cover image Big Girl Small

Big Girl Small

Rachel DeWoskin, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-11257-8

DeWoskin's daring third book (and second novel after Repeat After Me) takes on sexual politics, physical beauty, pity, and violence, and succeeds in giving readers a nuanced and provocative treatment without descending into pedantics or hysteria. Bright and sardonic Judy Lohden, a 16-year-old dwarf freshly enrolled in Ann Arbor's Darcy Arts Academy, falls victim to "the worst Steven King Carrie prank in the history of dating" at the hands of popular boy Jeff Legassic, who becomes an object of desire as soon as he and Judy meet cute the first week of school. The book opens with Judy hiding out in a seedy motel; throughout the novel, she slowly unveils her secret and reveals her two visions of herself—that of a pretty teenage girl with an hourglass figure who happens to be three feet nine inches tall, and that of a sideshow attraction. 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. (Apr.)