Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: From publisher for honest review.
Release Date: September 15, 2015
From the author of Side Effects May Vary comes what is guaranteed to be one of your favorite novels of the year—about an unforgettable heroine called Willowdean Dickson who decides to take on her small town’s beauty pageant.
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 read this book in about five hours. While in a car today to and from Dollywood today I was obsessed with Willowdean's story... and then I planted myself on my couch and continued reading until it was complete. Little did I know this morning that this book was the perfect book to ready while surrounded by Dolly everything today!
I was so overcome with Willowdean and her story. I needed to know more... and I still can't pin point exactly what it was. I laughed with her, I teared up at her struggles and I found myself rejoicing whenever hope was found.
We begin the story with our heroine, Willowdean Dickson who is a self proclaimed "fat-girl" and a bit confused with some aspects of her life. She is normal. Average. She works at a fast food restaurant and has a best friend who seems to have everything, but loves her just the same. Her story is so relatable that her story and my own story overlapped in many ways which led to this strange kinsman-ship that happened through the page. She was very likeable... if a bit stubborn and hard on herself.
To get this out of the way, I loved Bo. Bo was a great character and to me, he felt real. No, he wasn't perfect... but he tried.
There was a bit of a love triangle in this one, but given the subject matter I think it made sense to Willow's character.
I loved the focus on Dolly Parton in this novel. As a Southern girl, Dolly is an icon.. particularly in my part of the country. I was raised a hop and a skip away from Dolly's home town where streets are named after her and she isn't a celebrity... she's a legend. It was nice to see the love of Dolly in this novel portrayed as something different, and as something that lifts them up.
While reading, Willow's voice is so real that her choices make sense, and her struggles feel like the issues your own best friend would have and tell you about on any given night during high school.
Her voice is so real because her emotions are ones we all have felt. We have all felt as if we weren't good enough, and we have all struggles with aspects of our body. Society has formed us to believe that a certain picture and idea of beauty is what we should listen to... but this book turns that around and screams for recognition of a different kind of beauty; the beauty found within yourself.
Overall: Please read Dumplin'. It is so, so great and I will be screaming its praises for years to come. If you have ever felt as if you don't fit in, or struggled with any aspect of yourself... this book is for you.