Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) 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 twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.
LOVE! I love this book so much! It is honest, funny, serious, and everything a book about high school should be. It has all the high school stupid that happens- boyfriends, best friends, drama, and more. I am always hesitant to read books about characters who are fat because it’s a sore topic, I’ll admit. I was the fat girl growing up so reading about it, always makes me queasy, I guess you could say. But, Dumplin’ is the book I wish so bad I had to read in high school growing up, even in middle school. It would have given be someone, albeit fictional, to look up to and help me accept myself for who I was then and have better body positivity. Looking back, I wasn’t at all fat, I was great but compared to other girls, I was fat. Which brings me to the book…
Will is such a GREAT character and role model. She accepts herself for who she is despite having a parent who tries to be subtle about her needing to change. She’s strong, smart, funny, independent. A perfect example of strong female lead characters. Her obsession with Dolly Parton is hysterical to me- I mean Dolly is awesome, no denying, but she takes it to the EXTREME with how much she LOVES Dolly. I also really liked her love interest, Bo. He’s the kind of guy who needs to be cast with a character like Willowdean (whose name is great, I mean, Willowdean- you don’t get more Southern than that). Bo is so accepting of Will that you almost expect it to blow up in some way- like in the movie She’s All That and there’s a bet..yeah, I thought that’s where this was heading. But, thankfully, nope. Bo is just a good guy who genuinely likes Will for all she is and isn’t. He’s the guy your parents want you to date haha. It’s funny, that once she starts to date Bo, Will’s self confidence starts to plummet. It’s how it goes though- you get this attention from a really hot guy and BAM! you wonder what the catch it.
The most hilarious thing is her determination to the pageant. Her mom is in charge of. Her mother- she’s a piece of work btw. Ugh. Just. I get wanting your daughter to be healthy and active but she’s OBESESSED with looks. Anyways, Will enters the pageant and everyone is astonished- because she’s not the typical looking pageant girl. But you know what, she does great- She is disqualified in the end for her entertainment but so worth it.
I think one of the most frustrating parts was the friendship between her and her best friend Ellen. Ellen is a good friend and a good character. She’s the balance to Will’s crazy. But her whole thing about everyone needing to like her is so damn aggravating. She dumps Will for some chick who’s a TOTAL BITCH. I could not stand that girl. I felt like I was in high school again because of the disdain I had for that horrible girl. I’m glad Ellen got her act together in the end though, because Will really needs her in her life and El needs Will. They balance each other- which is what a good friendship should be.
Bravo, Julie Murphy! This book is one of my favorites of 2015. You outdid yourself with your wit, honesty, and character portrayal.
5 out of 5 stars! Seriously y’all, READ this book!