By: Julie Murphy
Released: September 15, 2015
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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. (Goodreads)
I really enjoyed Dumplin' a lot. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year because I loved Murphy's previous book Side Effects May Vary.
Dumplin' is the story of Willowdean who has always been comfortable with her body. After a summer fling with her co-worker doesn't turn into what she wants, her confidence takes a hit though. So to get her confidence back, she enters the beauty pageant in her town.
Willowdean was a realistic and well developed protagonist. Murphy did a great job bringing her voice to life on every single page. Willowdean's personality poured off the pages and her sense of humor was hilarious. I love that she has all of this confidence, but at the same time she still has these moments of self doubt. She has her flaws too and wasn't always a good friend. This all made her someone that I think any teen and adult can relate to.
There were so many great side characters too. The friendship between El and Willowdean was realistic. They've been best friends since they were kids and do everything together, but they both worry about growing apart as they grow older. Then there was Bo, who was so sweet and a bit of a mystery.
Another great aspect of this book was that there were so many really well done subplots going on. Willowdean also has a really complicated relationship with her mom. She shared a better relationship with her aunt rather than her own mother. However, ever since her aunt died, her relationship with her mom has just gotten worse. Her mom doesn't always listen to her or accept her for who she is. Her mom was a former beauty queen and now helps run the pageant every year. So when Willowdean enters the pageant, her mom questions her motives.
Dumplin' was paced and developed well. I finished this book over the course of a weekend because it just hooked me in. It was filled with so many of these hilarious and heartbreaking moments. More importantly though this book has a great message about body image and confidence. Murphy really drives home the message of loving yourself and loving every single one of your flaws.
Overall I really enjoyed Dumplin'. This is an important story and I definitely recommend picking up a copy.