Review: ‘Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: ‘Dumplin’ by Julie MurphyDumplin' by Julie Murphy
Published by Balzer + Bray on September 15th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 375
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

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I went into Dumplin’ thinking it was going to give me this cute romance with a character who didn’t care about her weight. Where she develops an iron heart from all the bullies and then needs a boy’s life to unravel it all. That’s obviously me just sprouting out wishful plot devices but what I got, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

Willow is very judgmental about other girls and the comments she would say about others really bothered me. I thought she could take the high ground and not let anything or anyone get in her way and she does that. But she does it in a way where she steamrolls the people that she loves. Namely her mother, best friend and love interest. I couldn’t understand it. She was always mad at everyone! And she would try to justify it so she would always be in the right. I was hoping for her to grow and mature by the end, but I wasn’t feeling it. I like how the main focus wasn’t on the romance. There was a lot of important relationships that included her mother and her best friend that I was interested in reading about. I just felt like Willow was always just mad at everyone and she was blaming them all instead of changing her viewpoint. Maybe that was the entire goal though? If it was I missed it. There’s a lot of empowerment about being true to yourself and do things that you normally wouldn’t do, but in the end, I just didn’t really care about her because she rubbed me the wrong way.

Overall, I would still recommend this to people looking for a good read. In my opinion, I wasn’t too keen on the main character but that could always change for others. Wonderful developed character relationships form an intriguing read, but all other parts felt flat for me.


I hate seeing fat girls on TV or in movies, because the only way the world seems to be okay with putting a fat person on camera is if they’re miserable with themselves or if they’re the jolly best friend.
I’m done being your secret.
It makes me feel good. To be wanted, but not had.
News flash, Mom: a man will not cure my troubles.
It’s like the universe decided he was too perfect and had to give him one tiny flaw.
All my favourite things start as bad ideas.
I’m not your goddamn sidekick or your chubby best friend.
We’re like an old married couple who can’t even remember what they were arguing about to begin with.
It’s supposed to be easier to like yourself when someone else likes you.
I guess that’s when I decided being good at something didn’t mean you had to do it. Just ’cause something’s easy doesn’t make it right.
Sometimes good things happen to you at the absolute worst time.
Willowdean Opal Dickson, you are beautiful. Fuck anyone who’s ever made you feel anything less. When I close my eyes, I see you. I can talk to you. In a way I never have with anyone else.
Loyalty is telling someone they’re wrong when no one else will.

reading progress






  1. Tracy (@Cornerfolds)

    December 17, 2015 at 9:37 PM

    Well, this sucks! I’ve heard a lot about Dumplin and I was really on the fence, but I cannot stand characters who are just bitter. It’s really disappointing to hear that she wasn’t a good character to read about. Great review though! 😀
    Tracy (@Cornerfolds) recently posted…Book Review: Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan SpoonerMy Profile

    • giselle

      January 4, 2016 at 2:12 PM

      I know..I was pretty sad about that too. I was hoping she would change too

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