Exclusive Cover Reveal: Puddin’ by Julie Murphy

If you’re a YA fan and you haven’t read Julie Murphy’s delicious contemps yet, well, what have you been doing with your life? Murphy is the author of Side Effects May Vary and Ramona Blue, but perhaps made her biggest splash with the New York Times bestseller Dumplin’, in which small-town Texas teen Willowdeen Dickson, fiercely feminist and fat, finds herself losing her footing when she falls for private school kid Bo. But she gets comfortable in her skin again by doing the last thing anyone (especially her beauty queen mom) expects her to do: she enters the Miss Clover City pageant. And not as a joke.

Dumplin’ is beloved for its fun female friendships, its frank discussion of body issues, and especially for its surefooted exploration of the identity issues every teen goes through. But it was perhaps most loved for that iconic cover—and today B&N Teen is proud to reveal the cover and an excerpt from Murphy’s much-anticipated companion novel, Puddin’. Get ready!

Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.

Filled with heart-stirring romance, friendship, and serious Texas-size girl power—this is another winner from Julie Murphy.

A Word from author Julie Murphy: From the moment I finished Dumplin’ I knew I wanted to return to Clover City, but I also knew that I was 100% satisfied with how Willowdean’s story ended. When I got the green light to write another book in the same world, I thought long and hard about who intrigued me the most (Millie! Though Hannah and Mitch were a close second!) and who needed to do the most growing (Callie!).

Callie and Millie start out as oil and water, even Millie—the eternal optimist—would agree, but mapping out how their stories would intertwine has been one of the most exciting tasks that’s been set before me as an author. When we meet Millie, she’s sure of who she is—a cheery fat girl who is deceptively fierce and could craft you under a table—but she’s still trying to come to terms with being unapologetically herself even when we can’t always control how others perceive us. When we meet Callie—a driven, ruthlessly ambitious, and traditionally pretty Mexican American girl with a killer sense of humor—she also knows exactly who she is and where she wants to go until her life takes a sharp turn. I love both girls equally and I can’t wait for readers to meet them both. However, I do want to take this opportunity to very openly tell readers that Callie’s starts out as fatphobic, but I can promise that she grows. Immensely! Both girls do and, in a large way, from their interaction with each other. I know this journey may be difficult for some readers to experience. But I also want to be clear that her journey is important and valid and is one that I hope many more people will take on in their every day lives.

Oh, and I can promise readers there will be updates on Willowdean, Bo, and Ellen! #peachbutt

And now a quick word from Puddin’ cover designer Aurora Parlagreco: I was so excited to dive back into the world of Dumplin’, and to work with both Julie and illustrator Daniel Stolle again! For Puddin’, we wanted to show both Millie and Callie on the cover, as it really is both of their stories. It was important to us that the girls’ poses portrayed the same confidence and positivity as Willowdean. I think we were successful in showing both the friendship and tension that exist between the two, and allowing each of their distinct personalities to come through.

Exclusive Puddin’ Excerpt, Chapter One:

MILLIE

I got my love for inspirational quotes, cross-stitch, and crafts from my mom. Our whole house is lined with handmade embroidered pillows emblazoned with encouraging quotes and watercolor prints of Bible verses that are darn near good enough quality to be sold at the Good Book, our local Christian bookstore.

It’s like me and my mom are a pair of birds, always adding to our nest, and the project is never quite done, but with each addition we feel a little more at home. At least that’s how it’s been until now. But in the last few months, my hopes and dreams are growing in the opposite direction of what my mom wants for me. Slowly, I’ve been redecorating my nest.

The cross-stitches and découpages hanging on my wall today are a departure from the inspirational diet quotes I surrounded myself with last summer and the eight summers prior to that at Daisy Ranch Weight Loss Camp. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE EXCEPT THE WEIGHT was always a personal favorite.

Fat camp. Yes, I went to fat camp. But that’s all history, because for the first time in nine years, I’m not going back to see my friends or Ms. Georgia, my counselor, at Daisy Ranch. Entering and winning runner-up at the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant changed the game for me. I did things I never believed possible. I played my ukulele for a crowded theater and walked the stage in a beautiful gown—not to mention the swimsuit portion of the competition! I even went to a dance with a boy. I did all that in this body. Which is why I can’t bear to waste another summer weighing in every morning and eating rabbit food in the hopes that someone will notice that I’ve dropped six pounds on the first day of school.

Now if I could only just figure out a way to explain that to my mom. And then, watch out, world! Millicent Michalchuk, trusted news anchor, is coming to a television screen near you.

But first I’ve gotta finish this dang personal statement for the Broadcast Journalism Boot Camp at the University of Texas in Austin.

I know it’s going to take more than summer camp or even a degree. We’re talking internships and years of grunt work. But I’m willing to do all that, because I want to be the face people come home to every night—a voice they can trust. A voice that will inspire. And maybe even change the world. I guess that’s a silly thing to expect from a news anchor, but my grandparents are as religious about the local news as they are about, well, religion!

I hear them talking about things people have said on the news channels they watch, and there are times that I don’t even think we’re living in the same world. It’s got me thinking that sometimes it’s about more than the facts. Sometimes it’s about how and which facts are presented. Like, when same-sex marriage was legalized, all the news outlets I pay attention to online treated it like a celebration, because it was! I went over to my grandparents’ house, and by the sound of their television, you would have thought we’d been invaded by a hostile enemy.

Maybe it’s different for everybody, but people like my grandparents? Their opinion of the world is shaped by the person who delivers their news. That’s real responsibility, and I don’t take that lightly.

I know. They don’t put fat girls on the news. Well, they didn’t let fat girls win runner-up in the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant either. But everything happens for the first time at some point, so why can’t that first time be me?

Puddin’ hits shelves May 8, 2018, and is available for pre-order now. 

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