Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a charming book filled with Texas flair.
It is about 16-year-old Willowdean, a self-proclaimed “fat girl”, as she navigates the ups and downs of high school and of competing in a pageant. She’s always been confident with her body, but she begins to doubt herself when everything in her life starts to fall apart. Relationship drama! BFF fallouts! Will enters the town beauty pageant (the one bragging factor of the tiny town) in order to prove a point– and ends up finding new friends and finding herself. The plot was very exciting and had just the right amount of conflict. I’ll admit, it wasn’t as original as it could have been. It felt a little overused, but I still enjoyed it.
The writing in this book was packed with voice. Will’s personality shone through the pages and made Dumplin’ a great read. Ms. Murphy’s writing was excellent, which made her book simply unputdownable! I raced through the pages excitedly, needing to know what happened next. The ending was fuzzy, yet the book had a really good message all in all about positive body image and proving that everyone is beautiful.
And the characters. Again, Will is a fantastic main character. Outspoken, bold, we can all take a cue from her. She creates a strong lead, but the background characters all need some developing. Characters like the best friend and the boyfriend, are very 2D, with only one character trait each. Overall I give Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ 4.5/5 stars and recommend it to fans of contemporary.