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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

March 3, 2020

Willowdean Dickson is a regular, Dolly Parton-loving girl living in the small town of Clover City, Texas. People around her comment on her size-even her mom, who Willowdean does not get along with. Willowdean works at Harpy’s with Bo, who likes her as more than a friend, though after they kiss she starts to doubt herself. But when the Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant comes along, Willowdean enters to prove that you don’t have to be perfect to be in a pageant. Along the way she will discover more about herself and the meaning of friendship.

In Dumplin Julie Murphy not only developed a strong main character, she crafted amazing side characters like Millie Millachuck, a girl who wanted to enter the pageant since she was a  little girl. She has a big personality and is always happy. All of Murphy’s characters have unique stories about their lives, which makes the book even more enjoyable.

The themes of Dumplin are the importance of friendship, romance, and being yourself. Being yourself is very important throughout the book because most of the characters are figuring out who they are… Murphy made the book perfect for readers who are learning to be themselves and to never doubt yourself.

One theme that I took away from this book is that friends are important, and they always have your back. Friendship is something that everyone should have, and Willowdean’s friends are the perfect friends: funny, kind and quirky. Murphy made the relationships and friendships seem totally real, so readers can relate to this book, which I think is a key factor that all books should have.

Murphy also wrote a second book called Puddin, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It was pretty slow moving for me, and even though Millie was one of the characters, the other girl, Callie Reyas, was not a strong character. Her personality was the original “girly girl,” which made me frustrated because in Dumplin Murphy did a really good job. I was not impressed with Puddin.

If you are a reader who enjoys books that are relatable, fun, and just plain amazing you have to read this book. The pace of the book is fast. Murphy ends some of the chapters abruptly, so you will say “just one more chapter.” The audience for this book is maybe twelve to … well, any age. It’s good for adults, too. I would rate this incredible book a ten out of ten. I did not mention this before but this book has been made into a pretty good movie that surprisingly is kind of like the book but a little less detailed. I recommend reading the book first because why not?

If you are a romance fan this book would be great for you, it has the perfect amount of romance throughout the book. I hope you read the wonderful Dumplin by Julie Murphy and love it as much as I do.


Balzer + Bray, 369 pages

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