Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4/5 stars
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.
I kind of just read Dumplin’ because I was waiting for some books that I ordered online to come in the mail but I was very happy when I ended up liking the book a lot. Willowdean was a very confident character but she also had flaws which made her feel more real. She was a bigger girl and dealt with things like being made fun of but that didn’t stop her from doing what she wanted to do. Will and Ellen’s (her best friend) friendship was so sweet as well which added a nice friendship aspect. The romance I felt fell a little flat for me, I didn’t feel any sparks between Will and the romantic interest(s) very much. The plot wasn’t ever boring, I was always flipping the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen next, there was always something happening but the were also parts where I felt it was dragging on a lot, especially towards the end. If you have Dumplin’ sitting on your shelf and you don’t know what else to read I would suggest picking it up, it’s definitely a feel-good and confident kind of contemporary that delivers a very good message about feeling good in your own skin and being positive.
As I said in the non-spoiler section, the romance fell flat for me. I didn’t really like Bo at first but he got better towards the end of the novel and Mitch was so sweet but I didn’t think either of them were right for Willowdean. I loved Ellen and Will’s friendship and even though it got rocky towards the middle they got though it. One thing that bothered me a bit was that most of the book was a whole big lead up to the pageant and then the actual pageant happened in like 7 pages of the whole book. I know that there is only so much you can write about it but I wish it would have been explained in more detail. This book was very diverse as well with no stereotypical characters, everyone was different in there own way may it be race, size, sexuality, everyone was different and I think it’s really good see that popping up more in books more recently. Where I may not reread Dumplin’, overall I am definitely glad I read it.