Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Inside cover blurb:

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.


Just when I thought this book couldn’t get any better…there are drag queens.

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This book is so different from a lot of YA out there. Yes, there is a love interest, but that isn’t the total all-consuming focus. Instead, we are also privy to Willowdean’s complex relationships with her childhood best friend, her mother, her deceased aunt, and most of all, her relationship to herself and her own body.

Pick this one up soon- a movie adaptation is in the works!

Plus: This book is just like a hug and reminds me so much of one of my favorite movies, Whip It. Both feature Texasbeauty pageants, Dolly Parton, and journeys of self-discovery.

Minus: It was hard to see how Willowdean’s self-talk changes after she falls for Bo, but a lot of her thoughts do seem realistic and pretty relatable.

If you like this book, try:

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Derby Girl by Shauna Cross

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