Originally published: Sep 2015
Author: Julie Murphy
Set in: Texas
Page count: 400
Reading dates: 14-19 Apr 2018
Star Rating: 4/5
Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin, despite being overweight. When Will takes a job at the local fast-food joint, she meets Bo, a hot former jock. Will finds herself attracted to Bo, and Bo seems to like her back, much to her surprise.
The fact Bo likes Will, knocks her confidence. She enjoys kissing him but feels uncomfortable with him touching her back fat. And she is horrified of the idea of becoming a couple because she thinks people will judge them, wondering what Bo is doing with her.
She rejects Bo and in an effort to get her self-confidence back, she does the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates from her school — to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does.
This is a pretty light-hearted read which is just what I needed after the last few quite intense books I have read. I like the fact that the writer doesn’t define what she means by “fat” as everyone has different ideas as to what “fat” means. The themes of the book – loving who you are whatever you think might be wrong with you, ignoring the bullies, grief and friendship come across nicely. Will is a great protagonist – we see her confident and vulnerable sides and you can’t help but like her.
I felt the ending was a bit of a let-down, almost as if the author got a bit bored with the story! There is a follow up, Puddin’ coming in May 2018 so I guess that’s why the book didn’t wrap up completely. Despite the ending, I already have Puddin’ ready to go and I’m happy to dive back into Will’s life.
Later this year, Dumplin’ the movie will be released, staring Jennifer Aniston as Willow’s mum and Danielle Macdonald as Willow.