Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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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.

I’ve seen loads of people raving about how much they loved this book, and as I’m on a bit of a contemporary binge at the moment I grabbed it as soon as it released. I loved the cover, I loved the title, I was ready to jump in.

Heat/swoon levels:

Now, despite how ‘Dumplin’ sees and describes herself (far more self-critically than her fiends/LIs), there are two love interests and thankfully there’s no ‘teen-angst-who-do-I-choose’ business. There’s one clear winner, and while Dumplin tries to convince herself she’s not good enough for him, we all know where it’s headed.

Despite her multi-suitor situation, there really is low heat/swoon levels which kind sucked because Bo really could have been a full-on literary love for me. I enjoyed reading more about Dumplin’s friendships than the boys.

Plot pacing and resolution:

Was a highlight. The book was sweet, and had a ‘love yourself as you are’ message. There were no crazy twists and turns but each event flowed neatly to the next. It was a cute read, but there was one major thing missing at the end that I’m disappointed wasn’t revealed. I get why it was done, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. Like, it was the one thing I was waiting for!

Character relatability:

This was HUGE! The voice was the reason I kept reading. Dumplin is witty and sarcastic and while she’s quite cynical about a lot of things, there is an overwhelming positivity to her as well. Her self confidence, and her journey to rediscovering it, was what kept me turning pages.

But Dumplin’ wasn’t the only standout and while I could name EVERY side character, and why I loved them, it would take me way too long. There are so many and each of them are special little snowflakes in their own right. There was never a time when I was confused who was who, or when they melted into each other, because so much care was taken to giving them individual characteristics.

The downer:

Okay, I enjoyed this book, I did! And while I was reading it, I couldn’t wait to get back to it and finish it off. But for me, it’s a ‘read once and be satisfied’ kind of book. That said, I’m glad I read it that one time.

AOaR_3star (3)

(and a half)

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So feel free to follow me here.

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