Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Series: Dumplin', Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

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.

I don't know if it's just a recent thing but there are now tons of books featuring "fat" girls and I. AM. LOVING. IT. Way to go for body positivity! Coming from someone who has always had to deal with body issues, Dumplin', and other books that focus on the same topics, are steps in the right direction. Anyhoo–this was my second experience with Julie Murphy. I enjoyed her debut Side Effects May Vary (read my review), but I enjoyed this one a lot more. I mean, by the end, I was tempted to go join a pageant or something (obviously I didn't...but I felt like I could, which is equally as important!).

I enjoyed our protagonist's confidence and will-power throughout the book, but sometimes I found Will pretty irritating. I mean, she shames other larger girls, or girls with disabilities. For someone who feels sometimes uncomfortable in their own body, and gets picked on for it, I was expecting a little more compassion. And the romance was just a big noooppee. First of all, it's a love triangle! Definitely incorporated better than several young adult books out there, but still a romance that follows that dreaded shape. I didn't have a problem with either of the guys, but the way Will goes about it just wasn't right. I mean, yes–on one hand, character development! On the other, don't play with people.

Other than my problems with the main character and the romance, the rest of the book was GOLD. I don't know much about Dolly Parton–I don't listen to much country music!–I ended up coming from this book with an appreciation for what she comes to represent for many people. I also enjoyed the drag show and the friendship that grows in this group of misfits. There were a ton of important topics explored in this book, and I'm grateful for it.

Fierce and different, Dumplin' is like none other. Julie Murphy's prose hits the predominant beauty standard hard with a protagonist who isn't afraid to show what she's got. I also can't wait for the film, because the actress cast as Willowdean looks PERFECT and exactly how I imagined her. We need more books like this one!

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1 comment:

  1. Have you tried reading 'Hold Up the Universe' yet? That one also has really great body confidence themes, and I loved the gutsy and confident character Libby! This one also sounds pretty good, though I'm not a big fan of love triangles (who is?!). Thanks for the review!

    Cass @ Words on Paper


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