Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Title: Dumplin'
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: September 15th 2015
Source:ARC from BEA 2015

Summary from Goodreads:
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.


Goodness, Willowdean is a fantastic female protagonist.  She has spunk, a vibrant personality, a love for Dolly Parton, and a range of insecurities.  Willowdean has to work through self image issues, potential boyfriend drama, an awkward family dynamic, and struggling friendships.  

As I write this review, I know it sounds like a lot is going on in her life but really it  felt like an honest, tough high school experience.  Even if her struggles were/are not the same struggles you faced, Willowdean is still so relate-able.  I wanted to be there cheering her on through the whole book.  Aside from the body issues, she gets in a big fight with her best friend which can also be taxing and a major downer.  Will is not without flaws but she learns from her choices. 

Dumplin' truly is a great character driven story.  With a group of rag tag unique friends, Will decides to take on a beauty pageant.  A pageant that is not exactly used to Will and her friends.  But by working together and building strong friendships, anything is possible.  Dumplin' is full of surprises that won't seize to bring a smile to your face.  

I highly recommend Dumplin'; it is wonderful, feel good story about a girl who faces her fears, takes control of her insecurities, and learns how to start to feel good in her own skin.  

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