(From the publisher) 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.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cover Lust?: The Dumplin’ movie tie-in edition depicts my absolute favorite scene from the movie! Of course, I also have much love for the original cover and how well it matches Puddin’.
I originally read Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ when it first came out back in 2015, and I’ve been absolutely obsessed with its Netflix adaptation. I knew I wanted to reread Dumplin’ in 2019, so I was super excited to read the movie tie-in edition. I enjoyed Dumplin’ even more the second time around, considering it now to be one of my favorite and funniest YA contemporaries.
Willowdean is someone with plenty of confidence and plenty to say. While Will does have moments of low self-esteem, she is overall such a strong character and promotes body positivity. I 100% agree that any body is a swim suit body! I always read with my blogging notebook close by and I constantly found myself reaching for my pen to write down quotes (and keep track of all the Dolly Parton songs referenced).
“I sit down to eat and liberally spread salad dressing across my plate, because on the eighth day God created ranch dressing” (13).
Whether or not you were a Dolly Parton fan before reading or watching Dumplin’, you’ll find yourself adding anywhere from one to ten songs of hers to your Spotify playlist. While I read the book over the course of last week, I was almost non-stop listening to Dumplin’s soundtrack. Besides the playlist additions, I love how integral Dolly Parton is to this story. She connects Will to her Aunt Lucy (please tell me she was named after “Red Shoes”) and her best friend, Ellen, and inspires much of her confidence.
The movie definitely keeps the spirit of the book alive and gives us a swoon-worthy Bo (please let Luke Benward play John Amrose McClaren in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before sequel). However, I didn’t remember some of the differences between the book and the movie, such as Amanda and Mitch! I loved Will’s pageant crew and while I was always a Bo fan, I couldn’t help but love Mitch as well. Please take me on your Halloween adventures! While Will’s mom can be a bit much in the book as well, I definitely thought she was a bit softer. She had some funny lines and I love the moments where her and Will do bond.
In addition, outside of Will’s mom and the pageantry (my favorite element that I do wish wasn’t totally saved for the very end), I was totally in love with Will’s job at Harpy’s. I’d love for Bo to leave me a red sucker in my work locker every day. Does anyone else call suckers lollipops like me?
Overall, Dumplin’ is such a funny and meaningful read with plenty of messages about body positivity and confidence (and features a good romance or two). The companion, Puddin’, is definitely on my priority TBR!
Thank you to Wunderkind PR and the publisher for providing me with Dumplin’. By no means did receiving this book affect my thoughts or opinions.
Have you read or watched Dumplin’? Have you read Puddin’? Share in the comments!