Dumplin' (Dumplin', #1)
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.

Dumplin' (Dumplin', #1) Details

TitleDumplin' (Dumplin', #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 15th, 2015
PublisherBalzer + Bray
ISBN-139780062327185
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Dumplin' (Dumplin', #1) Review

  • Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a hypocritical mess. There are three main things wrong with it:1. It was boring2. It's not body-positive for a book that's about body positivity3. A love triangle (boo! hiss!)Doesn't that defeat the purpose of this book? I would say it does. This book is vastly inferior to the spectacular Future Perfect, which sends the message of being comfortable in your own body in a far better way.The main character in this book is fat. She is also an insecure, judgmental snit. Look, I get that This book is a hypocritical mess. There are three main things wrong with it:1. It was boring2. It's not body-positive for a book that's about body positivity3. A love triangle (boo! hiss!)Doesn't that defeat the purpose of this book? I would say it does. This book is vastly inferior to the spectacular Future Perfect, which sends the message of being comfortable in your own body in a far better way.The main character in this book is fat. She is also an insecure, judgmental snit. Look, I get that characters aren't perfect. I'm not perfect (gasp, horror, etc.) but characters should elicit sympathy in a reader and it is supremely hard to do that when the main character is constantly judging others whom she deem to be lesser and uglier and fatter than she is. I’m fat, but Millie’s the type of fat that requires elastic waist pants because they don’t make pants with buttons and zippers in her size. Her eyes are too close together and her nose pinches up at the end. She wears shirts with puppies and kittens and not in an ironic way. It's hard to send a message of body positivity and acceptance in others when the main character tends to skinny-shame, however contrite she feels about it.The main character is an insecure mess, and not in a good way. Millie and Amanda together are basically one giant moving target that says MAKE FUN OF US.Amanda’s legs are uneven, so she wears these thick corrective shoes that make her look like Frankenstein. (At least according to Patrick Thomas.) When we were kids and she didn’t have her shoes yet, Amanda just limped around, her hips swiveling up and down with each step. She never seemed bothered, but that didn’t stop people from staring. The nickname thing is pretty lame if you think about it. Frankenstein was the doctor, not the monster. I don't sympathize with her. I want her to grow the fuck up and get over it. Again, a book should make me feel for the character; the only thing the interestingly named Willowdean does for me is grate on my nerves. It's not that I have a problem with her insecurity, it's that it is a constant part of her life and her narrative for a book that promises me a tough girl. It's that she is slyly judgmental against all the skinny pageant girls. Cliques of girls sit at round tables with white tablecloths, the same ones my mother ironed in our living room last night. The legacy girls with mothers and sisters who have been crowned. Athletes trying to beef up their college résumés. The cheer table, which consists of anyone who does anything at a football game that doesn’t include a ball. And the theater and the choir girls, of course. All of them wear dresses. Like, Easter dresses. Precious little garden dresses with matching cardigans. While we are wearing nothing more than jeans and T-shirts. Because she's so superior, being normal. Being fat.Willow is a supreme bitch to her beautiful, slim best friend, El. When Willow decides to send a message and enter a pageant (with odds of zero in her favor), El decides to join forces with her. United we stand, right? Wrong. Having her best friend with her is the last thing Willow wants. “Have you thought about the fact that I feel as out of place here as you do?”“You have to back out. El, for me, you’ve got to. Let me have this one thing.”“What? Let you have what? You can’t pick and choose who joins the revolution.” She makes air quotes as she says “revolution.”I hear the logic in her voice. I recognize the truth there. But if El entered, she could really win. And that’s why she could ruin this. It's like El said. You can't pick and choose your message.Furthermore, nothing happens in this book. Willow goes about her life. Willow meets people. Willow talks to people. Willow has a crush. All that's fine and good in the hands of a good writer, because after all, the majority of contemporaries are just about people going about their lives. The writing in this book does brilliant to make this book shine. You could skip half the book and not miss much. Most of the book isn't worth reading anyway.
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  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    Dumplin' might be the perfect example of why I don't tend to read light-hearted, fluffy contemporaries. Occasionally, my foray into this sub-genre ends with surprising new favourites like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but mostly I'm left feeling a little underwhelmed. Many times, I'm thinking "yeah, that was quite a nice book" or "that had an important message" but I don't feel any emotional connection to it.The thing about Dumplin' is that it contains a great message. Willowdean "Dumplin'" Dumplin' might be the perfect example of why I don't tend to read light-hearted, fluffy contemporaries. Occasionally, my foray into this sub-genre ends with surprising new favourites like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but mostly I'm left feeling a little underwhelmed. Many times, I'm thinking "yeah, that was quite a nice book" or "that had an important message" but I don't feel any emotional connection to it.The thing about Dumplin' is that it contains a great message. Willowdean "Dumplin'" Dickson is fat - and no, that is NOT an insult to her. She deals with other people's judgey eyes but, for the most part, she doesn't care. She's happy with who she is and other people can go screw themselves if they think differently. I know that fat girls are supposed to be allergic to pools or whatever, but I love swimming. I mean, I’m not stupid. I know people stare, but they can’t blame me for wanting to cool off. And why should it even matter? What about having huge, bumpy thighs means that I need to apologize? This is an extremely body-positive book, which is a great thing. It's very much about breaking down stereotypes, learning not to judge, and learning to love yourself. Willowdean is not perfect and sometimes gets judgmental too when put in a bad mood, but she chastises herself for it: “And who the hell was that twiggy bitch?” As soon as it’s out of my mouth I regret it. All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on. Fat. Skinny. Short. Tall. It doesn’t matter. As well as this, it's very sex-positive too. Willow is a virgin but she offers support to her best friend when she chooses to sleep with her boyfriend and it doesn't turn into a drama-filled horror story when she finally does. Murphy introduces complex relationships between Willow and her friends and family. She also opened up an all new can of worms when she decided to include so many references to my beloved Dolly Parton (yes, I love her! yes, I have seen her in concert! she is a goddess of joy and inspiration). But more about that later.But I just think a book needs to have a little more than this to draw you in - it needs to be moving, thrilling, exciting or (as I thought this would be) funny. And it's not really any of those. I never laughed, teared up, realized something new, or wondered what would happen next. The pacing is slow and the actual pageant doesn't rear its head until the second half of the book. I like this book mostly because I'm glad a book with this message exists.Also, I understand why Murphy included the romance, but I never felt any chemistry between Willowdean and Bo, AND it did seem a little bit like wish fulfillment. I know the author wanted to show that big girls are not unattractive and have normal relationships and dates with guys, but did it really have to be a drop-dead gorgeous jock type? I had to roll my eyes at that one.But one last thing - DOLLY PARTON. If she is not currently your go-to playlist when you need a pick-me-up, you seriously need to get on it! Here, I'll help:WildflowersBackwoods BarbieBetter Get to Livin'Eagle When She FliesJust Because I'm a Woman (What a feminist!) I've always been misunderstood because of how I look.Don't judge me by the cover 'cause I'm a real good book. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest
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  • Wendy Darling
    January 1, 1970
    If this book were a movie, we'd all be at Julie Murphy's slumber party piled in front of the TV in our jammies, both screaming with laughter and clutching each other the minute someone leaned in for a kiss. This book is: Hilarious. Quietly poignant. Provocative. This book contains: Nuanced friendships and complex families. Romantic moments as sweet as puppy dog kisses. Lots of Dolly Parton songs. References to awesome books. And it's so great to find a book that is fiercely positive, most especi If this book were a movie, we'd all be at Julie Murphy's slumber party piled in front of the TV in our jammies, both screaming with laughter and clutching each other the minute someone leaned in for a kiss. This book is: Hilarious. Quietly poignant. Provocative. This book contains: Nuanced friendships and complex families. Romantic moments as sweet as puppy dog kisses. Lots of Dolly Parton songs. References to awesome books. And it's so great to find a book that is fiercely positive, most especially about body image, identity, and self-love. The best stories let you live for awhile in someone else's skin and allow you to experience the world in way you haven't before. Being inside Willowdean Dickson's head is a joy, not only because it's so easy to sympathize with and relate to her, but also because that sassy Texas attitude makes her so damned funny. I loved the everyday experiences of the first part of the book, when Will is going to work and school and dealing with drifting apart with her BFF, and struggling with her sadness over her aunt's recent death and her mom's imperviousness to her feelings. Not to mention the KISSES. I wasn't as into the pageant part that dominated the second half, but it was handled in a way that felt both realistic and satisfying. (Thank heaven it didn't feel false or manipulative--or even worse, zany.) True story: looking up "pageant mums" will both horrify and delight you. I'm also super jealous of all the kids who get to frequent Julie Murphy's branch, because she's got to be the coolest library lady that ever was. I've seen photos of that Where the Wild Things Are tattoo. Um...a more polished review at some point when it's not 3:30 in the morning. But seriously, put this one on your list.
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  • Faye, la Patata
    January 1, 1970
    Once upon a time, I was fat.I would have liked to use the nicer term "overweight", but who am I kidding? Almost weighing 70 kilos in my 5 feet 3 inches frame, I was fat and unhappy. I had big fucking boobs, big bulging sides, big buttcheeks, big arms, thighs that met together in at least one tangent, and the fact that my cheeks were already chubby without the added fat? Unhappiness galore. I tried to convince myself that even though I looked this way, I should still exude confidence because my p Once upon a time, I was fat.I would have liked to use the nicer term "overweight", but who am I kidding? Almost weighing 70 kilos in my 5 feet 3 inches frame, I was fat and unhappy. I had big fucking boobs, big bulging sides, big buttcheeks, big arms, thighs that met together in at least one tangent, and the fact that my cheeks were already chubby without the added fat? Unhappiness galore. I tried to convince myself that even though I looked this way, I should still exude confidence because my physical appearance didn't and shouldn't decide my worth as a person, but after countless, "Oh, dear! Look at how you've grown!" from uncles and aunts who drop by every 2 months, after having to look for pants two to three sizes larger because I gained more weight again, after having seen your friends get hit on and try out sexy-as-fuck clothes and look so effortlessly fabulous, and you were stuck with pants and loose shirts, it started getting old, and fast.It came to that point where whenever I heard the term mataba (fat) or malaki (big), I'd get so insecure and anxious. I'd want to get out of the scene and then hide until everyone was gone. I'd start thinking how inadequate I was, how much I was missing out on just because I wasn't as sexy or as fabulous as other girls. I'd start crying to myself why the fuck I was this way. Why did my mom had to come from a family of big people? Who didn't my dad come from a family that was tall and glamorous? I struggled so hard during this phase, and it became that motivation for me to shed down the weight, because I didn't want these wordsto keep haunting me like a ghost that just won't go away. It was mentally, emotionally, and psychologically traumatizing for me.I've lost weight then. I've become confident. I feel better now in my own skin and body.But I do wish this book had already existed during that time of my life, because maybe I wouldn't have hated myself that much then. Willowdean is fat, and she doesn't care. I mean, she does feel insecure about herself sometimes (like everybody else does), but she is fairly confident in her own body, although she does struggle with the judging and teasing of her peers when it comes to body types that are not deemed "beautiful" by society. Willow sets out to change that, by joining a beauty pageant, and inspiring deemed "fat/queer" girls to join her as well.I loved Will's character and attitude. She was a mix of the ME I was back then, and the ME that I wish I was back then. Her insecurities were the things that I was anxious about on a daily basis, the only difference is that Willow decided to do something about it, and to prove to others wrong that someone's being fat is not a cause for them to not do the things they want to do. That just become someone is queer doesn't mean they can't win a fucking beauty pageant. That just become someone has a buckteeth doesn't mean they can't feel and be beautiful. This was a light-hearted book that talked about heavy issues and made them inspiring, enlightening, and so, so positive.I used to be fat, and I used to be ashamed of it. Willow made me realize just how wrong I was for feeling so, for letting people's opinions weigh me down and decide how worthy I was. Fat is just an adjective, but that doesn't make up the whole of me.Aside from the strong messages that was in this book, I was in awe of the female friendships and family dynamics that were portrayed here, and how much Will has grown so much as a character through these unexpected bonds. There were so many complex themes that played out between each and every one of them - the relationship between a fat daughter and a mother who was still stuck in her glorious days as a beauty pageant winner; between two best friends who come from two opposite sides of the spectrum; between a girl and a boy whose worlds are far apart; among four females who were shunned as outcasts because of how they looked. I loved each and every one of them, and how positive this book made them out be. Yes, there were drama, but it wasn't the exhausting kind where you'd want to haul the book into the trash can. They were the kind that tingled and pulled your heart a little bit, then warmed you all over.Plus, there's a ship that unexpectedly made me want to clutch my heart. A romance rarely does that to me.Dumplin' is something to behold. It speaks to every one of us who have felt insecure and frustrated with ourselves - by the way we look, or the way we act, or simply because by the way we simply are, all insecurities brought about by social pressure and norms. It speaks to that side of us who looked for reasons to feel confident in ourselves. This book gives that to you and lets you realize that at the end of the day, we're not made up by the labels society imposes upon us. I am me because of the experiences, values, and things that make up me; and you are you for the same reasons, too. Fat, or short, or queer, or straight, or thin, or healthy - who the fuck cares? Let's not make these things define us. Life is so much more than that.This book makes you want to scream, "Yeah, I used to be fat! Maybe in the future I'll get fat again! But you know what? FUCK THAT SHIT CAUSE EITHER WAY I'M BEAUTIFUL!"
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  • Natalie Monroe
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars "If you're gonna go, then goShe said to me on the phoneSo tired of hearin' all yourBoy problemsIf you're gonna stay then stayHe's not gonna change anywaySo tired of hearin' all yourBoy problems" Dumplin' is about Dolly Parton and I opened with a Carly Rae Jepsen song. One, because I'm not familiar with Dolly's music. Two, Boy Problems describes Dumplin' perfectly. I'd wager half the book is angst over boys and romance instead of the promised pageant revolution. Willowdean is fat—and 2.5 stars "If you're gonna go, then goShe said to me on the phoneSo tired of hearin' all yourBoy problemsIf you're gonna stay then stayHe's not gonna change anywaySo tired of hearin' all yourBoy problems" Dumplin' is about Dolly Parton and I opened with a Carly Rae Jepsen song. One, because I'm not familiar with Dolly's music. Two, Boy Problems describes Dumplin' perfectly. I'd wager half the book is angst over boys and romance instead of the promised pageant revolution. Willowdean is fat—and she knows it. She doesn't go on unnecessary diets to change herself and is comfortable enough to slip on a swimsuit and go swimming with her bestie. "There's something about swimsuits that make you think you've got to earn the right to wear them. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it." Then she meets a boy at work, Bo, commonly referred to as Peachbutt because he's a fine slice of fruit on a summer's day. Nearing the school year, she breaks up with him because she can't stand the stares that comes with a fat girl dating a cute guy.Here's where Dumplin' falls apart for me. Based on the blurb, I anticipated Willowdean to be a sassmaster confident in her own skin. Instead I get an angsty insecure mess told in a, frankly, run-of-the-mill YA heroine narrative voice. I wanted punch and fizz and got milk and cinnamon. There's nothing wrong with feeling inadequate about your body. It's a natural feeling and on any other occasion, I would be thrilled to see it addressed in such a relatable manner. But it's not what I ordered. It's not what the blurb promised. For once, I wanted to read a book narrated by a heavyset girl who doesn't give two fucks about her weight or what strangers think. And joins a beauty pageant to show 'em fat-bottomed girls make the rockin' world go round.Willowdean doesn't join the pageant until halfway through and that's after endless fluffy moments and boring everyday occurrences. The pacing is ridiculously slow. I didn't expect romance to make up a huge chunk and for it to be utter wish-fulfillment. Seriously, what are the odds of two guys—one hot loner (Bo) and a football player (Mitch)—being interested in the same girl? Willowdean leads Mitch on, let's get that out of the way. No, it's not a matter of male privilege. Willowdean has done squat to demonstrate she's not interested in him, despite pining for Peachbutt. They've gone on on dates, they've held hands, they've kissed—she freaking writes his name on her face in permanent marker to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins dance. "I shouldn't but I move to kiss [Bo]. My nerves hum and this moment when my body feels both chaotic and determined is what was missing with Mitch." It's selfish, disgusting, and destroyed any redeeming qualities this book had, like female friendships and a positive outlook on sex.Ultimately, I'd compare Dumplin' to Meghan Trainor's hit All About That Bass. It attempts to promote a body-positive message, but ends up shading women who aren't curvy. Dumplin' had the ingredients for success and squandered them. What a waste of potential. ARC provided by Edelweiss. All quotes taken from an uncorrected galley proof and may be subject to change.
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  • Whitney Atkinson
    January 1, 1970
    I had such high hopes for this book but it was just.... average. The characters weren't amazing, the story wasn't amazing, etc. I was really excited to read this because I love reading books about fat girls, but her size was rarely mentioned. I know the book isn't supposed to focus on her weight, but I found it a little less relatable than i'd like because it failed to give descriptions of her size. Like at one point near the end of the book, it was talking about how she pulled her knees up to h I had such high hopes for this book but it was just.... average. The characters weren't amazing, the story wasn't amazing, etc. I was really excited to read this because I love reading books about fat girls, but her size was rarely mentioned. I know the book isn't supposed to focus on her weight, but I found it a little less relatable than i'd like because it failed to give descriptions of her size. Like at one point near the end of the book, it was talking about how she pulled her knees up to her chest and the fat girl in me just went nuh-uh. my knees haven't touched my chest in 17 years. But anyway, this book was just forgettable, and it makes me sad because I was really looking forward to this. Nothing about it was grand and spectacular, and although I liked the writing style, I wish it could have been tweaked to pack more of a punch. The beauty pagaent that this book centers around took place in like 20 pages and there was barely any explanation about it. I would still suggest reading this, but if this is one of your most anticipated books of 2015 like it was for me, you might work on lowering those expectations right about now.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    4.25 stars! “Find out who you are and do it on purpose” -Dolly Parton Dumplin’ was one of those books I devoured. When I listen to an audio book, I know I’m really into it when I have great books sitting on my kindle waiting for me to read, but I’m finding inconsequential tasks to do around the house just so I can listen. It took me less than 2 days to listen to this book, which is super fast for me. There are so many parts in this story that were relatable to me. I adored our heroine, Ms. 4.25 stars! “Find out who you are and do it on purpose” -Dolly Parton Dumplin’ was one of those books I devoured. When I listen to an audio book, I know I’m really into it when I have great books sitting on my kindle waiting for me to read, but I’m finding inconsequential tasks to do around the house just so I can listen. It took me less than 2 days to listen to this book, which is super fast for me. There are so many parts in this story that were relatable to me. I adored our heroine, Ms. Willowdean Dixon. Our leading lady has an ex-beauty queen mother, her best friend Ellen, and an addiction to all things Dolly Parton. She’s in high school and has just recently started working at Harpy’s, a local fast food joint. It’s there that she meets Bo. Bo used to be a jock and is someone Will is attracted to. She’s shocked when she finds out he likes her too. This story has an element of romance, which I loved, but that’s not what the story was about. It was, more than anything, a story of acceptance and self discovery. Willowdean doesn’t have the same body most of her friends do. I wouldn’t say she’s fine or happy with it, she has insecurities just like everyone else, but slowly she embraces who she is. She realizes that no one has the right to comment on anyones body but their own. “All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on.” Will decides, to prove a point, she will enter the beauty pageant her mother once won and helps run every year. Along with a fun group of misfit girls from her high school, she makes a stand. I grew to love this group of girls and the effect they had on Willowdean. There was so much I loved about this book. I could feel all of Will’s insecurities as if they were my own. I loved watching her grown and triumph. It was a pretty perfect story. If only the ending wasn’t so rushed. I feel as a romance reader, I’m pretty spoiled when it comes to epic HEA’s and fantastic epilogues. And I liked the way it ended, I did… but I wanted more! Either way, this was a great read. Probably one of the best YA’s I’ve read this year. If it wasn’t for the ending not giving me as much as I wanted, it would have been a 5.
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  • Kelly (and the Book Boar)
    January 1, 1970
    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Most of my friends gave this one a “meh” rating, but I FREAKING LOOOOOOOOVED it . . . They obviously all read it wrong (j/k). They also might have actually ponied up some dollars for it, but it was gifted to me by a wee tipsy witch on Festivus Eve.Meet Willowdean Dickson . . . “That’s me. I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least it’s not when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way?” Remind you o Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/Most of my friends gave this one a “meh” rating, but I FREAKING LOOOOOOOOVED it . . . They obviously all read it wrong (j/k). They also might have actually ponied up some dollars for it, but it was gifted to me by a wee tipsy witch on Festivus Eve.Meet Willowdean Dickson . . . “That’s me. I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least it’s not when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way?” Remind you of anyone????? Yep. Me too. It didn’t take long, however, to realize that Willowdean’s sassy persona was merely a front and that she was your average, insecure, teenaged girl. And I loved her. In a world of YA where the characters’ voices sound older than a geezer like me it was refreshing to read someone so realistic. So what was Willowdean’s story about? Well, pull up a chair and let me fangirl tell you. Willowdean (or Dumplin’ as her momma calls her) is a plus-sized 16 year old who lives waaaaaay down South in Texas with her momma, a former beauty queen and current organizer of her small town’s annual local pageant . . . When not attending school or hanging with her bestie Ellen, Will works part-time at the local Harpy’s – which my brain WOULD. NOT. STOP. calling “Hardee’s” and I’ve been craving a monster thickburger ever since . . . (You’re welcome, fellas)Anywho. Needless to say, Willowdean’s day-to-day is not one filled with thrills and chills. That is until her new co-worker “Private School Bo” takes an interest in her . . . “My first kiss, which took place behind a Harpy’s Burgers & Dogs and next to a dumpster full of day-old trash. Yes, it was perfect.” It was perfect until Will realizes that Bo will be switching schools and apparently their summer romance wasn’t quite what she thought it was . . . . (*insert sad face*)And that’s when Willowdean decides enough is enough and it’s high time people get treated like people no matter what their size. How is she going to bridge the gap between fat and thin? Why, by entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant, of course. But she can’t do it on her own . . . This book may not have been perfect, but I gobbled it right up anyway. My only real complaint? The romance. I realize that the heart wants what it wants (thank you, Selena Gomez), but does it always have to be this guy???? (*cough douche cough*)Why can’t it be this guy every once in awhile???? Realistically, if I were a teenager again I’d probably be shallow and go for the hot one too so I can’t get too angry. Especially if he said stuff like this . . . “Willowdean Opal Dickson, you are beautiful. Fuck anyone who’s ever made you feel anything less.” Plus, when complete and total A.W.E.S.O.M.E. is also contained within the pages . . . Nearly anything can be forgiven. It’s time every girl realizes . . . “There’s a beauty queen in that cute, little fat girl.”“No,” I say. “That cute little fat girl IS a beauty queen.” And then when you grow up? You can REALLY be brave . . . https://vimeo.com/125347592 My friend Anna liked this one even more than I did and wrote up a great review. Go check it out.
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  • Maureen
    January 1, 1970
    THAT'S HOW IT ENDS???? I NEED MORE.I really REALLY liked this book. The message is SUPER SOLID and fantastic, and we need more books like this.Will is an incredible character, and all the supporting characters are so great as well. I really loved Millie and her ability to shine so bright no matter what anyone else thought. The relationships in this book were super solid, even through the ups and downs, and it was so great to see so much female friendship.My main reasons that it's not a 5 star bo THAT'S HOW IT ENDS???? I NEED MORE.I really REALLY liked this book. The message is SUPER SOLID and fantastic, and we need more books like this.Will is an incredible character, and all the supporting characters are so great as well. I really loved Millie and her ability to shine so bright no matter what anyone else thought. The relationships in this book were super solid, even through the ups and downs, and it was so great to see so much female friendship.My main reasons that it's not a 5 star book is that some of it didn't feel very cohesive and didn't flow super well, and one of my least favorite tropes is in this book. I can't handle more of it sorry (and I can't say what it is because spoilers.Overall really great book with an amazing message - it doesn't matter what you look like, but who you are.
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  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    January 1, 1970
    YAS! Here's my video review - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Yu0...
  • Glass
    January 1, 1970
    Dear Julie Murphy,
  • C.G. Drews
    January 1, 1970
    Well, WOW, that was a breath of fresh air. I was freakishly worried about this book because I loathed Side Effects May Vary. But you know what? Dumplin' was INCREDIBLE. There were a few things I was pretty squinty about (basically the romance) but it was so realistic and down-to-earth and refreshing and SOUTHERN Y'ALL. (Warning: I am Australia. I don't even know what Southern is. The ya'll's just amuse me.) Oh! Oh! OH! And the best part? It's about a beauty pagent so do you know what comes next? Well, WOW, that was a breath of fresh air. I was freakishly worried about this book because I loathed Side Effects May Vary. But you know what? Dumplin' was INCREDIBLE. There were a few things I was pretty squinty about (basically the romance) but it was so realistic and down-to-earth and refreshing and SOUTHERN Y'ALL. (Warning: I am Australia. I don't even know what Southern is. The ya'll's just amuse me.) Oh! Oh! OH! And the best part? It's about a beauty pagent so do you know what comes next?DO YA?Heck yes.(I love that movie, by the way. It is incredible. Also Michael Caine. BUT MOVING ON.)The characters are downright fabulous. They're not perfect, gosh, they're riddled with flaws, but everyone is interesting and dimensional. I didn't agree with all the characters actions...actually, Willowdean (the protagonist) rubbed me up the wrong way A LOT, but I can't deny how real she felt. I'm pretty sure any girl will relate to her struggles and insecurities. And gosh, she's a character. She introduced her self as "Cashier, Dolly Parton enthusiast, and resident fat girl."She's complex. She's really brave and doesn't give a damn what people think...most of the time. She's still insecure about her body, but -- she wants to be HAPPY in her body. She doesn't want to change. She doesn't believe she should have to change, and I really admired this. She doesn't run around being "preachy" but she stands up for other girls and when a guy catcalls, she yells obscenities back. Willowdean is the kind of protagonist I've LONGED to read about forever. And the writing? It's very detailed and vivid. Granted, this made for slow reading, though. I'm usually a speed-reader, but I felt I had to physically slow down so I could get all the little snippets. WHICH IS GOOD. I feel like almost every sentence was utilising the sentences and painting pictures and making sure I, as the reader, was totally embroiled in the story. It mad the characters POP too. OTHER THINGS I REALLY LIKED:+ It's not set solely in high school! YAY. Most of the setting, actually, is at the fastfood place they work at.+ It's hilarious when the mother (who is in charge of the pageant) gets all righteous about how it's "not a joke" and how it's "so important" it just reminded me of Miss Congeniality so so much.+ How there's a lot of emphasis on friends! And that growing different and up doesn't have to mean growing apart (though sometimes it can).+ And how it smacked down cliches: like jocks aren't always stupid, and the silent broody guy isn't just beautiful and sexy -- sometimes he's a jerk too.+ How the protagonist was pretty much a normal average person -- school, work, TV, tada. No eccentriciies. (Although I do love eccentric characters, it's nice to have someone more down-to-earth once in a while.) + Oh and there were tacos.Okay, but we gotta talk about this cringing romance. It's not a smooth-clean-nice romance, and I GET THAT. It's realistic! When society views you as looking "wrong" (like Willowdean is "fat") then you're going to be plagued by anxieties. But I felt Willowdean was just a bit pathetic about this. And deluded?! Like, she wallows in thinking now one is ever going to love her -- but she basically has two dudes by the end. I MEAN, COME ON. REALLY??? I always feel weird about triangle-type relationships, because one side is always leading someone on and that's unfair and cruel. BUT ANYWAY. So Willowdean meets Bo (which is an adorable name, and reminds me of Po from Graceling, whom I also adore) at work and they have a tentative summery fling. THEN THEY BREAK UP TRAGICALLY. Why? That is an excellent question, my friends. I have no idea. I don't understand what went wrong between them. And I was focusing! I feel like it was equal parts of fault...Bo wasn't communicating the boundaries of their relationship (like would they continue or break up after summer?) and Willowdean was so OBSESSED with the fact that she was unwantable, that she made herself be unwantable by walking away. Like. what.(Anyway, I could be wrong about my analysation of their feelings. It was just so confusing for me to read.)Willowdean is very self-centred. Which was hard to read about, because I can't really fathom how you can exist so deep in your own bubble that you miss what's going on. She has a mega-fight with her best friend (over selfish reasons) and she loses the boy she loves...all because it's all about HER?! I really struggled with this.But otherwise, I feel like this is a super EMPOWERING book! It left me feeling encouraged! It left me with an epic list of quotes that I want to just, possibly, eat because they were so good. It was just so refreshing to read about a girl who isn't skinny but that's not who she is (like she's not enslaved by food through this book, actually, no binge-eating or purging). She's just a teen trying to find her way in the world. And she messes up SO BAD. But that's also realistic. And the ending is unexpected, a little bittersweet, and heartwarming. Although the romance is TOTALLY left hanging. But whatever. I'm pleased with this Dumplin. I am.***NOTABLE QUOTES OF AWESOME ****These quotes are from an ARC and should not be elsewhere, okay, yeah? I'm probs evil for posting them here BUT I CAN'T HELP IT. They be so good."There was some old guy catcallin' from the drive-thru. Called me sweetcheeks.""Awww," she says. "Well, that's kind of flattering if you think about it.""Mama, come on. No, that's gross."(Bless this Willowdean.)"Plus having sex doesn't make you a woman. That is so freaking cliche. If you want to have sex, have sex, but don't make it this huge thing that carries all this weight. You're setting yourself up for disappointment."I understand that life after highschool is probably something I should be thinking about, but I can't picture me in college and I don't know how to plan for something I can't imagine.I take one deep breath as I check the to-go bag supply underneath the register. "It's been a long day. Need some space."Marcus mumbles something about PMS and to my surprise, from the kitchen, Bo says, "Why can't she just be having a shitty day? You don't need to make up some bullshit reason why.""You're missing out on so much." She takes a step toward me. "Boys and dating. That kind of stuff."I scrub my hands down my face. "You have got to be kidding me. News flash, Mom: a man will not cure my troubles."I hear things like, "so horrible" or "I'm sorry, but she's hideous" or "why doesn't she get braces?"That last one is the sentiment that stays with me all day because Hannah shouldn't have to get braces. Maybe she can't afford them or maybe she's scared to get them. Either way, she shouldn't have to fill her mouth with metal so that some shitheads will leave her alone.
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  • Inge
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 stars
  • may ❀
    January 1, 1970
    DNF @ 65% What started off as beautiful body positive book. . . I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least it’s not when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way? and I know that fat girls are supposed to be allergic to pools or whatever, but I love swimming… I know people stare, but they can’t blame me for wanting to cool off…What about having huge, bumpy thighs means that I need to apologize? Slowly turned into…constant judgement ???!!??I’m fat, but Milli DNF @ 65% What started off as beautiful body positive book. . . I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least it’s not when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way? and I know that fat girls are supposed to be allergic to pools or whatever, but I love swimming… I know people stare, but they can’t blame me for wanting to cool off…What about having huge, bumpy thighs means that I need to apologize? Slowly turned into…constant judgement ???!!??I’m fat, but Millie’s the type of fat that requires elastic waist pants because they don’t make pants with buttons and zippers in her size. Her eyes are too close together and her nose pinches up at the end. She wears shirts with puppies and kittens and not in an ironic way. Which ultimately turned into. . . My Scientific Opinion: This place is a shithole and all the girls who work here are vapid skanks who treat me like El’s charity case friend. And we got an open invitation to the Self-Pitying Party. . . My illusions of our after-school romance are dissolving like vapor… I won’t be ridiculed. I won’t be one-half of the couple who everyone stares at and asks, //How did she get him?// Omg a hot guy likes you??? But you don’t want him to like you in public??? You won’t even tell your best friend about him bc your jealous she’s making friends besides you ??? and then you blame it on the guy bc CLEARLY he’s at fault???hmmmm10/10 rational thinking going on here. Also love triangle warning ahead. Not only is this fabulous girl able to score her smokin’ hot crush but one of the FOOTBALL players is also checking her out, is there ANYTHING this girl, CAN’T do??!!???Anyways, it seems to be a good book but I have 0 energy to put up with the drama that tags along. Meh.Less judgement, more body positivity and friendship, please. “I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won't zip.” 1.5 stars!!! (cause it made me laugh)
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Dumplin’ is the story of Willowdean Dickson, a fat girl from a small town that hosts the oldest beauty pageant in Texas. After the sudden death of her beloved aunt, Will decides to honor her memory by signing up for the pageant. She wants to try something that her aunt had always denied herself because of her own insecurities about her weight. Now Will suddenly finds herself contending with becoming a beauty queen, her crazy pageant mother, an angry best friend, two cute boys… and maybe a small Dumplin’ is the story of Willowdean Dickson, a fat girl from a small town that hosts the oldest beauty pageant in Texas. After the sudden death of her beloved aunt, Will decides to honor her memory by signing up for the pageant. She wants to try something that her aunt had always denied herself because of her own insecurities about her weight. Now Will suddenly finds herself contending with becoming a beauty queen, her crazy pageant mother, an angry best friend, two cute boys… and maybe a small revolution. Full disclosure, I know Julie, and love her very much as a person. She is also, however, an excellent writer. The writing in Dumplin’ is as funny and self-assured as its narrator. From the first sentence I was so immersed in the world that I felt myself dripping with Texas summer sweat. Willowdean, in particular, feels wonderfully real. She’s not cripplingly insecure, but she’s not superhumanly confidant either. Just like most of us! I loved her so much, and got so caught up in her story, that I had to buy an extra charger at the airport. There was NO WAY I was going to let my kindle die without knowing how the whole thing ended.Essential reading for everyone who has ever felt uncomfortable in their own skin… which is everyone.
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  • Aj the Ravenous Reader
    January 1, 1970
    “There’s something about swimsuits that make you think you’ve got to earn the right to wear them. And that’s wrong. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it.” This is one completely adorable, funny, heartwarming and inspiring contemporary YA. I regret that I hadn’t read it sooner. I love the main purpose that the book wants to put across. People spend too much time thinking they’re too fat or too thin, eyes too far apart or too close together, teeth too big or “There’s something about swimsuits that make you think you’ve got to earn the right to wear them. And that’s wrong. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it.” This is one completely adorable, funny, heartwarming and inspiring contemporary YA. I regret that I hadn’t read it sooner. I love the main purpose that the book wants to put across. People spend too much time thinking they’re too fat or too thin, eyes too far apart or too close together, teeth too big or too small, skin too dark or too pale. Perhaps it’s true that somebody else is always going to be better but so what? Nobody is perfect and yes that’s cliché but in order to be comfortable with ourselves, that’s the only way to think. Every person has insecurities even Jon Snow (no matter how confident, handsome and haaawt he looks *sighs*) and that’s perfectly okay because what a dull life would it be if we all had been so confident and so sure of ourselves all the time. These inspiring ideas were realistically and genuinely portrayed in the story through Dumplin’, the main character who is gorgeous, fat, confident, funny, awkward, beautiful and insecure all at the same time. Her uncertainties about herself are what make her human. They’re what make her relatable and true. I love the statement that she made by entering a pageant. She rocks!The book is another eye-opening experience for me because I’m often guilty of commenting on other people’s body especially when I think they’re too thin. Simple comments like “You really should eat more” seems sweet and harmless to me until I’ve read the book reminding me that I am in no position to comment on anyone’s body unless it’s mine. I think this is a must read for every teenager out there, for everybody actually.
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  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
    January 1, 1970
    Overall a really cute and fun story with a great moral!Video review soon (once school slows down a bit)
  • ♛Tash
    January 1, 1970
    "I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least it’s not when I say it." I love this charming book about courage, set in South Texas with a Dolly Parton soundtrack. I was gonna say body image, but truth is, body image is not the central theme of this book. It figures some of course, but it’s more about the courage to retain your shape when the world dictates you to be another.Willowdean Dickson,Dumplin' to her former beauty queen Mom, is completely fine being fat (not a pejorative "I’m fat. It’s not a cuss word. It’s not an insult. At least it’s not when I say it." I love this charming book about courage, set in South Texas with a Dolly Parton soundtrack. I was gonna say body image, but truth is, body image is not the central theme of this book. It figures some of course, but it’s more about the courage to retain your shape when the world dictates you to be another.Willowdean Dickson,Dumplin' to her former beauty queen Mom, is completely fine being fat (not a pejorative term). She’s happy with the fact that she wears drawstring skirts instead of pants for her Harpy’s uniform and being a third-wheel to her bestfriend, El and secretly crushing on fry-cook hottie Private School Bo. She's content with her life until she starts having make-out sessions with Private School Bo. Instead of getting that confidence boost when a crush likes you back, Will finds herself sunk in self-doubt and insecurity.At this point in the book, I also began to doubt myself, am I really as open-minded as I think I am, or am I just a bloody hypocrite? When Bo shows the tiniest bit of interest in Will, I was immediately suspicious of him and was waiting for the big reveal of his ulterior motive, because why else would a hot former jock with sleeve-popping biceps be interested in a fat girl? When a “safer”option in the form of a shy, sweet, plain guy was given to Will, I rooted for him instead “I terrify you”? The thought of it makes me feel bad, but it’s kind of nice, too. To not feel like the one who’s about the jump out of their skin all the time.” Yes, I am a hypocrite, it is a bitter pill to swallow while reading this otherwise empowering novel. Good thing Julie Murphy isn’t like me, she believes that the fat, the unevenly legged, the bucktoothed girls (and boys) also deserve the hot guy (or girl) and the crown.In her quest to regain the confidence lost from her summer fling with Bo, she decides to join Miss Teen Blue Bonnet. With this, she inspires and alienates the people in her town. This is the part when we see how expertly Julie Murphy writes Will’s character. Will is level-headed, funny and sassy. She has quips like: “liberally spread salad dressing across my plate because on the eight day God created ranch dressing”, but she gets angry when her mother suggests diet and exercise, and she also holds certain prejudice against girls who are fatter than she is. In short, Will is a wonderfully complex character and a witty narrator. "I think you gotta be who you want to be until you feel like you are whoever is you're trying to become. Sometimes half of doing something is pretending that you can." If you are looking for a book that is body & female-friendship positive with a side of romance and humor then add Dumplin' to your TBRs people. Add it!***arc gifted by the publisher for an honest review***
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  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    January 1, 1970
    Re-read 5/26/18: I DID IT. I re-read Dumplin’. And I have to say, while I still think Willowdean is honestly the worst, I didn’t hate her with the fire of a thousand suns like I used to. She sucked, but the rest of the book was pretty dang cute and I really liked everyone BUT Willowdean lol. 3.5 stars! Also check out 2015 Chelsea down below trying not to be mean. I hated the book but refused to say so lmao how times change!Original read 9/22/15: I liked this, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't Re-read 5/26/18: I DID IT. I re-read Dumplin’. And I have to say, while I still think Willowdean is honestly the worst, I didn’t hate her with the fire of a thousand suns like I used to. She sucked, but the rest of the book was pretty dang cute and I really liked everyone BUT Willowdean lol. 3.5 stars! Also check out 2015 Chelsea down below trying not to be mean. I hated the book but refused to say so lmao how times change!Original read 9/22/15: I liked this, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't want more from it :/ I feel like there was simultaneously too much and not enough going on. Plus Willowdean (GREAT name though. 10 points for that alone) was a little too bitchy for me. I feel like I'm being too negative. I DID enjoy this. It just wasn't quite what I was hoping for.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Dumpling(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) “Dolly Parton is singing to some mysterious Jolene who she thinks is more beautiful and more worthy than her, begging her not to take her man. It’s catchy and everyone knows the words, but to me, it's this reminder that no matter who you are, there will always be someone prettier or smarter or thinner." This was a YA contemporary romance story, about a girl who thou Dumpling(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.) “Dolly Parton is singing to some mysterious Jolene who she thinks is more beautiful and more worthy than her, begging her not to take her man. It’s catchy and everyone knows the words, but to me, it's this reminder that no matter who you are, there will always be someone prettier or smarter or thinner." This was a YA contemporary romance story, about a girl who thought she was too fat to have a relationship with a hot boy.I felt quite sorry for Willowdean in this story. It wasn’t easy for her to be overweight in a place that loved it’s beauty queens, and the way she felt like she wasn’t good enough for the boy that she liked was also sad. "Things didn't work out? You ended it. I didn't even get a choice." The storyline in this was about Willowdean’s life, her relationship with her mother and her dead aunt, and her problems when it came to her love life. It was sad the way she felt like people would wonder why she was with Bo, and how she had managed to snag him when she was fat, and tried to sabotage the relationship because of that. "Have you ever thought about what people will think? What they'll say when they see us together holding hands?" The ending to this was fairly happy, and it was brave of Willowdean to do what she did at the pageant.6.5 out of 10
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  • Eve
    January 1, 1970
    “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”–Dolly PartonThis was such a refreshing, light read! Willowdean Dickson is a curvacious sixteen-year-old living in a small Texas town. For as long as Willow can remember, the only things that are certain in Clover City are its yearly beauty pageant, high school football and the loyalty of her best friend, Ellen.The latter shifts when the two friends start heading down different paths. All of a sudden, Willow is forced out of her com “You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.”–Dolly PartonThis was such a refreshing, light read! Willowdean Dickson is a curvacious sixteen-year-old living in a small Texas town. For as long as Willow can remember, the only things that are certain in Clover City are its yearly beauty pageant, high school football and the loyalty of her best friend, Ellen.The latter shifts when the two friends start heading down different paths. All of a sudden, Willow is forced out of her comfort zone. Although she’s never cared a hoot about what people thought about her size, circumstances suddenly make her question everything she thought she understood about herself.I really liked the “real” portrayal of towns like Clover City. They really do exist, and I was reminded of the Drew Barrymore film, Home Fries. The other thing I especially appreciated was that Willow was a character that many young adults and adults can relate to. I’m so glad her weight or size was never disclosed in the book; she was just a character who never really felt like she “fit” into the idealized body images portrayed by Hollywood or in fiction.I oscillated between sizes 10 and 12 in high school, and though I wasn’t overweight, it never escaped my notice that most girls in school wore single digit sizes. It made me feel self-conscious, especially in the girls’ locker room. Books like these and all of Ricki Lake’s movies are great tools that remind you that you have to love and accept yourself. Sure, that’s always an ongoing process, but when you’re working toward that…it makes you a little bit braver than you were the day before. We’ve all got an inner Dolly in us–let her shine!
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  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsI enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. A fun and fast read, it had some great body positive messages in it. I wish this book had been around when I was in high school.
  • Book Riot Community
    January 1, 1970
    Earlier this summer, I talked about fat phobia in YA and noted that I hadn’t yet read Dumplin’ but had read a lot of positive reviews of it. It’s everything I wanted and more. This is a book where Willowdean, a fat girl who knows she’s fat and owns her body as such, but it’s a story about grief, about family, and about Dolly Parton impersonators. There is a sweet relationship that develops here, and I thought the experiences Willowdean had as a fat girl were realistic, honest, and vulnerable — a Earlier this summer, I talked about fat phobia in YA and noted that I hadn’t yet read Dumplin’ but had read a lot of positive reviews of it. It’s everything I wanted and more. This is a book where Willowdean, a fat girl who knows she’s fat and owns her body as such, but it’s a story about grief, about family, and about Dolly Parton impersonators. There is a sweet relationship that develops here, and I thought the experiences Willowdean had as a fat girl were realistic, honest, and vulnerable — a key element that so many of these books lack.Willowdean has a real voice, and her voice isn’t 100% confident all the time. Despite being comfortable in her own skin, she has moments of absolutely feeling crushed beneath the expectations the world around her has for her and her body. And those things rang so painfully, authentically true.We rarely get stories where the fat girl gets to be funny, have friendships, have romances, and have challenges unrelated to her body/”health” of her body. More, we rarely get them where the voice is key. And that’s because as a society, we silence fat people. We make them invisible. We make them make themselves disappear (and I say this as someone who has certainly seen the looks people give when you are climbing into an airplane seat or a bus seat and are made to shrink yourself, as to not take up space that you paid for and can fit perfectly within). So that Murphy gives Willowdean that voice? That’s powerful as hell, and teen girls who read this….FAT teen girls who read this…will see that they matter. That they are seen. That THEIR lives matter and are important and they are welcome and encouraged to take up all the space in their lives that they need to.I only wish I could hand this book to my high school self. But I’m so glad it’s there for today’s readers. — Kelly Jensenfrom The Best Books We Read In August: http://bookriot.com/2015/08/31/riot-r...
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    You know, there's not one thing I didn't like about this book.But the thing that stands out the most -- the thing that will cement this book for me as so, so good and so, so important -- is how much Willowdean has a real VOICE. That her voice isn't 100% confident all the time. That, despite being comfortable in her own skin, she has moments of absolutely feeling crushed beneath the expectations the world around her has for her and her body. And those things rang so painfully, authentically true You know, there's not one thing I didn't like about this book.But the thing that stands out the most -- the thing that will cement this book for me as so, so good and so, so important -- is how much Willowdean has a real VOICE. That her voice isn't 100% confident all the time. That, despite being comfortable in her own skin, she has moments of absolutely feeling crushed beneath the expectations the world around her has for her and her body. And those things rang so painfully, authentically true to me. We rarely get stories where the fat girl gets to be funny, have friendships, have romances, and have challenges unrelated to her body/"health" of her body. More, we rarely get them where the voice is key. And that's because as a society, we silence fat people. We make them invisible. We make them make themselves disappear (and I say this as someone who has certainly seen the looks people give when you are climbing into an airplane seat or a bus seat and are made to shrink yourself, as to not take up space that you paid for and can fit perfectly within). So that Murphy gives Willowdean that voice? That's powerful as hell, and teen girls who read this....FAT teen girls who read this...will see that they matter. That they are seen. That THEIR lives matter and are important and they are welcome and encouraged to take up all the space in their lives that they need to.I'm going to have to write more about this. But I love the shit out of this. It's feminist as hell, it's empowering as hell, and it's just real. It's the real deal.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    SO this rating is probably closer to 2.5 stars but I decided to round it down because, even though I enjoyed this book, it has too many flaws to be worth a three star rating. My main problem with this was that it was heralded as a book about body positivity and acceptance but it felt far from it. I found Willowdean to be quite a hypocritical character in general. Her internal monologue was filled with her judging other people; Millie, for example, who Willow points out as 'the type of fat that r SO this rating is probably closer to 2.5 stars but I decided to round it down because, even though I enjoyed this book, it has too many flaws to be worth a three star rating. My main problem with this was that it was heralded as a book about body positivity and acceptance but it felt far from it. I found Willowdean to be quite a hypocritical character in general. Her internal monologue was filled with her judging other people; Millie, for example, who Willow points out as 'the type of fat that requires elastic waist pants because they don't make pants with buttons and zippers in her size'. I was even more frustrated that Willow was annoyed and indignant when another student was made fun of. I honestly saw Willow as no better than the other students- the only difference was that Willow didn't bully them to their face. I don't think that saying she was ashamed to admit something makes it even slightly better. She judges other people to make herself feel better. Rather than eliciting sympathy from me, I was appalled by Willow for being such a judgement butt-head. Furthermore, Willowdean bragged about being confident in her own skin (yaasss you go gurl!) but resorted to shaming other people and their bodies. As I mentioned before, she makes fun of Millie on page three (!!!!) to make herself feel better for not being 'that kind of fat'. What? She also shames skinny people, referring to one as a 'twiggy bitch'. Having read this book, I now understand the comparison drawn between it and that annoying 'All About That Bass' song. The basic message seemed to be that being curvy is okay, and being confident is even better, but fuck skinny girls. I just couldn't get past the hypocrisy of it. (I should point out that I don't think Willow is a bad character because she is insecure or flawed. I am insecure so I understand that facet of her. I found it frustrating that she was so judgmental of other people's insecurities. It was a really unlikable trait for her character to have.)It also frustrated me to no end how when Ellen decides to be supportive and enter the pageant with her, Willow gets all shitty and tells her to drop out. Your friend is trying to support you and you tell her that her support isn't wanted. WHAT?! As Ellen says "You can’t pick and choose who joins the revolution.” I would have thought that standing strong and united with your best friend would be ideal, but apparently not. I also hated the way Willow treated her mother. I always sided with the mum in arguments. I can understand how her mother telling her to lose weight caused drama but Willow literally has 'a handful of pretzels and a soda' for dinner one night. That isn't at all healthy. That is dying of diabetes at 40 level unhealthy. I'm all for body acceptance as a movement. But body acceptance is for people who have lost limbs, or suffered burns, or worked hard to overcome the stigma attached to their body type; not for a teenager like Willow who wants to have pretzels for dinner instead of the healthy meal her mum made. It's unhealthy and I sound mean saying so, but that's just the way I see it. I did enjoy the last portion of the book. I enjoyed the pageant and the drama surrounding it. As a whole, this book was entertaining. I liked parts of it but found Willow annoying like 80% of the time. I found the love triangle to be kind of unnecessary; her friendship with Mitch was great and I liked it but I don't think complicating it with romance achieved anything. This book was meant to be about Willow overcoming the judgement to be her most confident self, not picking which boy she liked more. Some of the parts about grief and growing up were touching and lovely. Favourite character award is a tie between Millie and Ellen because they were awesome. I don't know if I'd recommend this book to people, but I won't warn them away from it either.
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  • Giselle (Book Nerd Canada)
    January 1, 1970
    An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review.I went into Dumplin' thinking it was going to give me this cute romance with a character who didn't care about her weight. Where she develops an iron heart from all the bullies and then needs a boy's life to unravel it all. That's obviously me just sprouting out wishful plot devices but what I got, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.Willow is very judgmental about other girls and the comments she would An Electronic Advanced Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for review.I went into Dumplin' thinking it was going to give me this cute romance with a character who didn't care about her weight. Where she develops an iron heart from all the bullies and then needs a boy's life to unravel it all. That's obviously me just sprouting out wishful plot devices but what I got, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting.Willow is very judgmental about other girls and the comments she would say about others really bothered me. I thought she could take the high ground and not let anything or anyone get in her way and she does that. But she does it in a way where she steamrolls the people that she loves. Namely her mother, best friend and love interest. I couldn't understand it. She was always mad at everyone! And she would try to justify it so she would always be in the right. I was hoping for her to grow and mature by the end, but I wasn't feeling it. I like how the main focus wasn't on the romance. There was a lot of important relationships that included her mother and her best friend that I was interested in reading about. I just felt like Willow was always just mad at everyone and she was blaming them all instead of changing her viewpoint. Maybe that was the entire goal though? If it was I missed it. There's a lot of empowerment about being true to yourself and do things that you normally wouldn't do, but in the end, I just didn't really care about her because she rubbed me the wrong way.Overall, I would still recommend this to people looking for a good read. In my opinion, I wasn't too keen on the main character but that could always change for others.  Wonderful developed character relationships form an intriguing read, but all other parts felt flat for me. RATING 2/5QUOTESI hate seeing fat girls on TV or in movies, because the only way the world seems to be okay with putting a fat person on camera is if they're miserable with themselves or if they're the jolly best friend.I'm done being your secret.It makes me feel good. To be wanted, but not had.News flash, Mom: a man will not cure my troubles.It's like the universe decided he was too perfect and had to give him one tiny flaw.All my favourite things start as bad ideas.I'm not your goddamn sidekick or your chubby best friend.We're like an old married couple who can't even remember what they were arguing about to begin with.It's supposed to be easier to like yourself when someone else likes you.I guess that's when I decided being good at something didn't mean you had to do it. Just 'cause something's easy doesn't make it right.Sometimes good things happen to you at the absolute worst time.Willowdean Opal Dickson, you are beautiful. Fuck anyone who's ever made you feel anything less. When I close my eyes, I see you. I can talk to you. In a way I never have with anyone else.Loyalty is telling someone they're wrong when no one else will.
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  • Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 Stars“All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on.”Dumplin' is the story of Willowdean "Dumplin'" Dickson, self-proclaimed fat girl who decides to enter her hometown's beauty pageant. I picked up this book in the hopes that it would be fun and body-positive ... but ultimately, it kind of lacked in both those departments. Probably the most disappointing aspect of this book is that 2.5 Stars“All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on.”Dumplin' is the story of Willowdean "Dumplin'" Dickson, self-proclaimed fat girl who decides to enter her hometown's beauty pageant. I picked up this book in the hopes that it would be fun and body-positive ... but ultimately, it kind of lacked in both those departments. Probably the most disappointing aspect of this book is that Willowdean comes off as rather hypocritical, jealous, and selfish. I never felt much sympathy for her, honestly. I wanted to like her, I wanted her to be an awesome main character who gave no shits whether anyone doubted her or made fun of her for her body. But where the summary of this book seems to promise a confident and body-positive main character, the book doesn't really fulfill that promise. Willowdean is super insecure. Yes, at times she proclaims that she doesn't give a crap that she's fat, but the next moment she'll be whining about how her thighs are gross and no one should ever love her.That's not even my biggest problem with her, though. It's okay if she's insecure sometimes, that's fine. But what makes it worse is that she's always shaming other girls. She shames other fat girls:"I’m fat, but Millie’s the type of fat that requires elastic waist pants because they don’t make pants with buttons and zippers in her size."She also makes judgmental comments about a girl with uneven legs, and a girl with crooked teeth. She becomes friends with these other girls, but it seems like it's more out of pity and "because she's a 'freak' like them" than actual good intentions.She's also quick to judge skinny girls. For example, her best friend makes friends with this other girl who Willowdean immediately deems a "twiggy bitch". Throughout the book, she is subtly (and sometimes outright) hostile towards the other girls who are participating in the pageant.To top it off, she's pretty terrible to her best friend, El. When Willowdean decides to enter the pageant, El decides to join with her to show her support––and immediately Willowdean is like "wait no you can't enter––this is my thing!" and then proceeds to not talk to El for like two months. ... What?! Some friend, eh?I was also not a big fan of the romance in this book. There's a love triangle. *long sigh* And it's a big mess. Willowdean just flat-out leads on this nice guy named Mitch, even though she's in love with this other sexy guy named Bo. She's not obligated to like Mitch of course, but it just seemed cruel of her to go out with him while she continued to lust after Bo.And Bo ... he came off as a little creepy to me. At the beginning of the book, he lures Willowdean to an abandoned elementary school to make out with her. She's literally scared for her life and thinking up ways she can beat him up and escape. Like ... seriously, dude? You couldn't think of anywhere else that wasn't so sketchy?But also, he pushes her away saying he "can't be in a relationship right now" and then halfway through the book he very suddenly changes his tune––he starts chasing after Willowdean again and being like "I want you to be my girlfriend like right now" and demanding that she "give him an answer". WTF? The love triangle stuff takes up a large chunk of the plot. Which brings me to my next point––I think this book should have been a lot shorter. It's around 350 pages, and I started to get a little bored after about 200. There are a lot of repetitive scenes. And the actual beauty pageant, which I had hoped would be more of a focus, doesn't even happen until the last like 50 pages. All that said, this book had some redeeming qualities. I at least liked that it was sex-positive; at the beginning, El has sex with her boyfriend and Willowdean is totally supportive. As far as I recall, there's no slut-shaming in this book at all. And for a book with a lot of girls in it, that's great! I also liked that there were some nice female-friendship moments. I actually really liked Hannah and Willowdean's friendship. And I mostly liked the friendship between Willowdean and El (at least when they weren't stupidly not talking to each other for like 1/3 of the book). The final word:The pros:• Female friendships• Sex-positive• A light read, fun/interesting at timesThe cons:• Mixed messages about body positivity• Willowdean is kind of a jerk• Love triangleIn the end, I just found this book okay. It was not bad, but it didn't blow me away either.
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  • Drew
    January 1, 1970
    I expected a cutesy chick lit romance. I expected an inspiring, body positive theme. I expected a sassy and confident main character. I got none of these things.Will was a horrible protagonist who thought horrible things about her own body and the bodies of others. When a girl in her school asked the boy she liked out (when he and Will weren't even dating) she made nasty references to the girl's clothes and body.Not only that, she was also selfish. When Will finally joins her mom's beauty pagean I expected a cutesy chick lit romance. I expected an inspiring, body positive theme. I expected a sassy and confident main character. I got none of these things.Will was a horrible protagonist who thought horrible things about her own body and the bodies of others. When a girl in her school asked the boy she liked out (when he and Will weren't even dating) she made nasty references to the girl's clothes and body.Not only that, she was also selfish. When Will finally joins her mom's beauty pageant to prove that she's not ashamed of her body, her best friend, Ellen, signs up too. Will tells Ellen that she has to back out because Ellen has a beautiful, nonfat body and she might actually win. Ellen naturally becomes angry at Will for being so insensitive.To make things even more perplexing, Will occasionally made some body-empowering statements or stuck up for some poor girl who was getting bullied at school. It sent a confusing message when the main character went from saying anyone should be able to wear a swimsuit to commenting meanly on other girls' clothes and bodies or saying she hated her thighs.There was also a cheesy romance that didn't make a lick of sense. Will had a crush on her co-worker, Bo, who was constantly sucking red lollipops (which made me roll my eyes) and unintentionally made Will feel bad about her body. “There’s really no use in me trying to be invisible to him. There’s no hiding an elephant.” Bo was the typical brooding bad boy who doesn't say much, is hugely muscular, and has perfect teeth except for that tiny, crooked "imperfection" in his front teeth. He was basically a cliché male love interest on steroids.Bo also tried to control Will and repeatedly asked her to be his girlfriend. What he said in one scene actually made me mad: I pull my ponytail loose to let my curls breathe.“Are you trying to get me to kiss you?” he asks.“What? No. Why would you say that?”“Then put your hair back up.”Jaw slack, I stare at him, waiting for him to say something else.He doesn’t look away. “I’m serious.”I flip my hair over and gather it into a ponytail. I wouldn't have minded a typical chick lit story if it had been led by a strong, empowering protagonist, but Dumplin' served nothing more than a meaningless, superficial story that I've read so many times before. It was definitely an easy read, but it wasn't even fun, harmless brain candy. It just seemed pointless.
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  • enqi ✨🍒 (high lady of the night court, #1 helvar squad)
    January 1, 1970
    With all the hype surrounding Dumplin' , I'm really sorry to say this book didn't appeal to me at all. I did find the premise interesting and promising at first, but by the time I reached the 60% mark, I was mostly bored and skimming the pages. I have many things to say about it, so let me just make a list of the reasons I hated disliked this book:- This book was such a fucking hypocritical mess. Beautiful, he says. Fat, I think. But can't I be both at the same time? What started out as a With all the hype surrounding Dumplin' , I'm really sorry to say this book didn't appeal to me at all. I did find the premise interesting and promising at first, but by the time I reached the 60% mark, I was mostly bored and skimming the pages. I have many things to say about it, so let me just make a list of the reasons I hated disliked this book:- This book was such a fucking hypocritical mess. Beautiful, he says. Fat, I think. But can't I be both at the same time? What started out as a beautiful book about body positivity soon became the main character, Willowdean, imposing her judgements on others and insulting them. It started around 5% (that was quick!) and continued for the rest of the book. I didn't sign up for this.- Willowdean was so annoying. Like, I-constantly-wanted-to-bash-her-face-in kind of annoying. I completely understood her insecurities, but I expected her to have some character development by the end of the book. But all I got at the end was a love triangle and angst instead of the promised pageant revolution.- Pointless plot. Listen, after skimming the blurb any reader would expect Will to win the pageant right? It would be the most fitting end to the story and the most satisfying one, too. Fat girl defies all stereotypes by winning a beauty pageant, traditional territory of skinny girls with model figures. Fat girl grows into herself and learns to love and accept her body. I was expecting all of that. Then our main girl literally gets herself DQ-ed from the competition. She actually gets disqualified. And she doesn't even have some grand epiphany to show for it.- At first I thought Willowdean's mom was being a bitch by saying she didn't care about entering the pageant and was just doing it for fun, but by the end I was wholeheartedly agreeing with her mom. The pageant featured only when there needed to be some conflict or realisation in the plot. I thought Willowdean had something to prove and she'd work for it, but she didn't even bother doing a talent, or costume, or anything you'd expect of someone who wanted to prove her point. Halfway through she even quit on her friends, and then decided to do it again in the end.... honestly enough with the drama.- Love triangle angst. Yikes. Willowdean literally leads the star of the football team on AND yet still manages to snare her hot crush. Girlie has no thought for the other guy's feelings, apparently. Next.- Zero plot arc if I haven't said this before. Nothing is resolved in the end, everything was rushed to be tied up almost like the author gave up on her own book. Willowdean's life doesn't change from when the book started, she doesn't have any visible takeaways from the pageant. When Bo, her crush, asked her to be exclusive, she refused to be because she saw herself as ugly and didn't want to be gossiped about... and at the end of the book she didn't even say yes to him. I expected something. I wanted something to show that she had character development. And there was nothing.Oh well. But there are some gems in this book though, and I've highlighted them and made the highlights visible to save you the trouble of reading this book. Have a good week ahead everyone!
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    4 stars!All my life I've had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it's that if it's not your body, it's not yours to comment on.Fat. Skinny. Short. Tall. It doesn't matter.I loved this. It's very rare that I read about a MC who is bigger. And I loved that she didn't apologize for it or try to change the way she was, because she felt good about who she was.This book is about Willowdean Opal Dickson (though her former beauty queen mom calls her Dumplin'). She 4 stars!All my life I've had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it's that if it's not your body, it's not yours to comment on.Fat. Skinny. Short. Tall. It doesn't matter.I loved this. It's very rare that I read about a MC who is bigger. And I loved that she didn't apologize for it or try to change the way she was, because she felt good about who she was.This book is about Willowdean Opal Dickson (though her former beauty queen mom calls her Dumplin'). She lives in Clover City, home of the oldest beauty pageant in Texas. The Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. Her mom was crowned in her youth and these days, she basically runs the pageant in addition to her day job at a nursing home, even squeezing into her old gown year after year. So she is basically the opposite of her daughter. Will has always felt fine about the way she is...she knows that she's bigger, but not only is she fine with it, she embraces it.I held my hand out and introduced myself. "Willowdean," I said. "Cashier, Dolly Parton enthusiast, and resident fat girl."The word fat makes people uncomfortable. But when you see me, the first thing you notice is my body. And my body is fat. It's like how I notice some girls have big boobs or shiny hair, or knobby knees. Those things are okay to say. But the word fat, the one that best describes me, makes lips frown and cheeks lose their color.But that's me. I'm fat. It's not a cuss word. It's not an insult. At least it's not when I say it. So I always figure why not get it out of the way?She has a best friend named Ellen, an all American beauty. Will is a cashier at Harpy's Burgers and Dogs, a local fast food place. She has a huge crush on a coworker of hers, named Bo, who is an athlete at a private school in town. She finds herself pretty surprised though, when it seems like maybe Bo might just like her back. But once she and Bo start out a tentative relationship, that's when Will loses her confidence. She feels uncomfortable whenever they get the least bit physical (and no, I don't mean sex), thinking that she doesn't live up to his usual 'type of girl'. She also starts to worry about what people will say if they make their relationship public knowledge.So, in an attempt to take back her confidence, she decides to do the unthinkable...at least, unthinkable for her. She enters the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant...along with a few other unlikely candidates. She's out to prove that she deserves to be up there just as much as any thin girl.Beautiful, he says. Fat, I think. but can't I be both at the same time?I loved the message that this book sends and think that it's a good read for anybody, no matter your size or age. Because we all have something that we're insecure about and everyone has their moment where they're just not comfortable in their own skin. I think we can all relate to that feeling. And no, Willowdean isn't perfect, but I think she is one of my new favorite MC's. She made some bad choices, but she wasn't fake and she stands up for herself and those she cares about, even against her own mom sometimes."Mom, I feel good." My voice starts out even and calm. "This dress makes me feel like someone I didn't know I could be. I've never owned anything like it. But if when you see this--when you see me--you think it's a pity, that it's a shame I didn't lose a few, then screw you, Mom. Try harder."This is my first book by Julie Murphy, the 2nd one she's written. But I will definitely be checking out her debut. She sends a powerful message with this book and I'd love to read more like this by her in the future.I guess sometimes the perfection we perceive in others is made up of a whole bunch of tiny imperfections, because some days the damn dress just won't zip.
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