Will Stop Being a Bella: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

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.

Source: GoodReads

I think my problem with Dumplin’ was that I expected a different book than what I got.  To be fair, after I got through the first third of this book I was able to enjoy it enough.  Not love it liked I hope, but enjoy it.

The first third though.

There was nothing, that was holding my interest and it was just so boring and blah on so many levels.  I was expecting Willowdean to be this firecracker who didn’t care jack shit about what size her butt was.

But nope.

She whined, moped, and accused anyone of hating her because of her size.  She made judgments about other characters-a.k.a. Millie

She judged.

A lot.

And she judged so much throughout the book, to the point I wanted to punch her.  Though, she did have her moments where I could forgive her (kneeing a certain jerk in the nuts gave her bonus points).

The thing was the blurb advertised a self confident character, and this character really didn’t have much-if any-self confidence.

All her actions rooted from being insecure.

Even entering the pageant which was a shame.  The pageant part was really underplayed.  I was hoping for something that was a bit more of Bridesmaids with maybe some Pitch Perfect, but that wasn’t how those scenes were done at all.

It wasn’t bad.

Just not the complete awesomeness I was hoping for.

It was the same with the romance.  To be blunt about it, the romance angle was something I’ve seen in plenty YA books and it’s pretty exasperating.  The only difference was that we had a main character that wasn’t a size two playing the role of the center piece in the triangle.

And despite the fact that Will might be more relatable physically, her action are still jerkish a la Bella Swan and a host of others.

I didn’t like how she treated either boy.  And I thought one of them was a jerk to her, and the other guy deserved a lot more than he got.

One thing I really hate when I read is the excuse of “chemistry”.  Like the nice guy isn’t good enough because there was no “chemistry” there.

Bull freaking shit.

That’s what I wanted to tell Will and a host of others characters before her who act this way.  While I get chemistry plays an important part in any relationship, if he’s a jerk he’s a jerk.  Nothing’s going to change that.

Pulling out hair moment, right there.

I will say though, even though there are a lot of hair pulling moments in this book, there were a lot of moments that made me smile.  I liked all the Dolly Parton references.  How Dolly plays a role throughout the book, and I loved, loved, loved, the Dolly drag club scene.

That was probably one of the best scenes in the book.

I also like Will’s new friends.  I wanted more time spent on them.  Again, I was expecting something more akin to Bridesmaids or Pitch Perfect-you know misfit female cast being awesome.  But it just doesn’t seem like it was meant to be here.

If you don’t make expectations before reading Dumplin’ you’ll probably enjoy it.  The book does highlight North Texas pretty well.  Several of the things that Will experienced, I nodded my head to because, well, it was something I had experience with.

I just really didn’t like the fact that this was more and less focused on a love triangle with yet another self conscious slightly bitchy character.

Overall Rating: A C. Average at best.  I  probably could rate it higher, but the hype kind of deflated it and I wanted to punch Will for being such a Bella.

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