REVIEW: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy


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.

Straight off the bat: Five starts. I would give it more if five/five wasn’t the highest society seems to want to go.


Julie Murphy has created a masterpiece. Dumplin’ is hands down one of my favorite books of the year so far. By the first mention of Dolly Parton you were hooked. It sucked you in and kept you there, even when you thought everything was falling apart it still clung on to you and you thank god it did.

I think why this book has been so well received is mainly because of our wonderful protagonist, Willowdean. A fat, Dolly Parton loving, self confident girl who doesn’t know what to do with her self when an attractive male makes her feel insecure but who powers on by trying to take out a win in a beauty pageant is wonderfully relatable. Maybe not exactly and maybe not all at once, but i think most girls out there, myself included, have felt or been made to feel bad about how they look to other people. It sucks but that’s mostly life.

We YA readers are generally use to female protagonists that are more often then not flawless. Thin and pretty and perfect. Having a protagonist that doesn’t fit the mold is extremely refreshing and made the book even more of a pleasure to read.

The writing was flawless and really drags you in from the first line, it is often so rare to be sold on the greatness of a book from the first line, but i was.

Dumplin’ was witty and funny and heartbreaking and hopeful and most importantly it was empowering. It feeds you a confidence that they may not have known was there. You feel as if you could be as brave as Willowdean. That you can enter that beauty pageant and win. That you can conquer your body issues and have that boy grab your sides. That you WILL put on those swimmers and take your time diving into the water, cellulite on display and not giving two hoots.

That is was made this book so incredibly wonderful to read.

It left me wanting more, more, MORE!



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