Rating: 5 Stars
Published: September 2015
Genre: YA // Contemporary
Favorite Quote:

“There’s some kind of peace that comes with knowing that for every person who is waiting to be found, there’s someone out there searching.”

Summary Taken 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.

Initial Thoughts

  • I had wanted to read this since I saw it teased at Book Con.
  • I was drawn to the concept of this book from the beginning and couldn’t wait to dive in.

I know that fat girls are supposed to be allergic to pools or whatever, but I love swimming.  I mean, I’m not stupid.  I know people stare, but they can’t blame me for wanting to cool off.  And why should it even matter?


  • I loved everything about the story line.  I liked how all the settings were combined: between high school, the fast food chain, the pageant, and homes. It felt so real, credible.
  • I loved the scenes at The Hideaway.  They were pretty fantastic.  It wasn’t really touched upon how Lucy and El’s mom found the place.  I’d like to know more about that.
  • It was about a pageant but at the same time, it was so much more.  It was complex but so high school. It’s the story I wish I could have read as a freshman in high school. I feel like I could benefited from it.

It’s not that I don’t like new people.  It’s just that, in general, I do not like new people.


  • There were so many quirky, awesome, and believable characters in this book.  I loved that this had as much to do with friendship as it did first love.
  • I have so much love for this book.  Willowdean is my spirit animal.  She’s strong.  She’s unapologetic.  She’s a force.  And she just wants to be taken seriously.
  • Willowdean and Ellen became best friends over their shared love of Dolly Parton.  There’s a lot of Dolly references in the book but I didn’t really know a whole lot about her.  I knew about her crazy figure and I of course, know the song Jolene.  But that’s about it.  I didn’t really how inspirational she was to people.  I have a newfound respect for her.
  • This gem came from Mitch.  I think he’s sweet. He didn’t deserve what Willowdean did but I get Willowdean’s side of things.  Sometimes you don’t know how to handle certain situations and you think that if there’s enough determination, attraction will follow.  Mitch didn’t deserve determination, though.  I don’t like how things ended up but they would make good friends.  “I think you gotta be who you want to be until you feel like you are whoever it is you’re trying to become.  Sometimes half of doing something is pretending that you can.”
  • Speaking of boys, Bo was pretty sweet.  Where can I get one for myself?

My mom was already asleep when I got home, but she said she heard me come in after two and that next time that happened she would call my boss.  An unladylike hour, she called it.  It sort of killed me that she automatically assumed I came straight from work.  I WAS MAKING OUT WITH A BOY IN AN ABANDONED PARKING LOT,  I wanted to scream. But that sounds pretty unbelievable.  Even to me.  And I was there.

Final Thoughts

  • This book wasn’t groundbreaking.  It wasn’t revolutionary.  But it WAS absolutely wonderful and something pro body positivity people should read because they’ll agree with it.  Then it’s something fat shamers, etc should especially read.  Because they should understand what it means to be ridiculed.
  • It’s so quotable. I can’t. There’s too many good relateable things.
  • Julie Murphy wrote a post about why she never mentions Willowdean’s actual size or weight.  And I think it’s worth the read.  I kinda love her for it.
  • I just absolutely loved it.  It was worth the read. Worth the praise.  Worth the anticipation.  I can’t wait to see what Julie Murphy writes next.  (Now I just have to go back & read her first book, Side Effects May Vary)

Have you read Dumplin’? What did you think?


4 thoughts on “Dumplin’

  1. I’ve been hearing mixed things about this book, but this really makes me want to read it! It seems like something different, and that’d be good for a LOT of people high school age to read!


    1. You definitely should read it! Willowdean is fantastic. She may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love her. I just think it’s an important book because even some people reading this book think it’s unrealistic for a self-proclaimed fat girl to end up with a skinny beautiful boy. And that’s just not true. More books should have heroines like Willowdean.


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