Rachel DeWoskin's Big Girl Small was a case of picking a book by it's cover. I saw it sitting on the shelf at Vroman's Bookstore and without reading the synopsis, I took a leap of faith and bought it.
The central character of the story is Judy Lohden, a high school student at a local Arts high school. Judy's high school was nearly identical to arts high school that I graduated from in the mid 90's. DeWoskin even had a character that had the same name as one of the teachers at my high school, Gary Sorensen. Unbelievably, when I read DeWoskin's author bio, she had not attended my school, but an arts school in a different state. The similarities are staggering.
Besides her incredible singing voice, Judy is also set apart from the crowd by her diminutive stature. She is a little person struggling to not only prove herself via her talent, but fit in with her peers. Judy is a great character, funny and imperfect. DeWoskin did a great job at writing Judy as an ordinary teenager. Judy's struggles are not over-sentimentalized and the character (also being the narrative voice) never asks to be pitied. This makes it easy to love her and to root for her to win, even when she is making terrible choices. This book is filled with cringe worthy moments.
All of the characters in the book feel very organic. So much so, that it often feels slice of life and is paced a bit slow, especially in the final third of the story. This is my only criticism.
Overall, I very much enjoyed the story and the characters. I am excited to read more stories by this author.