Posted in Books

Book Review: Paul, Big, And Small by David Glen Robb

About the book

Paul Adams has always been short, but he’s an excellent rock climber. And his small size means he can hide from the bullies that prowl the halls of his high school.

Top on his list of “People to Avoid” are Conor, from his Language Arts class, Hunter, who hangs around the climbing gym, and Lily Small, who happens to be the tallest girl in school. But he might be able to be friends with a new kid from Hawaii who insists that everyone call him “Big.” He’s got a way of bringing everyone into his circle and finding the beauty in even the worst of situations.

When the three of them—Paul, Big, and Small—are assigned to the same group project, they form an unlikely friendship. And Paul realizes that maybe Lily isn’t so bad after all. He might even actually like her. And maybe even more than like her.

Paul and Lily team up for a rock-climbing competition, but when Lily is diagnosed with leukemia, Paul ends up with Conor on his team. And when Paul learns that Conor is dealing with bullies of his own—as well as some deep emotional pain—he realizes that the bullying in his school has got to stop.

Paul, Big, and Small is about the turbulent, emotional lives of young adults who are struggling with life’s challenges openly and sometimes in secret.

About the author

David Glen Robb lives in the Rocky Mountain West with his wife, two sons, and two dogs and is an avid rock climber who also coaches youth rock climbing teams. He taught high school English, art, and creative writing for eleven years before deciding to pursue writing full time.


A copy of the book was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


The characters were brilliantly developed. Each character had a unique personality, and were portrayed as if a real movie was playing in your head as you read. The characters really helped bring this book to life.

Plot & Writing

I thought the plot was nicely put together and everything flowed really well. All of the various themes brought up were tied together deftly with the element of rock climbing. The writing was both realistic and expressive, which is something I value a lot in a YA book.

This novel did a great job capturing many of the emotions teens undergo, and presenting ways to look at life as a teen. From family struggles, mental health, and bullying, to looking at the simple things that make life beautiful, we are reminded of the complexity of life and the importance of coming together and building relationships in order to appreciate the most out of life.


The start of the book was a little bit slow, although it took off much better afterwards. As well, I think that the way the characters and atmosphere was portrayed slightly leaned towards a middle school feel rather than a high school one.

This book most definitely has 5 star potential. If there was a little bit more of an emotional kick to tug at my heartstrings and spill some tears, it could definitely level up to a 5. I would have liked to see more tension built up, so the reader would be holding on to their seat as they read through certain scenes. I think that would have added more power to significant events in the story. Although there were some instances that tipped a little to the “cliche” side, I think the writing was executed in a way that made it seem unique to the story and way beyond a plain cliche.


This was a refreshing read. There are so many books in the YA genre, but none as needed as this one. I highly, highly recommend it to all teens out there. Take a moment to just absorb the story after you read it. This story is truly, as Big would say, “beautiful.”

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Paul, Big, And Small by David Glen Robb

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