Published by Balzer + Bray on September 15, 2015
Genres: coming of age, ya
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Willowdean has pretty much resigned herself to be the curvy side-kick to her tall and beautiful friend Ellen. Even with the staring at the swimming pool, the mean taunts from Patrick the bully and her mom’s constance diet suggestions Will has the confidence that you expect from Texans.
Then the normal teenage drama things happen: boys, friend-fights, mean-spirited teasing.
Sounds familiar right? Not exactly.
There is an air of positivity in the book that is sometimes lacking in other YA novels. Will is happy and confident as a curvy gal. She gets a red dress that hugs her curves and she feel AWESOME in it. She has boys that like her and friends that have her back. That is a refreshing change. You know what else is great? A girl has sex with her boyfriend and NOTHING HAPPENS. The world doesn’t end, people don’t call her names and there is no regrets or pregnancy scares. Finally.
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.