Contemporary, Romance (Teen), YA Fiction

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I have a problem. I may have gotten a little too book crazy. Now usually I don’t believe there is any such thing as having too many books to read. But now, I may have to reconsider. I have about 6 physical books that I have borrowed from the library, 7 books that I have borrowed from the online library catalogue, and 4 books that I bought and have still to read. And my reading week (a week off from school that I’m supposed to be using for studying) is going to be ending soon. So, I need to get through these books – FAST. Thankfully, this novel was a quick read that was also enjoyable; I’m really looking forward to writing this review!

Willowdean Dickson is fat – and she owns it! She has never given much thought to what other people say, even though her mother is a former beauty queen who nags her to constantly lose weight. But everything changes when Willowdean meets Bo, a hot former jock who goes to a private school. Of course, she has a crush on him – which girl wouldn’t? What she’s surprised to find is that he likes her back. Now, Willowdean begins to doubt herself and lose the confidence she previously had. She has to get it back – and so, she decides to enter the Miss Clover City beauty pageant. It’s time to show the world that she belongs up there just as much as any other girl. But will others think the same way?

I loved this novel. It was cute and funny and heart-warming. Willowdean is so spunky and charismatic and flawed…these things make her the perfect heroine. I have never been considered fat but I have friends that have struggled with their weight for a long time and have never felt good enough. I wish they could have read this book in their teens because it would really have cheered them up and made them feel a lot more confident about their body and identity. This novel focuses on body image but it also explores issues like inclusivity (in schools and by society at large) and stereotypes about different kinds of people. I like that deep topics are expressed in a light and humorous tone that still conveys the seriousness of the issues. All in all, this was a great novel and I would recommend this to teenagers everywhere!

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