Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was such a great novel. Willowdean is comfortable being who she is. She's not the beauty pageant, skinny daughter that her mother wants, but Willowdean is okay with that. She doesn't take the bullying that Patrick at school tries to dish out at her, and she is always standing up for other kids who get bullied but are too afraid to fight back.
But Willowdean's thoughts about her physical appearance starts to change when a very attractive, popular guy, Bo, starts to like her. First, it was okay because they just worked together. No one saw them together or were questioning why a great, hot guy like Bo would be with an overweight girl like Willowdean. But when Bo transfers to Willowdean's school, she starts to question why he would want to be with her and how society would judge them.
Then Willowdean decides to join the beauty pageant that her mother has dedicated her life to. She wants to prove that she can do the things just like any other girl does. Physical appearances shouldn't be a factor in a beauty pageant and Willowdean wants to prove that. What she doesn't expect is other girls who get bullied about their looks join her in the pageant. Now Willowdean is the unofficial leader of their group, but Willowdean is not exactly sure what she is trying to prove anymore.
This is a great story about uncertainty. Bravery. Being normal. Standing out. Loyalty. But most of all, it's about being yourself and loving who you are inside and out without any judgement. Willowdean will inspire many readers out there, whether they are the pretty girl, the fat girl, or the shy, awkward girl. I know she inspired me to love myself as I am rather than what society deems worthy of being the "right kind of girl" and I'm so glad that Julie Murphy wrote this inspiring novel for everyone to enjoy!
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