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Dumplin'
2015
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  Publishers Weekly Review

About the only thing Clover City has going for it is its beauty pageant, the oldest in Texas. It's run by Willowdean Dickson's mother-a former winner-who has a hard time with the reality that Willowdean, a self-described "fat girl," will never be a beauty queen. Willowdean is okay with her size, mostly, but with 10th grade ending and her best friend considering having sex with her boyfriend, Willowdean feels like she is being left on the wrong side of the experience divide. An unexpected kiss with Bo, her handsome fast-food restaurant coworker, is thrilling, but she's also horrified at the idea of him touching her anywhere there is extra flesh. And that very reaction horrifies her, too; she thought she was at peace with herself. Murphy (Side Effects May Vary) successfully makes every piece of the story-Dolly Parton superfans, first love, best-friend problems, an unlikely group of pageant entrants, female solidarity, self-acceptance, and Willowdean's complicated relationship with the mother who nicknamed her "Dumplin' "-count, weaving them together to create a harmonious, humorous, and thought-provoking whole. Ages 13-up. Agent: Molly Jaffa, Folio Literary Management. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-"The word fat makes some people uncomfortable," Willowdean Dickson remarks. Called Dumplin' by her mother, Will insists that fat is "not an insult." She's comfortably self-aware, buoyed by her late aunt, whom she still deeply mourns, and her picture-perfect best friend. When she introduces herself to coworker Bo, a private school jock and hottie, she's direct, describing herself as a "cashier, Dolly Parton enthusiast, and resident fat girl." Working late most nights, Will and Bo fall into a giddy summer romance-until the reality of the coming school year erodes Will's trust in Bo and, unexpectedly, her belief in herself. In hopes of reclaiming her bold, spunky spirit, Will enters a beauty pageant, shocking her mother, a former Miss Teen Blue Bonnet. Her audacity inspires the most unlikely supporters. Eileen Stevens's multifaceted voice gives Willowdean prodigious range-sweet and snarky, fearless and funny, determined and doleful, too. With Will firmly center stage, Stevens smoothly transitions from beauty queen to drag queen, mean girl to wannabe, bully to buddy. VERDICT Disney has already found Dumplin' irresistible; film rights were sold months before the pub date. Before the celluloid transformation, libraries should entrust Stevens to introduce this true original. ["A joyous read that will be beloved by many teens who can relate to feeling uncertain in their own skins": SLJ 8/15 review of the Balzer + Bray book.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
<p>For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine--self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson--from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine--Dumplin' is guaranteed to steal your heart.</p> <p>Dubbed "Dumplin'" by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean 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.  </p> <p>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 Teen Blue Bonnet 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.</p>
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