ARC Review: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic, Romance
Expected Publication: September 15th 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Series: none
Length: 384 pages
Source: eARC from publisher via 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.


Thank you to Balzer + Bray for the book in exchange for an honest review. 

What really sets this book from others is the fact that the MC, Willowdean (or Will), is not ordinary. She is fat. And no, fat is not a bad word. She embraces her body, and I think that’s part of why I loved this book so much. Body positivity is something I really love and seeing that expressed in this book is wonderful.

Will deals with her aunt’s death and her mom’s beauty pageant ways while she tries to find happiness in her best friend Ellen. Will also finds love with Bo at work, and she tries to figure out what she feels like with him. It’s incredibly interesting to see vulnerability in a character, and while Will makes rash decisions, she tries to figure out how she feels about Bo and Ellen and herself.

A few things I liked about this book (I’ll also include a few quotes because they were too adorable):

  1. First love:
    1. “He unbuckles his seat belt and moves towards me. ‘I want more,’ he says. ‘I want more with you.'”
  2. Underlying feminism:
    1. “‘News flash, Mom: a man will not cure my troubles.'”
  3. Teaching people how to be a decent person:
    1. “All my life I’ve had a body worth commenting on and if living in my skin has taught me anything it’s that if it’s not your body, it’s not yours to comment on. Fat. Skinny. Short. Tall. It doesn’t matter.”
  4. Dolly Parton:
    1. Because she’s super cool.

To be honest, I’ve always been a fantasy/post-apocalyptic/survival/dystopian kind of girl, but I’ve been slowly warming into contemporary territory. This novel was a great way to delve deeper. I recommend this novel if you like contemporary/body-positivity or if you just want a sweet summer novel to hang with.


Have you read this novel yet? What did you think of it? Leave a comment!

– Review: Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

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Genre: YA Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Paranormal

ISBN: 144477851X
Published: August 28th 2012 by Skyscape
Series: #1 (Penryn & the End of Days #1)
Length: 288
Source: ebook

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

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I could not put down this book. I started this in two sittings, both late at night, snuggled in my bed. This book made me so emotional, starting from the emotional turmoil from when Penryn first meets Raffe to the physical chaos that is present at the very end of the novel.

This book was so good and I would read it again and again. I loved the determination that Penryn has to find her little sister, and the revelations that happen throughout the whole novel were so astonishing.

I also love how Susan Ee put an aspect of mental illness in the novel—Penryn’s mother has schizophrenia, a mental illness that causes one to not be able to differentiate between fantasy and reality. Bringing light to a disabled family, including Paige, Penryn’s sister, who cannot walk, is a great way to try to bring attention to the wrongs of ableism.

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– Teaser Tuesday (#1)

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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Today’s Teaser Tuesday is from:

Illusive (Illusive #1) by Emily Lloyd-Jones

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The X-Men meets Ocean’s Eleven in this edge-of-your-seat sci-fi adventure about a band of “super” criminals.

When the MK virus swept across the planet, a vaccine was created to stop the epidemic, but it came with some unexpected side effects. A small percentage of the population developed superhero-like powers. Seventeen-year-old Ciere Giba has the handy ability to change her appearance at will. She’s what’s known as an illusionist…She’s also a thief.

After a robbery goes awry, Ciere must team up with a group of fellow super-powered criminals on another job that most would consider too reckless. The formula for the vaccine that gave them their abilities was supposedly destroyed years ago. But what if it wasn’t?

The lines between good and bad, us and them, and freedom and entrapment are blurred as Ciere and the rest of her crew become embroiled in a deadly race against the government that could cost them their lives.

Here’s the teaser:

“Devon glowers at the garbage cans. ‘Right. Sometimes it’s garbage and dead people.'”

– Waiting on Wednesday (#1)

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by the lovely Jill at Breaking the Spine.

It is to share upcoming releases that bloggers and readers are excited about!

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This week’s Waiting on Wednesday is:

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Granted, I haven’t had a chance to get any ARCs for this book (or any ARCs at all, for that matter) as I am just starting out as a blogger, but I hope in the future, I am able to review some fantastic books!

What’s on your Waiting on Wednesday?