Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
Willowdean Dickson is a confident girl. Willow is a self-proclaimed fat girl who knows who she is. Willow knows where she belongs. And Willow LOVES Dolly Parton. That is until Bo Larson, her gorgeous co-worker, suddenly starts to notice her. Now Willow has no idea what is going on. What could a boy like Bo, gorgeous and a private school basketball player, possibly want with a girl like her? Suddenly, the confident, I-know-who-I-am girl, is having all kinds of doubts. To top this off, her mother was a former beauty queen, and is the pageant chair for the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet pageant (which is a BIG deal ~ this is set in Texas after all); her best friend Ellen, is finding love herself; and her beloved Aunt Lucy, who was more like her mother, has recently died from complications of obesity.
Willow decides to enter the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet pageant to the chagrin of her mother. Along with her best friend, and a hand-full of misfits, what was at first a tribute to her aunt, may become something more. All the while, Bo keeps wanting to declare their relationship to the masses, something Willow is not ready to do. She can’t stand the thought of the bullying and teasing Bo would endure for being with “a girl like her”.
This books is a wonderful book that shares some very raw feelings about loving yourself and accepting others. I feel that this book can be especially inspiring to young people to learn to love themselves for who they are and to follow their dreams no matter what the circumstances. One of the most powerful things I found in the book is that it contains many powerful quotes about being yourself or just being the most awesome you can be. This will definitely be a book that I will be adding to my classroom library as I think is has such a positive message. There is a film version that is being made starring Jennifer Aniston as Willow’s mom.