Monday, 25 January 2016

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy review

Hi everyone! Today I'm really pleased bring you part of the Dumplin' blog tour! I'm the first stop on the tour and I'm really excited to be taking part. Thank you so much to HarperCollins for the opportunity! Now onto my review of Dumplin' :)

Title: Dumplin'
Author: Julie Murphy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 375
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Paperback, ebook
Source: An ARC from the publisher. Thank you!

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.

Everyone needs to read a book like Dumplin' at some point in their lives. A carefully told story that will have you cheering out loud by the last page - it really is a one of a kind book. It's not often that I finish a YA book with a massive smile on my face, or a warm happy feeling in my stomach - but Dumplin' is that amazing kind of book. It's almost like a friend in book form - it's comforting, but will gently show you how to be a better version of yourself, without you even realising it.

Also, when a character like Willowdean uses ableist language like spastic, you're reminded of how human that she is as a character, and how well Murphy creates her and her voice because I was slightly disappointed, as if she was a real person who said it! Don't let that take anything away from the immense positives of Dumplin', though. As a disabled reader I just like to point out when ableist language is written in books.

Like I said, though - don’t let it take away anything from the positives in Dumplin'. Especially as a character in the book - and a pretty cool character - wears adapted shoes. Which really made me smile because I don't think I've ever read about a character in YA who wears adaptive shoes before!

The story itself is quite simple - but that doesn't mean that the book is lacking in any way. In fact, that means that everything else in the book is almost heightened, because there is more chance to explore relationships like the one between Willowdean and her Mom. Their relationship is played out really well, even when the plot gets going, and I really liked how Murphy developed it throughout the book! 

The way that Murphy writes is so mesmerising as well. The voices of her characters are so distinct and real that they pretty much carry the story themselves - which is really impressive. But Murphy also includes some really gorgeous imagery throughout the book that really creates Willowdean's world as well as her voice. It's obvious when reading that Murphy has put so much care into creating an immersive story, and also it's obvious when reading that Murphy is a fantastic writer - and it really makes reading Dumplin' that more special. 
Willowdean is one of the most realistic teen characters I've read about in YA - she's not one of the idealistic characters that often take up space in books. She's different, and she's proud of it - and it's wonderful. 

I have to mention that the romance elements of the book are lovely as well. Often romance in YA makes me cringe, but the romance in Dumplin' is really sweet, in fact it's one of the few YA romances that I really like - because you can tell that Murphy has put two characters together who really fit, and I love how their romance played out, even when things got rocky. Murphy's writing is so genuine, but its gorgeous - so you get swept up by Willowdean's voice, but are then blown away by the rich descriptions and imagery that can just take your breath away. 

I'd definitely recommend reading Dumplin' if you're a fan of YA, or if you just want to read a book that will put you in a great mood. Dumplin' is such a great feel good book - everyone should read it.


Remember to check out the rest of the stops on the Dumplin' blog tour!

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