Lucy the Giant

Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers Publication Date: February 12, 2002 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 12, 2002
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Paperback: 224 pages

Lucy Otswego is a big girl who towers over just about everyone and everything in her small Alaskan town-except for her father’s reputation as a mean drunk. At fifteen, Lucy runs away from the cruel classmates who see her only as the Giant, the neighboring adults who pity her, and the abusive father whose fleeting attention is worse than his indifference.

When the crew of a crabbing boat assumes she’s much older than she is and invites her to sign on for the season, she jumps at the chance to escape her teenage life. Buoyed by the camaraderie of her unwitting shipmates and the thrilling dangers of her new world, Lucy quickly masters the mind-numbing cold and the back-breaking work.

Lucy the Giant faces life on her own terms, not as an oversized teen, but as a powerful adult. But in her masquerade, she learns that there are no shortcuts to growing up.

“They say your entire life flashes before your eyes when you are drowning.”


“A tantalizing prologue introduces us to a narrator reflecting on her life while drowning in the Bering Sea. Mixed with riveting descriptions of the extreme cold and harrowing storms at sea are warming human interactions.”

– The Horn Book Magazine, Starred

“A quirky and largely successful melding of fairy-tale happenstance with survival adventure. . . . [Lucy] should win many cheering fans.”

– The Bulletin, Recommended

“Fast-paced and poignant… [Lucy’s] struggles–both physical and emotional–are authentic and beautifully portrayed…We hope this is only the first of many novels from this gifted new author.”

– Review

“Lucy, the 15-year-old heroine of this bittersweet debut novel… with compelling descriptions of the harrowing storms at sea, backbreaking yet satisfying work on board and the heroine’s deepening friendships with several crew members….her first-person narration is affecting.”

– Publishers Weekly

“Fast paced and emotionally resonant, this novel will be easy to booktalk and to get into appreciative hands.

– School Library Journal

“ Smith’s sympathetic characters and her vivid detailing of the Alaskan setting and crabbing life seem authentic. They are the strength of this absorbing first novel.”

– Booklist, Michael Cart


  • American Library Association Best Books for Young People 2003

  • American Library Association Amelia Bloomer Selection

  • New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age 2003

  • Junior Library Guild Selection 2002

  • Cleveland Public Library Celebrate With Books Selection 2002

  • Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year 2003

  • De Gouden Zoen Honorable Mention, CPNB, Netherlands, for Dutch translation 2005

  • Book Sense 76 Pick