Get ready to laugh, cheer, cry and jeer

Summary:

Being a fat girl isn’t easy, but Willowdean "Will" Dixon never let that get in her way. All changes when she crushes on Bo, a hot jock. Thankfully, Bo likes her back, but everything goes downhill as she doubts her body and her confidence around him.

Willow still grieves for aunt, Lucy, and her mother - who gave her the name Dumplin' - isn’t making life any better. Her mom is a former beauty queen who is now head of the City Clover beauty pageant. She is obsessed with having the perfect body, a goal she forces onto her daughter. Will, sick of it all, enters the beauty pageant and get her confidence back. She is going to rise above those who brought her down and be a beauty queen! She is ready to prove to the world that she can be fat AND beautiful. 


BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
Dumplin’ has an incredibly important message about body positivity. We are more than what we appear to be. I learned that there’ll always be someone with a better body, so stop chasing perfection and start chasing the things we truly want.

Will knew no one would give her the same respect as everyone else, so she went after it herself through the pageant. She didn’t let anyone get in the way and that’s what makes Willowdean so special. Loyalty is also a major theme in this book. Good friendships last and we shouldn’t let our jealousy and stubbornness get in the way of that.

Despite this, there are a few things to watch out for. Dumplin’ has some mature language and themes, like sex and bullying. That is why I recommend it for anyone 14 or older. Dumplin’ progresses rather slowly, but it would make a great gift for Dolly Parton fans!


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

This is a powerful, engaging, and relatable story for teens - including guys! Themes of first love, friendship, body shaming, self-talk, and bullying are all ones today's high school students can relate to. The messages of body positivity, self-esteem, and confidence are spot on and will resonate with ALL readers.

Content Awareness Factors:

Despite the reading level, this is NOT a book for upper elementary and middle school readers. Dumplin' is set in high school and deals with mature themes (sex, bullying, dating, romance) and also uses profanity.


Type of Book:
This is a first-person story about a teen girl's journey to being confident on the inside and accepted for who she is on the outside.
Educational Themes:

This is a book destined for discussion. The yin and yang of body shaming and body positivity rise to the top.

Readers will want to talk about Willowdean and some of her insights about the world, but she is not without flaws. The story is ripe for talking about ...

  • how we judge others and what we use as the "basis" for those judgments. 
  • how we decide whether we like/don't like someone.
  • grieving and recognizing the signs of emotional needs.
  • what true friendship looks like.

And that's just the beginning ...

Reading Level:
4.6
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
14 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
14 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy! Teens need this book. For themselves and to guide them in the way they judge others.

Title Dumplin' Go Big or Go Home
About

Dumplin', Book 1

Author Julie Murphy
Publisher Balzer + Bray , Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2015
ISBN 9780062327185
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Emotions and Feelings, Friendship, Self Worth, Growing Up, Contemporary Fiction, Social Issues, Romance
be the star you are Cybils
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