Willowdean “Will” Dickson is the self-described “fat” daughter of an aging Texan beauty queen. She is intelligent, funny, and confident. When her relationship with her best friend becomes strained and a secret romance with her drool-worthy coworker goes south, Will’s once solid confidence is shaken to the core. She decides the solution to her problem is to enter the local beauty pageant (run by her critical mother). This single act inspires a trio of misfits to also join and they set off to prove that society’s beauty standards aren’t everything they’re cracked up to be.
It’s not very often that I fall in love with a book from the very first sentence, but Dumplin’ charmed me from the get-go. This book has it all: Dolly Parton, female friendships, body positivity, and drag queens (!). Julie Murphy has penned an important novel that every teen girl should read. Dumplin’ is fun, has tons of heart, and drives home a good message without being didactic. I recommend this title to all YA fans.