DeWoskin (Repeat After Me, 2009, etc.) combines two reality-TV staples—teenage sex scandals and little people—in this story about a gifted high-school junior whose struggle to fit in is compounded by her height (3’9”).
Judy—short but a gifted writer with a huge singing voice—has just transferred from public high school to Ann Arbor’s elite Darcy Arts Academy. She’s not sure if the popular Darcy kids—beautiful, seemingly friendly Ginger in particular—are mean girls and mindless hunks or just adolescently neurotic, but Judy quickly makes two genuine if nerdy friends. She also develops an immediate crush on Jeff, who moved to town only a year ago and seems nicer than the other kids in his crowd. Soon after he talks to Judy flirtingly at a Halloween party, Ginger comes over to Judy’s house and warns her that Darcy boys can’t be trusted. But when Jeff offers Judy a ride home one day shortly before Thanksgiving, she can’t believe her luck. They have sex. She’s sure she is in love although he does not treat her like a girlfriend in public, so she doesn’t tell anyone. They continue to have occasional sex until the February night he asks her over and tells her about causing his younger sister’s death when he was drunk. They end up drinking with two of his friends. Judy wakes up at his house the next morning naked, with no memory of what happened. Soon enough she learns that a tape is circulating at the school showing her having sex with all three boys. Because of her height, she is considered “handicapped,” and everyone considers her a tragic victim, making her humiliation worse. She tells her story while hiding in a seedy motel until she is ready to return home to her loving family and friends.
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.