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4.2 17
by Julie Murphy

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#1 New York Times Bestseller

For fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Sarah Dessen comes this powerful novel with a fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable


#1 New York Times Bestseller

For fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Sarah Dessen comes this powerful novel with a fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine, Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked...until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 06/01/2015
About the only thing Clover City has going for it is its beauty pageant, the oldest in Texas. It’s run by Willowdean Dickson’s mother—a former winner—who has a hard time with the reality that Willowdean, a self-described “fat girl,” will never be a beauty queen. Willowdean is okay with her size, mostly, but with 10th grade ending and her best friend considering having sex with her boyfriend, Willowdean feels like she is being left on the wrong side of the experience divide. An unexpected kiss with Bo, her handsome fast-food restaurant coworker, is thrilling, but she’s also horrified at the idea of him touching her anywhere there is extra flesh. And that very reaction horrifies her, too; she thought she was at peace with herself. Murphy (Side Effects May Vary) successfully makes every piece of the story—Dolly Parton superfans, first love, best-friend problems, an unlikely group of pageant entrants, female solidarity, self-acceptance, and Willowdean’s complicated relationship with the mother who nicknamed her “Dumplin’ ”—count, weaving them together to create a harmonious, humorous, and thought-provoking whole. Ages 13–up. Agent: Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.)
VOYA, August 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 3) - Amy Cummins
In a small Texas town, Willowdean and her mother are still recovering from the death of Willowdean’s aunt a year ago. Lucy was like a second parent to Willowdean. In this revolutionary summer and autumn, Willowdean gains new friends, has her first kiss(es), evaluates whether to date Bo or Mitch (or both), and almost loses her best friend Ellen. Willowdean develops a better understanding of her mother, who lives for her role coordinating the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Beauty Pageant and fixates on body issues, such as fitting into the dress she wore when she won the pageant. Through the years, this pageant has created a chasm between mother and daughter since Willowdean knows how much her mother is disappointed in Willowdean’s larger size. After Willowdean decides to compete in the pageant, her example inspires classmates who do not fit a typical pageant image to participate. The book portrays and challenges stereotypes about beauty pageants, size issues, and women’s concerns. Dumplin’ wonderfully demonstrates that gender is all about performance and that even people who accept themselves endure bullying and doubt. A great moment is when Willowdean and her new friends drive several hours to attend a Dolly Parton event that turns out to be a drag show. They make friends who remember Willowdean’s aunt fondly and who help the young women prepare for their pageant. The pageant has powerful moments, such as when two contestants have women, rather than men, escorts, and when Willowdean changes her talent to sing her favorite song “Jolene” instead. If readers do not already admire Dolly Parton before reading this novel, they might go listen to her music after reading Dumplin’. Reviewer: Amy Cummins; Ages 15 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
In a small Texas town, a confident fat girl confronts new challenges to her self-esteem. At age 16, Willowdean—her mother calls her Dumplin'—has a good sense of herself. She's uninterested in Mom's raison d'être, the Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant, which annually takes over the town and Will's own house. Mom won once and now runs the pageant, dieting to fit her old dress and pressuring Will to diet too. Will doesn't. She mourns her beloved aunt Lucy, a second parent to her who died six months ago, and simmers with pleasure over a new, hot, sort-of-boyfriend. However, his touch makes Will panic with newfound insecurity. She loses him, loses her old best friend, gains new social-outsider buddies (a familiar trope)—and finds triumph somewhere amid Dolly Parton, drag queens, breaking pageant rules, and repairing relationships. The text refreshingly asserts that thinness is no requirement for doing and deserving good things, that weight loss isn't a cure-all, and that dieting doesn't work anyway. The plot arc, amazingly, avoids the all-too-common pitfall of having its fat protagonist lose weight. Unfortunately, Murphy loses her step and undermines her main point in the mournful, cringeworthy details of Lucy's death and life, which are blamed on extreme fatness rather than unfairness. In the end, it's more liberating than oppressive, with bits of humor and a jubilant pageant takeover by beauty rebels to crown this unusual book about a fat character. (Fiction. 13-16)
Booklist (starred review)
“Will’s singular voice compels readers to think about all that goes into building-and destroying-self-esteem...Splendid”
Katie Cotugno
“I’m obsessed with this book. Wickedly funny, heartbreakingly real, full of characters to love and cheer for. DUMPLIN’ is such a star.”
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Alice and Harvey’s relationship is raw, honest, moving, and unapologetic in its depiction of their individual, and collective, pain.”
John Corey Whaley
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Julie Murphy weaves together a tender and funny tale of love, friendship, heartache, and redemption. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY explodes with brutal honesty, brilliant wit, and unflinching heart.”
Siobhan Vivian
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a funny, heartfelt, honest look at the beauty and the risk of getting a second chance. An inspiring novel about all the things worth living for. I adored this debut!”
Jennifer Echols
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “A funny and touching novel about a strong-willed heroine who finds facing death simple, but facing life heart-wrenchingly complicated. A real original.”
Teen Vogue
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “A tale of unlikely romance, impossible obstacles, and mortality, this book is a must-read.”-
Seventeen Magazine
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “It’s equal parts fun, cringe-worthy, and totally fearless!”
The Horn Book
“Genuine, romantic, and with a dash of Texan charm, this is a novel that celebrates being who you are while also acknowledging that it’s incredibly difficult to do.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“[A] richly enjoyable novel...a clever and funny book to please lovers of thoughtful romance and secret pageant fans.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time. When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure. She is the author of Dumplin’, Side Effects May Vary, and Ramona Blue. You can visit Julie at www.juliemurphywrites.com.

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Dumplin' 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book made me laugh , cry and feel everything I felt in high school . It's a sweet yet slinky story that captivated me. Into remembering the girl I was. Love your curves , love yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely amazing!!! How often do all of us stand in the way of our own happiness? We dream, we hope we’d give anything to have the desires of our hearts. And when they actually happen, when they’re within our reach all of the sudden we feel as though we’re not good enough. We give into our insecurities. We run away from the very thing we’ve always wanted. I read this book in just a matter of days and loved every moment of it. I enjoyed reading the sweet story of how Willowdean captivated not just the boy of her dreams but the boy every girl wanted to be with. All of us come in different shapes, sizes and colors and reading the story of Willowdean was a reminder that regardless of how we may appear on the outside all of us are human with feelings. We should never apologies for who we are or what our bodies look like. We all deserve our happy ending. Great book about Friendship, love, self-confidence, family and death. My only complaint, I felt the ending was a bit rushed with the pageant scene and would have liked to have had a little more between Willowdean and Bo at the end. Absolutely loved Bo!! Willowdean frustrated me at times because like most of us she started to care too much about what others would think and was standing in the way of her happiness. A MUST READ!! 4 Stars cause I wanted/need more for the ending even though it wasn't a bad ending. And I had some unanswered questions the book didn't really answer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book I so identify with. Witty, funny and utterly honest. ???
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very sweet...reminded me of my southern childhood without being too cheesy.
Calla_Walker More than 1 year ago
Really fun book. Even though I got really mad when Willowdean and Ellen got into a fight and didn't talk for 2/3 of the book. REALLY? That's what made this 3-stars instead of 4. But other than that, it was really cute and I just loved that Willowdean felt insecure about her body and then learned to accept it. Great message.
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
I received a review copy from Harper Collins Publishers! All views are entire my own. If you’re fat, it’s probably the trump card people use against you. You can’t do things that everyone else is supposed to do because you’re big built, or you actually like eating greasy fries. Maybe people can’t imagine you having a boyfriend and say it right to your face. Maybe your mother gives you the disappointed look every time you eat a cookie. Maybe you can’t say that someone wearing pink pants and a neon green top looks ridiculous because other people are judging you because they think you do. Look ridiculous, that is. “If I avert my eyes from all the kissing people ever, I’m positive that my life would be at least 2% more fulfilling.” Willowdean Dickinson would introduce herself to you as a Dolly Parton enthusiast and the resident fat girl. She lives in a tiny town known only for one thing – the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. She has one friend, she has a crush on a guy who loves red suckers and is so gorgeous she probably never stands a chance with him. She’s a lot of things, but all of them don’t matter because society at large only sees her as the fat kid. And she’s never cared. And then the guy who she likes kisses her over the summer, her best friend has sex, and everything changes. Because for the first time in her life, she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. Because the thought of him touching her love handles and seeing her exposed like that while he sits there with his gorgeous everything makes her feel like she’s too big; like she’s not enough. And she hates it. And this book is about a fat girl’s journey getting back in touch with herself. Now, being a fat girl, I should say that I know what it feels like; what it all feels like. Sitting in the backseat of a car with three other skinny people, and you can just feel the fat on your body. Feeling like the Designated Ugly Fat Friend. Feeling like there’s no way someone like him would ever go for someone like you. Thinking that all the flab around your torso is stopping you from being the best version of yourself, and even just hiding under the fat and not doing the things you want to do or wearing the things you want to wear. But to Willow, all of this was a “So? Why can’t I?” and I kept wondering why I couldn’t be like her. I kept wondering why just because I’m big, it means I can’t have the life I want to. Why can’t I get up on stage dressed like Dolly Parton (not that I like her, but…) and sing and enter a pageant contest or things like that. Why? Why stop myself? And I don’t have an answer. Maybe I never will. All I can say is that this book is inspirational. This book is a guide you should be giving your daughters and sons instead of giving them body image issues. This book should be what you look up to, not Victoria’s Secret Angels on the runway. And it should be okay to not be skinny, or small, or a size two. Maybe we don’t always have to be on a diet, and it shouldn’t be creepy for girls to eat in public alone, and maybe people need to stop telling us that if we just lost a little weight, the world would be a better place for us. And you should be reading it – fat or thin. Tall or short. Indian or American. This should be your next read. ALSO, Mitch WILL BREAK YOUR HEART!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super funny and big hearted! Love ths book! Would have given t 5++++ stars, but wished there was a little more to the ending! Loved Bo and Willodean! Also loved sweet Mitch! Great coming of age story for all of us!
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
★★★¼ Dumplin' is a young-adult contemporary novel written by author: Julie Murphy. This story encompasses issues related to coming-of-age, death/loss/grief, family issues, self-image, society's views on beauty and weight, interpersonal relationships, and first love. The story was entertaining and easily held my interest, and I think it addressed important topics. However, there were some elements about this novel that didn't quite flow in my opinion, specifically with the romance and the subject of self-acceptance. Unfortunately these parts ended up impacting how much I enjoyed the novel as a whole. Overall, I liked Dumplin' and especially enjoyed the references to Dolly Parton. Her name isn't one seen in many young-adult novels so this added some originality which I appreciated. I would recommend this book to empathetic readers who like coming-of-age stories. Enjoy :) My favorite quote: "All my life, I've had a body worth commenting on. And if living in my skin has taught me anything it's that if it's not your body, it's not yours to comment on. Fat, skinny, short, tall, it doesn't matter."
Goldenfurproductions More than 1 year ago
MY THOUGHTS Willowdean is a fat girl and she's not afraid to say it. She's comfortable in her own body, despite her mom's (the former beauty queen) insistence that she lose weight. Wil grows feelings for her co-worker, Bo, and ends up having a summer relationship with her. For some reason, Wil begins to feel doubt about herself, so she does something that she never expected to do: enter her mom's beauty pageant. I had high expectations for this book and it just wasn't what I expected. First of all, it was a bit boring. Wil doesn't even get the idea to go into the pageant until more than halfway through the book! That's the main part of the book! And everything also felt incredibly draggy. Honestly, not a whole lot happened. Still, there were enjoyable moments. Besides the mostly positive reviews, I wanted to read this book because of the meaning it provides. This books deals with body positivity, something that the book world needs. I know that many, myself included, are not comfortable in their own skin and I like having a character that is actually comfortable in her skin, and heck, I like the fact that there's a fat MC without a focus on getting skinny (like most books). I must mention, though, that Wil did bother me at times. She wasn't very good with her relationships. Meaning: she picked fights with those close to her and I thought some of it was unnecessary. For example: she got in a huge fight with her best friend,Ellen, because Wil didn't want her to be in the pageant. Why? Because Ellen might actually win. Wil wasn't aiming to win this thing and she wasn't letting her best friend enter because there's the small chance she might win. What? Wil just have issues with relationships in this book. She was also against the misfits entering and was borderline judgmental about them. While I don't like some things Wil did, we all have our flaws and some of the other characters weren't squeaky-clean either. It bothered me at points, but it's all realistic. There's romance in this book. I don't want to say much about the romance because it's just more of Wil's bad decision making. She kind of rebounds and leads a poor, sweet guy on. I also didn't particularly like Bo's decision making either. IN CONCLUSION I know I sound like I didn't like this book. I kept complaining and complaining, but I actually liked it. Most of my complaining is because I heard so many amazing things about this book beforehand and was kind of let down. Overall, I liked the idea of this book and how it talks about being comfortable in your own skin. It's a needed book in the YA market.
Lisa-LostInLiterature More than 1 year ago
Dumplin’ was all kinds of adorbs, but it was so much more than that too. It’s my favorite kind of story… the kind that leaves you feeling empowered, good enough, smart enough, and ready to conquer the world! Willowdean Dickson, self-proclaimed fat girl, is a confident teen who’s comfortable in her own skin. That in and of itself was so impressive for me. All too often, overweight teens are insecure, embarrassed by their looks, and become a severe introvert. (Myself included!) Her impressive personality was a breath of fresh air and started this story off on a high note. “There’s some kind of peace that comes with knowing that for every person who is waiting to be found, there’s someone out there searching.” My only real complaint was the romance. (Pss… love triangle here, folks. ) I kind of wish it wasn’t there, honesty. And if there had to be a romance (which I’m usually all for!!) I wish it had only been one guy. The back and forth between the two boys didn’t really do it for me. Yes, parts were kind of sweet… but overall, I just wasn’t a fan. “I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won’t zip.” This story was EXPLODING with positive messages. So much so that it was impossible to NOT feel motivated by this story. “I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.” And Julie Murphy’s writing was incredible!! There were so many amazing quotes in this story I was constantly tagging things.(As you can obviously tell. There are A LOT more too.) “I think you gotta be who you want to be until you feel like you are whoever it is you’re trying to become. Sometimes half of doing something is pretending that you can.” Seriously, I wish I had this book when I was a teenager. It’s not only for overweight readers to relate to either. There’s so much involving in this story that everyone can relate to, no matter what your size. Everybody has insecurities, and this story helps the reader shine despite them. So much love for this book! (Thank you to Harper Audio for the review copy!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were likeable, and the story line was realistic. I couldn't put it down, and thats rare for me. It really took me back to my high school days and had me feeling nostalgic. Lovely read! I hope to read more from this author soon!
terferj More than 1 year ago
I really liked the book, let me list the pros: *It was a quick read. I finished it in approximately 10 hours. *It kept me so engrossed in the story; before I knew it on the first day I was more than halfway done and it was late when I put it down. *I thought it was a cute story. *I liked Willowdean aka Will. Even though she had her moments of self consciousness, she didn't let that keep her down. Patrick Thomas learned that real quick. Lol. *She stuck up for the other girls that didn't fit the criteria of others. *A good message regarding body image. Yes, you'll have doubts and insecurities but own it. If others can't deal with it, then they're not worth your time. The cons: *I wished she had some heart to heart with her mom on why she entered the pageant in regards to what she found in her aunt's room. *More on the ending with Bo. *A little more on the pageant. It was so minimal, I wanted the Dumplin' pose in there.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
What a powerful novel that focuses on self-image. There were no drawn-out preachy dialogues or depressive narratives that the characters struggled through in this novel but rather the characters were dealing with their issues in a more positive manner. Self-image was the main topic but there were numerous other topics that the author brilliantly calls into play such as individualism, death, making choices, being wrong and friendship. Self-image is a huge topic and working with kids at school, I am aware of this about every day. One look, one comment or even one raised eyebrow can set off a person for the entire day. Some children do it on purpose (to get a response) and some are not even aware they caused the offense until the other person is hurt. I enjoyed this novel for the variety of topics it covered and for the positive mannerism it carried throughout its pages. Will was heavy, she knew it and the world knew it but it was the way she accepted herself and the world around her that made all the difference. She knew what the world was unleashing at her, she wore the battle wounds, and the novel told us her pain. The image that she carried of herself was not one of perfection for she was not blind but the image she had, she was happy with. She’s accepted who she was and was moving forward in life yet it is the others around her that can’t accept her for who she is. A close friend listens to Will talk about her life, this friend who she has had for years, but something begins to change now and they start to drift. Will is a witty and a likable girl who hesitates about being accepted by others, as she feels she’s being judged by them. Will puts on a great front, she acts as though she is not bothered by other’s opinion but inside it’s a different story. Her mother, she lived the dream of the pageant for years while leaving her daughter behind, while Will’s aunt showed her the way of the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even before DUMPLIN’ debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, I had been hearing a lot about it through various book blogs. I found the concept innately appealing: a confident fat girl likes a jock, he likes her back, her confidence is shaken, she enters a beauty pageant? I definitely haven’t read that before. When I finally got to read it, I was glad to realize it’s true: there’s a lot to love here. Murphy does that great thing with her setting where it’s simultaneously so relatable and yet so distinct. Admittedly, I didn’t find the setting here quite as relatable as that of Jenny Han’s P.S. I STILL LOVE YOU, for example—but I think that makes sense, because Han is going more for your average American suburb, whereas Murphy sets DUMPLIN’ squarely in Texas. And that was awesome. The setting is never overpowering, but Willowdean is a great tour guide: frank, self-aware, and not overly apologetic. I loved getting these little snapshots of Texan beauty pageant culture. But what really holds this book together is the characters. I know I’m not the only person who found it refreshing to read about a fat girl who does not loathe her body and does not want to conform to what other people say is beautiful—and, in the process, has other people realize how beautiful she really is. Isn’t that what the most satisfying chick flicks always do? There’s a character that’s offbeat in one way or another, but she will not cower, and, therefore, she eventually shines. (I haven’t actually watched a chick flick in a long time, and I’m not suggesting you’d need to love chick flicks to love this book—but I find the comparison apt.) The supporting cast is also pretty awesome. While I wish we knew a little more about Bo, he comes across as a laconic good guy that’s still figuring himself out, AKA a real person. Ellen is fun and I do believe her friendship with Will, even though she’s MIA for much of the story. And Millie, Amanda, and Hannah, the misfits who band together—they all have a story to tell, too. I also feel like Murphy juggled several competing themes about identity and society together pretty well. Yes, Will is comfortable in her skin most of the time—but she has a mom that won’t let her forget the life she could be living if only she would just work hard and lose weight. (Never mind that Will is already living that life under her mom’s nose.) She has a best friend who is conventionally gorgeous, and she loves Ellen for being a real friend—but she acknowledges that she still has the occasional jealous thought to battle. She likes Bo and doesn’t even find it so crazy that he could like her back—but she is all too conscious of how others would see it, and she doesn’t want to be seen as that lucky fat girl that somehow snagged a much better-looking guy. The relationships also feel organic, rather than forced, and I do like seeing the progression in Will’s relationship with her mom, the former beauty queen. And there are so many poignant, real-life scenes that feel so relatable and yet so fresh and unique to this book. Plus, that ending was a masterpiece in simple, satisfying, and sweet. Given how much I enjoyed the book, why the docked star? Just a couple of things. Occasionally, Willowdean felt almost too self-aware, in a way that was kind of tiring for me as a reader: she often has these moments (for example, in her fight with Ellen) where she says she knows exactly why she’s wrong and what she should do, but she
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Willowdean Dickson has always been comfortable in her own skin. Even when she knows small-minded people might make unfavorable comparisons between Will and her beautiful best friend, Ellen. But Will knows who she is and she is okay with it. At least, she thinks she is until she takes a summer job working at Harpy's--a local burger joint--alongside Private School Bo. Bo is a former jock and totally hot. Of course Will is attracted to him. What gives her pause is that Bo seems to be attracted to her too. When this unexpected romance makes Will question everything she thought she knew about herself (and her self-esteem), she knows it's time to take a step back and make a change. Inspired by all of the things her aunt let herself miss out on because of her weight, Willowdean decides to enter the Miss Clover City beauty pageant to prove to herself and everyone else (and maybe even her mother) that she can. Entering the pageant might be the worst idea Will has ever had but with help from her friends, inspiration from Dolly Parton, and a lot of humor along the way, Willowdean will take Clover City by storm in Dumplin' (2015) by Julie Murphy. Dumplin' has a very strong sense of place as Willowdean's first person narration brings her small Texas town to life complete with its quirks and charms. And a love of Dolly Parton, of course. Will is a charming and authentic narrator. Like many people, she has moments of doubt and often gets in her own way when it comes to being happy. She is also refreshingly self-aware and can identify these behaviors even if she can't always stop them. While it's hard in parts Dumplin' to watch Willowdean being her own worst enemy, it's also incredibly empowering to see her get it right and go after what she really wants. Murphy's sophomore novel highlights a lot of diverse lifestyles in this story including single parent homes, poor families, and some others that I can't mention because they're small spoilers. Dumplin' is an effervescent novel with a lot of heart and as much charm is its one-of-a-kind heroine. Recommended for readers looking for a sweet romance, thoughtful characters and an empowering story. Bonus appeal for readers who enjoy stories that feature beauty pageants.
AsDreamsAreMade More than 1 year ago
Original Review Link: http://asdreamsaremade.com/2015/09/book-tuesday-arc-dumplin/ What a fantastic story. Really. I feel like we’ve all been “Dumplin'” at some point in our lives. Willowdean “Dumplin” Dickson is fat. She’s the first to tell you that. In fact that’s how she introduces herself. As the daughter of a beauty queen mom, she’s had her fair share of criticisms, but she’s never let them get under her skin; not until she meets Bo. Finally falling for a boy who incredulously likes her back, she starts to self doubt herself and her confidence takes a nose dive. In an act of rare courage, or insanity, she decides to compete in the Miss Clover City beauty pageant along with a rag tag team of outsiders and atypical “beauties”. Along the way, she learns a lot about herself, her friends, and what truly makes someone beautiful. With similar themes to The DUFF The DUFF, this book will make you realize that nobody is perfect and to embrace those imperfections. Willow is the first to admit she’s not perfect, but she’s ok with that. She struggles with events that most teens go through, especially in terms of relationships. People start to grow and sometimes grow apart. Learning how to come to terms to that and adapt is something everybody goes through growing up. In HS you’re just starting to find your voice and navigate that scary entrance into adulthood. Willow and her friends go through it all in this book, with some Dolly Parton to help them along. You have to love Bo, or “peachbutt” as Amanda (Willow’s friend) likes to call him. He breaks down the stereotypes of the “private school rich boy” and shows Willow that not everybody is perfect even if they seem that way. He’s a great contrast for her and I really love their relationship. One of my favorite relationships in the story is actually between Ellen and Willow. We’ve all had that best friend that we start to grow apart from as we grow up. It’s a true friendship if you can navigate those tricky waters and still stay friends. It was awesome to see that relationship go through those trials. Willow’s relationship with her mother is complicated. Her aunt Lucy, who passed away, was more a mother to her than her real mother and watching them struggle with this new dynamic now that she’s gone has you sympathizing a lot with both of them, which surprised me. There were times I couldn’t stand Willow’s mom, but toward the end you start to realize she’s human, with her own faults and insecurities. The plot moved well. Some of Willow’s insecurities annoyed me at times, but they still had me turning the next page to see what would happen next. This is definitely a story where the characters move the plot. Each one is diverse from Willow to Bo to her rag tag team of unconventional beauty queens. Each character in this story had something you could relate to. I love it when I read books like that! Read this book if you need a great pick-me-up or if you feel like being nostalgic and reliving your HS days–the good and the bad. Plus, there’s Dolly Parton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been seeing tests everywhere Cuz, Chill yaaself out and... S.T.O.P!!!