Rachel DeWoskin offers up a coming-of-age novel narrated by a creative, talented teenager who transitions into attending a performing arts school. Big Girl Small is also about teen sex and privacy issues in a world of ubiquitous video cameras and smartphones. Judy’s voice is smart and funny, even as she faces some dark days.
DEWOSKIN, Rachel. Big Girl Small. 292p. Farrar. 2011. Tr $25. ISBN 978-0-374-11257-8. LC number unavailable.
Adult/High School–Something terrible has happened to 16-year-old Judy Lohden. She’s holed up at the Motel Manor, hiding from her loving family and friends because what has happened is so awful that she is certain she’s ruined their lives. Judy proceeds to tell her story, beginning with the moment her father’s sperm joined her mother’s egg and produced Judy, a Little Person. A dwarf. She has always battled the world because of her differentness, but never before had to live in shame. Life changed suddenly several months earlier when she began her junior year at D’Arts, a performing arts school. For one thing, her dazzling singing voice earned her the rare honor of placement in the prestigious Senior Voice class. For another, she fell madly in love with beautiful yet enigmatic Jeff. Deep down Judy knew that losing her virginity to a guy who barely spoke to her at school was a bad idea, especially when that guy was constantly recording everything with his video camera. DeWoskin gives Judy the biting honesty of a person who is regarded by mainstream society as an oddity, combined with the heart-wrenching naiveté of a sheltered teen. She relates her story in a rush of caustic observations, wishful interpretations, and belated realizations, sweeping readers toward the final revelations, which, of course, readers have suspected all along. Once teens dive into the swift-moving flow of Judy’s narration, they will be caught until the final resolution.–Diane Colson, New Port Richey Library, FL