Balzer + Bray
[September 15, 2015]
egalley from Edelweiss/ARC from BEA
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.This is one of the best, most personally important books I've ever read.
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 was a fat girl from middle school on. I still technically am, though poor-college-student diets and NYC living have combined to push me more towards an average size. But this is the book I needed in middle school. This is the book I needed in high school. This is the book I've needed every day of my life for ten years. Willowdean is my hero and Julie Murphy managed to translate what being a fat girl, or a girl who is in anyway "unacceptable," is really like.
Willowdean was amazing and funny and snarky, but she was also insecure. She was very real and felt so much like the teenager I was. One of the biggest things for me to read about was seeing her own disbelief that an attractive boy could like her back and then her doubts about letting him see her body. Because that was so painfully real to me and I loved her for it.
I've never read a Julie Murphy book, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I knew most of my friends loved her work. And it didn't disappoint. The story itself was a little slow at the beginning in getting to the major plot of Willow joining the beauty pageant, but the other things going on meant it didn't drag; it just took longer than I expected. But the story was so much richer and more complicated than I expected. Everything was just so much more than I expected.
And also can we talk about the amazing romance? Willowdean gets not one, but two love interests (It's not a love triangle, y'all. A girl can have two love interests and not have it be a triangle). She had two different boys be attracted to her, even as a fat girl. That's so amazing and important to read about.
This is one of the best books I've ever read; definitely one of the best of the year. It's going to be a lifetime favorite for me as well. And all I can do it encourage you to please, please, pick up this title on it's release date tomorrow.