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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,362 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rachel DeWoskin Narrator: Tai Sammons Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9781470802868
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Judy Lohden is your above-average sixteen-year-old: sarcastic and vulnerable, talented and uncertain, full of big dreams for a big future. With a singing voice that can shake an auditorium, she should be the star of Darcy Arts Academy, the local performing arts high school. So why is a girl this promising hiding out in a seedy motel room on the edge of town?

The fact that the national media is on her trail after a controversy that might bring down the whole school could have something to do with it. And that scandal has something—but not everything—to do with the fact that Judy is three feet nine inches tall.

Rachel DeWoskin remembers everything about high school: the auditions (painful), the parents (hovering), the dissection projects (compelling), the friends (outcasts), the boys (crushable), and the girls (complicated), and she lays it all out with a wit and wistfulness that is half Holden Caulfield, half Lee Fiora, Prep’s ironic heroine. Big Girl Small is a scathingly funny and moving book about dreams and reality, at once light on its feet and unwaveringly serious.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “I loved reading Big Girl Small as much as I loved watching The Breakfast Club for the first time. Is Rachel DeWoskin our new John Hughes?”

    Isabel Gillies, New York Times bestselling author of Happens Every Day

  • “The voice of Judy Lohden will ring in my head for weeks to come. A first page so funny and fierce I read it aloud to my teenagers—in public…Judy Lohden speaks for all young people facing the unspeakable ignorance of others. Yet Rachel DeWoskin handles the story with the sensitivity of a scalpel and a humor that leaves the reader howling. I was delighted and moved.”

    Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

  • “Daring…It’s a rare author who is willing to subject her protagonist to the extreme ranges of degradation and redemption to which DeWoskin subjects Judy; thankfully, she manages it beautifully.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The layering in of what it feels like to be seen as disabled gives an old story line new depth. Sure to appeal to fans of coming-of-age fiction and readers who enjoyed DeWoskin’s acclaimed memoir, Foreign Babes in Beijing, and her debut novel, Repeat after Me.”

    Library Journal

  • “DeWoskin deftly captures the often vicious dynamics of adolescents, which mask their fragility, and creates in Judy an unforgettable character, one who is, by turns, sardonic and heartbreakingly vulnerable.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “DeWoskin creates a compelling voice for Judy and performs neat literary magic, confronting the stereotypes of teen fiction even as she uses them to pull the readers’ heartstrings.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Big Girl Small is the most engaging novel I’ve read in many years. DeWoskin has aimed the book at all the pleasure centers: it’s sad, funny, quirkily suspenseful, and—most of all—beautiful. I can’t imagine a more satisfying read. A book for anyone, anywhere, who’s ever felt alien or different. That is, a book for everyone.”

    Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng

  • “Witty, intuitive, and moving, Big Girl Small examines the crucial moment when we either listen to what the world says and stay small, or dare to sing out at the top of our lungs.”

    Nicola Keegan, author of Swimming

  • Winner of the 2012 YALSA Alex Award
  • One of Newsday’s Favorite Books of the Year in 2011

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Margi | 1/31/2014

    " An interesting book about the trials of high school, but with an added twist. Judy is a " little person" who has her own struggles in school and life. Then something goes terribly wrong and things go downhill for Judy very quickly. A great story about true friends and the length that some will go to for you. It is also a tale of things that can go so terribly wrong before we even know what is happening. It is nice to see that Judy stands tall through it all and the perpetrators are dealt with in a realistic way. The book deals with many high school issues in a realistic way. Would generate good discussions for book groups. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alexei | 1/25/2014

    " I found that the whole book was just one long prologue. It talked too much about Judy's past and not enough about what was currently going on. I felt it was a book on just teenage drama, and I get enough of that! The only thing that makes this book unique, is that the protagonist was a "Little Person". Otherwise, It was just a book on re-living the shitty parts of High School. I gave it 2 stars because it was a little interesting, until it just dragged on. I also found that her being a "Little Person" didn't add much to the story but a few more pages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lani | 1/21/2014

    " Very well written. I really enjoyed Judy's voice. The story was difficult to take at times, but interesting real characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kristy | 1/12/2014

    " Well written, but not recommended. Questionable content... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Holli | 12/23/2013

    " This book is really well written, with beautiful prose and a story that kept me wondering what would happen next. I really empathized with Judy, in all her teenage confusion and thought Rachel DeWoskin did a wonderful job telling a painful story and making it unique. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marcia A | 12/20/2013

    " The story was a little sad, about a high school girl who is a dwarf (has dwarfism?), but it was a fairly good novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alicia Duell | 12/13/2013

    " I seem to gravitate to novels in which the main character(s) has a physical deformity of some kind: *A Prayer for Owen Meany* (very short stature, odd voice); *Stones From the River* (dwarf); *The Girls* (conjoined twins); and now *Big Girl Small* (Little Person). Maybe it's because these characters have been developed with such skill, and with such depth, and each have been portrayed with such unique perspectives on life. In *Big Girl Small*, Judy Lohden is a teenage Little Person who has the type of dwarfism that allows for a still-proportionate body, without the enlarged head. She describes herself as "cute", with a pretty good body, and has been blessed with an amazing singing voice. Her parents have allowed her, because of this voice, to enroll into a competitive performing arts academy. Judy has all of the typical teenage "new kid in school" misgivings, but eventually finds a group of friends and eventually develops a major crush on the hottest guy in school. What I loved about this novel is that Judy pays only cursory attention to her Little Person status and gives herself every opportunity for success and happiness as any other high school kid. The crush on Jeff, then, is just another normal high school experience. A normal high school experience, that is, until Judy's dream comes true and Jeff begins to pay attention to her in a romantic way. What happens to Judy as her relationship with Jeff develops and morphs into something horrible-yet-not-all-that-unrealistic becomes the crux of the novel. Judy tells her story from the aftermath of the major incident in the novel and recounts the events leading up to it. I loved Judy's voice, and loved the fabulously fresh character she is. I also liked the adults in the novel (a rarity for me in novels in which teenagers are the lead characters), and especially loved DeWoskin's absolutely HILARIOUS writing style. I didn't love the ending, but it would have been a tough one to stick with a perfect 10.0. I highly recommend *Big Girl Small* to any and all who enjoy a unique character with a great, big voice! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 12/4/2013

    " This book was different, but I really liked it. I will admit I had a hard time in the beginning, and sometimes the protagonist is a bit whiny, but she is a high school student. It's worth the read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cynthia | 12/4/2013

    " Seems like teen literature... This is the story of a little person (dwarf)which reads like the choices available to any other teen. Disturbing sexual images. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tina | 12/4/2013

    " amazing YA read! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carole Hildebrandt | 11/30/2013

    " I felt like I forced myself to read 180 pages until the book went somewhere other than the talking inside her head. . . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 11/6/2013

    " I don't know.... It sounded good in theory, but it was just uncomfortable. And not the good, making you think and dig deep kind of weird. Just wtf weird. Bleh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 10/21/2013

    " Alex Award winner. Really interesting story about a teenager who is a dwarf. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dona | 5/18/2013

    " I think this was one of the more "smartly" written books I've read in a long time. The writing was amazing. The characters were so real they almost jumped off the pages. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn Trlak-Donahue | 12/7/2012

    " I have enjoyed every book of hers so far. I think she did an awesome job of capturing the angst and uncertainty of high school and though I am no expert on dwarves, her take on that seem very believable, as well. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody Marie | 12/3/2012

    " Great book! Though the end was maybe a little too tidy and convenient. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ms. B | 8/30/2012

    " Engrossing read for older teens (and adults!). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 11/10/2011

    " Interesting narrative structure, deft use of foreshadowing and a really beautifully drawn protagonist. Compelling reading. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Allison | 7/7/2011

    " I couldn't get past 17% of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shannon Donovan | 7/4/2011

    " I loved the girl's voice in this book. She was spot on as an angsty teen! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody | 5/17/2011

    " Great book! Though the end was maybe a little too tidy and convenient. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl | 5/13/2011

    " This story kept me turning the pages. I enjoyed the narrative perspective and was thrilled at Judy's intelligence and insight. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Shawn | 5/13/2011

    " Ugh. Not for me. Only finished because I hate not finishing a book I start. Don't even know how to characterize this one, just high school drama from a female little person POV. Weird. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 4/5/2011

    " Amazing adult/ ya cross-over. Judy might be a little person, but she's got big ambitions and a sarcastic wit that I'd love to have. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 1/14/2011

    " I was really distracted by how hard the author was trying to place her novel in Ann Arbor. Srsly, every other paragraph in the stream of consciousness prose was a list of places the characters were going to, coming from, or just name-dropping for no good reason. "

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About the Author
Author Rachel DeWoskin

Rachel DeWoskin spent her twenties in China as a consultant, writer, and the unlikely star of a nighttime soap opera called Foreign Babes in Beijing. Her memoir of those years, Foreign Babes in Beijing, has been published in six countries and is being developed as a television series by HBO. Her novel Repeat After Me, about a young American ESL teacher, a troubled Chinese radical, and their unexpected New York romance, won a Foreward Magazine Book of the Year award. Rachel has a BA in English from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. She divides her time between New York City, Chicago, and Beijing with her husband, playwright Zayd Dohrn, and their two little girls.

About the Narrator

Tai Sammons earned her degree in theater from Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where she worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This award-winning actress currently resides upstate in Portland, with her beloved black pug, Oscar.