By: Julie Murphy
Available September 2015
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.
This Blonde’s Review:
Willowdean knows she’s a big girl and she doesn’t pretend to be anything but the fat girl she calls herself. She knows looks are not the most important thing in the world. Having her former beauty queen of a mother call her Dumplin’ may make you think Will would be self conscious about her size but instead she owns her weight and doesn’t care what others think she should look like. Until she starts to make out with her coworker Bo. He’s the kind of hot guy that people wouldn’t expect a girl like her to be with and that undermines her confidence. Soon she is doubting herself in ways she never expected and she doesn’t like it.
When she finds out that her aunt, a bigger woman that passed away not long before, had been held back by her weight more than Willow expected she knows that she can’t let hers hold her back. So she decides to participate in the Miss Clover City beauty pageant. The girls who decide to join with her are such great side characters that I really loved the parts of them I saw, from the sweet and sunny to the moody.
While dealing with her weight issues Will also has to figure out her friendships. She let her confidence issues impact her friendship with her best friend so is navigating everything without the person she always counted on. She builds new friendships and manages to find herself again. Once she figures herself out she can decide what’s going to happen with the guys in her life, since she somehow finds herself with more than one guy issue.
I enjoyed getting to know Will and seeing how she navigated finding herself again. In these books it’s usually a fat girl finding her confidence for the first time, not one who loves herself and stumbles. But sometimes we can be confident in one situation and find ourselves underwater when something new happens.
If you enjoy reading books that are more about the girl having to love herself than about the girl getting the guy then you’ll enjoy this. And knowing the girl has some options for love won’t hurt anything either.