Dumplin'

Dumplin'

Book - 2015
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Sixteen-year-old Willowdean wants to prove to everyone in her small Texas town that she is more than just a fat girl, so, while grappling with her feelings for a co-worker who is clearly attracted to her, Will and some other misfits prepare to compete in the beauty pageant her mother runs.
Publisher: New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062327185
0062327186
Characteristics: 375 pages ; 22 cm
Alternative Title: Dumpling

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From Library Staff

April 2016

April 2016

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson has never much cared how other people see her, not even her former beauty queen mother. But when she starts to doubt herself, she decides to take back her confidence by entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant on her own terms.

Willowdean is fat and proud, but when she starts to doubt herself, she decides to reclaim her confidence by entering a local beauty pageant.


From the critics


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a
ashleyha0321
Sep 30, 2020

If you’re looking for a heartfelt, yet depth-filled read, I definitely recommend Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’. The story follows a high school junior named Willowdean Dickson trying to navigate the different relationships in her life, both romantic and platonic, in a body she deems “comment-worthy.” Dumplin’ focuses on female friendships and learning to love your body, imperfections and all, with a dash of romance to complete the ultimate YA book. What drew me to this book was how relatable it was and how many teens could connect to the emotions Willowdean was going through. Willowdean surely has her flaws, but I found myself cheering for her throughout the book. Go on, read it!

c
clentz1
Jul 11, 2020

This was the perfect summer read for me. The story goes a bit deeper than the generic high school love story because it explores topics like body positivity and death, while still being lighthearted and a feel-good read. I'm so glad I read the book before watching the movie, because it features many more characters I grew to love who are completely absent from the movie. The author completely transported me to small-town Texas in the summertime even though I've never visited there before! Highly recommend this book if you're looking for something easy-breezy to enjoy during summer break.

Willowdean is sassy and confident- most of the time. She's a great character who experiences conflict within herself about who she is and what she wants, just like any human. Her journey of self discovery is filled with sequins, humor and Dolly Parton so it's quite a fun trip!

l
lunabookworm55
Feb 08, 2020

I'm frustrated by this book. It has characters that one-dimensional and hypocritical all the time. One minute they'll say having sex with a guy doesn't make you a woman, it's not that serious, then the next second they'll say sex is "serious business". Also not once in this oddly sexually charged book which is supposed to be about accepting yourself based upon your own merit and how sexually attractive you may be, did they mention focusing on your personality or mind or anything less superficial instead on focusing on how you body looks and that's bull. Real bull. The characters are not well developed before getting into the body positivity message which just makes the characters look like they were just written to be pieces of meat. One gal has a relationship where all she talks about with Will regarding it is whether she can "do it" with him or not. The Will's relationship with Bo is pretty gross because he doesn't ask her out or tell her how she feels, and neither does she do those things, instead they start as friends and co-workers and then they find it okay to skip hand holding or getting to know each other by talking to each other, and instead make out in a parking lot together. It's merely physical and that sucks. Sure Will knows that Bo is cool because he's not weirded out by the fact that she's fat and he doesn't like jokes about PMS and defends her, but other than that they know little to nothing about each other and it doesn't seem like they want to get to know each other, they just want to use each other to satisfy physical needs, which is not empowering or romantic despite what the author wants me to believe.

Will and El have no personality, I cannot tell them apart except one's fat and one isn't, and that's not "empowering" either. I am just disappointed and upset right now. Does Will have aspirations or hobbies? Not really, except for dating Bo. Does El have aspirations or hobbies? Nope, she just wants to get it on with her boyfriend. There's a moment that was unbearable because I wondered why Will even had a job, maybe it would be a great opportunity for character development, but it's never explained in the first half. And she gets asked about college, she says she wants to college, for no reason, and she hasn't decided on a future because she "can't imagine life after high school, and she can't plan what she can't even imagine". That's bull. Why is she just "not allowed" to have a personality outside of getting a boyfriend? Stupid.

YLPLTEENBOOKBLOG Dec 05, 2019

Willowdean “Dumplin'” Dickson is a self proclaimed fat girl with an average life (or at least as average as it can get for a girl like her). She maintains a friendship with Ellen, a beautiful girl that is everything Willowdean is not, she puts up with her mother's constant weight-based ridicule, and she doubts herself. When she meets Bo, one of her coworkers at Harpy's, the local fast food restaurant, she is not surprised to find herself falling for him. She is shocked, though, when she discovers that he likes her back. Their relationship takes off, and for a while, she's soaring. Then, their short-lived romance crashes to the ground, and Willowdean's confidence is at an all time low. In a sudden turn of events, Willowdean decides she has nothing to lose and enters a beauty pageant that her mother won years ago and now runs. With the help of her friends, other unlikely entrants in the pageant, Willowdean learns that staying true to yourself is what makes you a true winner. This book has it all: Friendship, romance, parent troubles and the glorification of Dolly Parton. I read this book at a snail's pace (something I don't usually do) because I didn't want this book to end. Willowdean is a relatable heroine that you'll find yourself cheering for, no matter who you are. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an endearing read bursting with Texas flair. On a scale of 1-5, I would rate this book a 4.5. Milla, grade 7, Yorba Linda Teen Book Bloggers

m
midori_hon
Dec 01, 2019

dumplin' speaks to everyone who would never be like the others in high school

j
jreinfried
Apr 01, 2019

A wonderful, uplifting little story that, while pretty predictable, still was able to tug at my heartstrings and leave me feeling happier and motivated to be myself. The book itself is a bit slow, but nothing in it ever bored me, and the chapters are short. I like the author, and will check out more of her work.

c
CASSIE ERIN KELLEY
Mar 29, 2019

I first heard of this book because they are making a movie out of it. Usually, when that happens, I am skeptical about said book. But then I found this book in the library and read the synopsis. It actually sounded intriguing, so, even though I was still hesitant, I checked out the book. I am glad I did.

'Dumplin'' is a wonderful look at how society affects the way people both perceive people and what it can do to your own way of thinking. If we are honest with ourselves as girls and women, we often see ourselves as 'not good enough.' One reason for this is that men are excited visually, so we think if we're not perfect, they will leave us.

Enter Willowdean Dickson, a self-proclaimed fat girl. She is fine with herself until a boy shows interest. Then, as it can often happen when you fall in love, she takes a look at herself and begins to wonder. Throughout this book, she learns and grows as a person, and what better way than to enter a beauty pageant?

This is a heartwarming book that also douses us in the cold reality of how society acts when somebody doesn't conform to what is deemed to be 'normal' and how to make your own path. Whether it is Willowdean herself or the new friends she makes, all outcasts like her, this book teaches valuable lessons about how you should really look at yourself, and what can happen when you do. I recommend this book to all teenagers, and even adults, who see themselves through society's eyes, and who aren't content with the labels put on them.

Hillsboro_ElizabethH Feb 19, 2019

You can't help but love Willowdean. She's trying to get by in a world that is full of beauty pageants (one of which her mother won years ago), along with teenage angst. I read the book before seeing the movie because I wanted to see what the hype was about, and I wasn't disappointed. Fast, fun read.

JCLHebahA Feb 07, 2019

I feel like I need to hand in my bookworm card to say this, but here goes: I think I liked the movie better than the book. Gasp. The spirit and voice were right, but the book contains one of my least favorite YA tropes: the dreaded love triangle. Still a fun read with a strong sense of voice, still an important book, just not a favorite.

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Quotes

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l
leslie_d_
Dec 12, 2018

“I wish I would’ve had friends that were going after things they weren’t supposed to have.”

l
leslie_d_
Dec 12, 2018

“If you don’t’ sign that form, you’re saying I’m not good enough. You’re saying that most every girl in that room right now is prettier and more deserving than me. That’s what you’re telling me.”

l
leslie_d_
Dec 12, 2018

“You don’t deserve to win anything or be in any pageant until you make the effort and do the work. maybe fat girls or girls with limps or girls with big teeth don’t usually win beauty pageants. Maybe that’s not the norm. but the only way to change that is to be present. We can’t expect the same things these other girls do until we demand it. Because no one’s lining up to give us sh*t, Will.”

l
leslie_d_
Dec 12, 2018

“There’s something about swimsuits that make you think you’ve got to earn the right to wear them. And that’s wrong. Really, the criteria is simple. Do you have a body? Put a swimsuit on it.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“I've wasted a lot of time in my life. I've thought too much about what people will say or what they're gonna think. And sometimes it's over silly things like going to the grocery store or going to the post office. But there have been times when I really stopped myself from doing something special. All because I was scared someone might look at me and decide I wasn't good enough. But you don't have to bother with that nonsense. I wasted all that time so you don't have to.”

k
KaseyNB
Apr 14, 2017

“I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.”

Age

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p
pink_panther_225
Oct 26, 2016

pink_panther_225 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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jmli
Sep 05, 2016

jmli thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Summary

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j
jmli
Sep 05, 2016

Fat girl Willowdean Dickson enters a beauty pageant.

Notices

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p
pink_panther_225
Oct 26, 2016

Other: This book contains a little bit of bad language including the "F word". It's not very frequently occurring. Their is also minor talk about sex and other related talk. Nothing is described just mentioned.

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