwell too much on grammar and writing, but focus on the theme at hand.  It's profound, simple and worth a read, especially if parents would like a starting point to discuss this social epidemic.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Dandi Daley Mackall is the award-winning author of over 450 books for children and adults. She visits countless schools, conducts writing assemblies and workshops across the United States, and presents keynote addresses at conferences and young author events. She is also a frequent guest on radio talk shows and has made dozens of appearances on TV. She has won several awards for her writing, including the Helen Keating Ott Award for Contributions to Children's Literature, the Edgar Award, and a two-time Mom's Choice Award winner.
Dandi writes from rural Ohio, where she lives with her husband, Joe, their three children, and their horses, dogs, and cats. Visit her at and




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