Release Date: September 15th, 2015
Length: 384 pages
Source: borrowed from the library
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 honestly can’t believe that when I first heard about this book, I wasn’t interested. I read about it and thought it sounded boring and didn’t think I would enjoy it. But then I started seeing people praise the representation of a fat main character and, being overweight myself, I had to read it.
I am so, so, so glad I did.
Willowdean is a fantastic main character. I loved her narration so much because she is hilarious. I don’t often laugh while reading, but there were several times when I was reading this book that I laughed out loud. Not only is she funny, but she’s a very believable teenage character. Her banter with the other characters is totally realistic and doesn’t seem odd, forced, or out of place. She’s also a character that very clearly has strengths and weaknesses and we get to see these change and develop throughout the course of the book.
The thing I appreciated the most about this was the representation of a fat main character. I honestly can’t think of a single other YA book that I’ve read where the main character is fat and I so appreciated seeing an overweight character (and not only is the main character fat, but there are other characters who are as well). Besides there simply being fat characters, there’s also the fact that while Willowdean really doesn’t care about being fat and accepts her body as it is, there are certain situations and people that make her feel insecure about it. It was so nice to see this because that is exactly how I feel about my own body. I generally don’t give a crap that I’m fat until other people judge me or make me feel like I should be insecure about it. Seeing this in a book was so awesome.
As always, I feel obligated to tell you guys that there is a love triangle. As I’ve mentioned before, I kind of like love triangles. This one was different for me though because while most of the time, I’m very clearly “this character is better and the MC should be with him,” with the two potential love interests in Dumplin’, I really liked them both. Bo and Mitch are different, but they both care about Willowdean and I didn’t really feel like either one was clearly a better match.
Dumplin’ is such a fun and heartfelt read. I enjoyed it from start to finish and really didn’t want it to end. Now I feel as though I need to recommend it to every person in existence. I also noticed on Goodreads that Julie Murphy has a Dumplin’ #2 book listed under her books that is scheduled to be released in 2018 and I kind of want to cry because I don’t want to wait that long, but it was a nice surprise because I thought this was a standalone. Anyway, read this book! Regardless of what you normally read, I would recommend this because it is just so fantastic.