Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
This book! Oh, this book! It has sky rocketed itself to my #1 favorite book. Why? Well, well we will get to that in a moment.
Dumplin' is about Willowdean, or Willow for short. She is your average every day girl. She works in a fast food joint, has a crush on a super cute boy named Bo, a best friend named El that she can count on through thick and thin, and she idolizes Dolly Parton. Most importantly, Willowdean is comfortable in her own skin (or is she?). She is no skinny mini. She has hips and curves.
However, when her aunt dies her world slowly starts changing in ways she doesn't like. Dumplin' starts approximately 6 months after her aunts funeral. She doesn't know how to talk to her mom who is a former beauty pageant winner and happens to be the person who plans the local pageant every year. Things are starting to happen with Bo and it makes her question her size, making her uncomfortable in her skin. Then, on top of all that, she and El are starting to drift apart. El has been her lifeline for so long that she can't imagine life without her.
Some where in all of this, Willowdean decides she is going to sign up to compete in the local beauty pageant causing even more things to start to spin out of her control.
Dumplin' is a story of self discovery. It is beautiful, wonderful, and real. While it is written in a very light hearted manner, it is still very serious.
The characters are all written very well. Willowdean feels so real. You can't help but wish you could have her as a friend - if only she didn't exist on paper! I also really loved the character of Mitch. The big softy that he is. It was very easy to picture and imagine all of the characters. Amanda with her limp, Millie with her big goofy grin, Bo with his sucker, etc.
I would have liked a bit more from the rude/mean characters such as Callie. They still felt a bit 2 dimensional, but it didn't take away from the story over all. Part of me wonders if Julie Murphy did that on purpose to help keep the focus of the story on the characters with "flaws."
What I loved most about this story, though, was the over all message that it had. That you can do anything you want. That you don't have to let how you look hold you back. If you want to enter a beauty pageant don't let that you aren't a skinny mini stop you from doing it! Your size, your face, your appearance in general, shouldn't get in the way of doing something, going for something, that you want!
As far as I am concerned, every girl should read this book. Boys too. The message that this book holds should be shared and heard. If I could afford it, I would be purchasing a copy of this book for everyone I know.
5 of 5 stars!!