Title: Big Girl Small
Author: Rachel DeWoskin
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Goodreads Rating: 3.42 stars
Review: Sixteen-year-old Judy is not your average girl, with her incredible singing talent and sarcastic exterior yet vulnerable interior, and you'd expect her to be shaking the auditorium at Darcy Academy, the local performing arts school. But instead she's hiding out from the media in a hotel room because of a scandal - one made worse by the fact that she's three feet, nine inches tall.
Rachel DeWoskin introduces a concept not often seen in YA fiction in BIG GIRL SMALL: dwarfism. Of course most of us have heard of this affliction but unless you have some manner of first-hand experience with it, it's difficult to truly understand what it's like. That's why I loved that the author chose to highlight this issue in her book, because it brought an interesting perspective to something infrequently discussed.
At the same time, I was grateful that the author didn't make it the focus of the book. "Disability books" too often either nearly completely ignore the disability in question or devote far too much plot space to it. I felt this novel struck the perfect balance. Judy's struggles with it were certainly detailed but at the same time, she was presented as a believable teenage girl with the same sorts of problems most teenage girls deal with (boys, friends, etc.).
This read goes pretty quickly because of the fantastic voice used to narrate the novel. Judy was both funny and heartfelt, and reading just the first few pages makes you instantly connect and relate to her as a character. She feels honest, about to come to life on the pages, and makes the 304 pages of this book go very, very fast.
All in all, BIG GIRL SMALL is a read I was pleasantly surprised by. From a brilliant cast of characters to a well-done handling of the issue of dwarfism, this book does not disappoint. I would not hesitate to recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read a contemporary different from what you usually see marching the shelves of a young adult section.