Finished Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.”

Oh, you guys.  You guys, this book.

I had heard so many amazing things about it and definitely was interested in reading it but I also wanted to wait a little bit for the hype to die down.  I wanted to go in with reasonable expectations.

And yet. :)

I love Willowdeen so much, and she’s such a refreshing change for YA characters.  Will’s fat.  And not a little curvy or a tad chubby.  She’s fat.  And she’s not super into losing weight.  She likes herself the way she is (well, except for her thighs).

And she has love interests.  INTERESTS! PLURAL!  And she has friends.  (FRIENDS! PLURAL!) It’s still high school , so of course there are also jerks but for the most part, her life is pretty awesome.  I love the fact that Will is fat and it’s okay.

This is a fun but also deep story.  Even when you’re mostly okay with yourself, there are still major journeys to self-acceptance (especially when you’re a teenage girl).

I loved everything about this story.

Highly recommended.


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