Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy | Book & Movie Review

Posted January 11, 2019 by Asheley in review / 0 Comments

Dumplin by Julie Murphy
Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy | Book & Movie ReviewDumplin' by Julie Murphy
Series: Dumplin' #1
Published by Balzer + Bray on November 27, 2018
Pages: 400
Source: Wunderkind PR and the publisher
Buy from Amazon|Buy from Barnes & Noble|Buy from Book Depository

Soon to be a Netflix film--featuring Jennifer Aniston, Danielle Macdonald, and Dove Cameron, as well as a soundtrack from Dolly Parton!

The movie tie-in edition of the #1 New York Times bestseller and feel-good YA of the year--about Willowdean Dixon, the fearless, funny, and totally unforgettable heroine who takes on her small town's beauty pageant.

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 girl does.

Along the way, she'll shock the hell out of Clover City--and maybe herself most of all.

I received this book for free from Wunderkind PR and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I finished reading Dumplin’ a couple of days ago and I can totally see why the book has resonated with so many people and why it has been so popular since it has been released. Overall, there is a very positive message and certainly the story touches its target demographic in some very vulnerable places like body image, self-esteem, and even grief (which I thought was very well-handled). These issues strike a chord without being heavy-handed; in fact, the story is lighthearted and funny in some places. So, yes, this is a very good book in terms of how it left me feeling very positive and uplifted at the end.

Dumplin by Julie Murphy

I do think that the secondary cast is what I’ll take from the story more than Willowdean’s character. They were outstanding, albeit stereotypical, in every single case-from the atypical group of pageant participants Willowdean reluctantly forms friendships with, to the people Willowdean works with at Harpy’s, to her best friend Ellen, to my personal favorites: Willowdean’s love interests. I even felt like her mother is more memorable to me. Willowdean is the star of the story, but I do feel like she sort of floated through the story because everyone else carried her and without the others, there would be less of a story to tell.

Also it was interesting to me that there was a love triangle in this one because it was just not needed. I’m not anti-love triangle when they progress the story, but I just could not figure out the justification for the second love interest in this case. Both Bo and Mitch were delightful, mannerly, wonderful guys that any girl would be lucky to date. So the more that Willowdean strung them both along while she made up her mind which one she wanted, the more it broke my heart for both of them. I know that girls go through indecision often in real life, but wow this was painful. Willowdean’s insecurities caused pain to other people, and that was hard for me to read in such a lighthearted book.

In any case, the story was a fun, light read and enjoyable. It is an easy recommendation for me to make, especially to the target demographic of teens and young adults, and at least one of the teens in my household has expressed interest in picking Dumplin’ up and reading it now that we’ve also seen the movie.

Movie Review:

Dumplin Movie PosterI LOVED sitting down with my family last night to watch the movie after finishing the book-we all adored the movie. I think they did a great job adapting the book and keeping as much of the content in as possible. Of course, there are scenes in the book that aren’t in there, but I love the way that many of those scenes are referenced in the movie. So those of us that have read the book would pick up on those little nods. For example, the slumber party scene in the book didn’t make it to the movie, but there is a little part where Millie invites the other girls to a slumber party-little lines and references like that make reading it first extra fun. The actors that were chosen to play the characters bring them to LIFE. They make the fantastic secondary cast even more fantastic. I’m not even sure how, but they just do. And they change the movie a little bit so that it is love triangle free, holla!


I’d definitely recommend reading the book first (always!) but the movie is such a treat, especially when you watch with friends or family. It’s hilarious! By the end, my cheeks were sore from smiling so much-my family and I had been cheering on Willowdean and her friends at the pageant and we just loved how it turned out! Definitely watch it if you can!!

Also, the movie is more family-friendly in term of age than the book is. There are a few swear words but it is just fine for the younger ones to watch. If you’re curious, check out Common Sense Media’s Dumplin’ movie review for specifics. As for the book, I’d save it for when they’re legit young adults.


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About Julie Murphy

Julie Murphy Author Photo

Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she can be found reading, traveling, or watching movies so bad they’re good. Her debut contemporary young adult novel, Side Effects May Vary, is out from Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins and has been well-received by Kirkus, School Library Journal, VOYA, Booklist, Seventeen Magazine, and Teen Vogue. Dumplin’, Julie’s sophomore novel has received glowing reviews including two stars from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Film rights have been optioned by Disney.


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


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