BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy [in School Library Journal]

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy on BookDragon via Library Journal (678x1024)*STARRED REVIEW
“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 the local 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.

Review“Multimedia,” School Library Journal, November 1, 2015

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2015



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