Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review + Giveaway: DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy



DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy
Published: September 15, 2015 by Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC gifted to me by the author <3
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. [goodreads]

DUMPLIN' has done more than just steal my heart, it has completely run away with it, never to be seen again.  I was mesmerized, inspired even, by Julie Murphy's debut Side Effects May Vary, so to say I had high standards for her follow up is an understatement.  I've never been more terrified to read an already hyped up, beloved book by so many early readers.  Plus, there's the fact that I adore Julie Murphy as an author, too.  She's my home-state girl and I love meeting up with her any chance I get.  So yeah, expectations, meet my already soaring standards.

I could sum up this story as a girl who enters a beauty pageant to show her small town there's more to life than just a made up beauty queen.  Or I could mention the cute boy who challenges this same girl's confidence, causing her to question what she really sees in the mirror.  But honestly, it's so much more than that.  This novel breaks the mold on what every teenager tackles: self image.  I can remember the days where I, too, had my doubts on what I looked like and if I'd be accepted or not.  I'd be lying if I told you I didn't.  It's such a hard thing to overcome, especially the voices inside your own head... the ones whispering you're not pretty enough, you're too fat, no one will ever go out with you.  But looking back, I realize those voices were not just my own. There are so many others hearing those same words, too.

Willowdean is my everything I wished I was, and everything I still strive to be.  She begins the story with this oozing confidence, of not caring what others think, and just living out her days as Ellen's best friend.  But when she's noticed by someone, and I mean really, truly admired by someone, her confidence sinks and all those whispering voices inside her head begin shouting out every doubt possible.  She starts to see herself as the fat girl, and expects that is how everyone else sees her, too. My heart began to break in these moments.  She lost site of her inner beauty and only chose to focus on what she thought was being projected back at her in the mirror.

In an effort to stand up against the town's precious beauty pageant, she enters as a contestant, but never expects to win.  Why can't she be deemed beautiful, too?  I loved her passion to basically say F*** You to everyone who thought she wasn't beauty pageant material, and adored her school mates that stood up with her as well.  Together, they learned how to walk in a formal gown, and discovered their hidden talents.  I found myself cheering them on, but I was still worried about Willowdean and her reason for joining.  Was it just out of spite? Or did she really have something to prove?  In the end, its the battle she has to overcome within herself that shines the brightest on that stage.

Dumplin' is more than just a story about a young girl trying to win the crown.  She's someone who has to fight extra hard, and fall down extra hard too, before she realizes just how beautiful she truly is.  It took me years before I felt comfortable in my own skin, and to this day I still have my doubts.  Witnessing Willowdean as she transforms into this truly confident and mesmerizing soul took my breath away.  The cast of people who held her up, stood by her, and cheered her on captured my heart as well.  It's the kind of story you want every young person to read.  It's the kind of story that will linger with you, long after you've read the final page.  I may even find myself quoting "Y'all hail the queen!" a time a two.

Enter below for a chance to win this AMAZING giveaway box full of sweet swag + an ARC of Dumplin' --- Y'all, this giveaway box is so awesome, I'm even jealous of the winner!  Julie Murphy is the queen of swag & this box proves it.  Best of luck to all entrants!

Giveaway Details:
+ Must be a US resident
+ Ends on August 28, 2015
+ Please see my policies page for further contest rules

Already preordered a copy of Dumplin'? Then be sure to check out this preorder campaign HERE.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


86 comments:

  1. So glad you loved this book. I am very excited to read it. it sounds so heartwarming but funny.

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  2. Lovely review, G! I've heard amazing things about Willowdean's story. It sounds both heartwarming and uplifting. I think every girl can relate to this message - whether they're "skinny" or "fat" or whatever it is about their body they struggle with.

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  3. Singing maybe?? I can't but I'd try lol

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  4. I am sooooo happy to see so many positive reviews for this book! I just adore Julie Murphy and the message this book sends. I don't really have any special talents...I can't sing, I can't dance...I can't even read particularly fast. Hmmm...maybe I'd brush up on my archery skills for the talent portion...or perform a Shakespearian monologue. Heh. :)

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  5. I've heard so many great things about this book! Excellent review, G! Can decorating cookies be my talent?! Because I've got nothing else.

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  6. cooking would totally be my talent! or maybe drawing lol I don't know..

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  7. my talent would be my dog training skills!

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  8. I am very anxious to read this book because there are a lot of really positive reviews on it. I guess my talent would be a dramatic recitation? I did that once for state rally, I read from Anne Franks' Diary.

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  9. Oh gosh. I don't have any super talents. I think the best thing I'm secretly good at is remembering things people like and giving them that thing 8 months later for their birthday. Doesn't seem very stage worthy though. Ha!

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  10. IF I entered a pageant, I would sing a song by Jewel :-)

    I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  11. I don't really have a talent, I guess I'd have to go with baking something. LOL I can't wait for this book, it sounds amazing. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  12. If I entered a pageant, my talent would be hugging a lot of dogs.

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  13. I would probably do a (terrible) song and dance number or maybe a baking demo--does that even count as a talent?

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  14. My talent would be my uncanny impersonation of Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride when she does Platypus Face. Go on, Google it...it's worth it. I assure you. ;)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  15. If I entered a pageant my talent would be my ability to reshelve books crazy fast and in perfect alphabetical order!

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  16. I'd attempt to "play" water glasses like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality

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  17. I'm so excited to see ANOTHER positive review for this! I have it coming up on my TBR and each review I read increases my excitement! Yay!!! As far as a talent... that's actually the toughest question for me since I'm basically talentless. :-/ When I was younger I was really into dancing though, so I guess I'd pick that. :)

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  18. I can't wait to read this beautiful book, I'm so excited for it!!! I would totally bake like an apple pie or something for my talent bc I can make a mean apple pie (;

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  19. Can't wait for this book! My talent would probably be knitting, not that exciting but something I'm good at!

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  20. Wow, wow, wow! I loved reading your review of Dumplin', Ginger. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it initially, but now it sounds like I'm going to have to make time to check it out. I'm so pleased to hear that Willowdean's story is so engaging and relatable, and I can't wait to read it for myself!

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  21. I would probably sing, but that would be really boring - maybe I'd have to learn a new skill!

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  23. I'm so excited to read this book. It's on my must read list for this fall.

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  24. I want to read this book so bad! great review! And my talent would be playing music with glasses fill with water. just like on miss.Congeniality lol

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  25. I think I'd have to remind myself how to play the flute I haven't touched in years for my pageant talent. I can't think of anything else.

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  26. I don't really have a talent, but I Irish danced for 8 years as a kid. I sorta remember a few steps. That would be my pageant talent.

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  27. Some sort of dramatic reading. Possibly The Sneetches. ;)

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  28. If I was in a beauty pageant, I think my talent portion would be playing the piano! I used to play a lot when I was a kid, and I really want to get back into it.

    Thank you for the giveaway!
    Sheridan @ I Turn the Pages Book Review Blog

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  29. This looks amazing! Can't wait for the movie either!

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  30. Any pageant talents I possess are as yet undiscovered! I do still recall Juliet's "O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?" monologue from Shakespeare's play, so would probably run with that. Another possibility would be the "Onion Rolls" monologue from "Funny Girl."

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  31. The more reviews the more I can't wait!!

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  32. Oh! My talent. I always do that with these contests, leave the comment then realize there was a question. Uhm spinning yarn. Turning fluff into string.

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  33. If I entered a pageant, my talent would totally be blind speed typing.

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  34. This sounds so wonderful, I loved your thoughtful review! It sounds adorable AND important. I've had confidence issues myself despite being a naturally thin person. I get the opposite comments: "don't you ever eat?" "Eat a cheeseburger why don't you" and I'm still self-conscious about how my arms appear in photos. I love to eat, thank you very much! It'll be really lovely and refreshing to read a story about gaining confidence in yourself. You've inspired me to pick up my ARC after my current book is finished! <3 Hmmmm I think my talent would be dancing! I've never had formal training but I used to love creating choreographed dance routines, that would be fun to do :)

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  35. I can't wait to read this one it looks so good thanks for the giveaway!!! If I was in a beauty pageant I would probably sing for the talent portion!

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  36. Oh man... I have no idea what my talent would be. I'm not very coordinated, so dance and everything related to balance would be out. Maybe I can try my hand at speed reading. I was tested in eighth grade and I was the fastest in the grade.

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  37. Hi confused Team Four Star fans. Yes, I wondered what this was about too.

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  38. Peach @ Books With ChemistryAugust 12, 2015 at 5:25 PM

    sweet review, g!

    and beauty pageant talent? hmm. probably juggling plates. even though realistically, I'd be terrible at that. lol

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  39. Wonderful review! I'm looking forward to this one. I can't sing or dance so I think my talent would be a dramatic reading. :)

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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  40. My talent would probably be something terribly lame...mostly because I don't really have any showcaseable talents so I'd have to come up with something on the fly :p

    Thanks for the chance to win!!!

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  41. I have no talents. No talents anyone in a Pageant would want too see that is. If probably dance. I'd sing if I didn't care about winning. Lol.

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  42. I've been excited for this book since I first heard about it and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy! If I was in a beauty pageant, I would probably have to drag my piano out on stage and play some show tunes. Or perhaps I would showcase my ability to balance on one leg for an a pretty impressive stretch of time? What a decision!

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  43. I love your blog! Can't wait to read this one. It sounds so wonderful, thank you so much for hosting this giveaway!!

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  44. I would attempt to do a cartwheel

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  45. Dancing? I took enough lessons to have it been shown in front of an audience :)

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  46. I think my best talent ( I am reaching here) is reading. I would read them a children's story. I am told that I am good at reading- getting into the story, with characters voices, the tones, etc. I block out the world and emerge myself inside the story as I read. I read a lot of stories as I am substitute teacher.

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  47. I wish I could just read a story to the audience as a talent, but I think I'd practice some archery and do that (I've been learning archery for a few months now) and that might be fun.

    I am SO excited for this book! Thank you so much for the chance!

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  48. Great review!
    I can't wait to read this book! It's one of the books I've been most excited about this year!
    I don't think I have too many talents, but maybe my talent would be fastest typer....haha, that could work, right? :P

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  49. I'd probably sing and faint from fear. Lol. Never been good at singing in public. I could also put stilts and a wig on my niece and make her do gymnastics, yeah that would work. :)

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  50. Hmmmm. I really don't think I do anything good enough to use as a talent in a pageant. I watch a mean TV and can really procrastinate with the best of them, but.....for this I guess I'd go with playing the flute.

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  51. I'd sing Dance Ten, Looks Three from A Chorus Line, which might scandalize the judges, so I'd give them home baked cookies afterward to remind them of how sweet I can be.

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  52. If I could be brave enough...singing! :)

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  53. I'd sing Dolly. I read the opening chapters, and I'm so glad Willowdean shares my affinity for Mrs. Parton.

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  54. I'd do stand up comedy, that is so corny that it's hilarious. Then I will try to sing Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again and Notes from the Phantom of the Opera. I don't know how this would all go down but I'd aim for unforgettable.

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  55. I guess I could recite a poem. Or eight. But after that I'm just blinking stupidly into the stage lights.

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  56. Does reading a book on stage count?
    I honestly have no idea, but on a more serious note, maybe playing an instrument or baking?

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  57. Mmmm...Does being extremely awkward count as a talent?

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  58. oh boy lol i have like no interesting talents what so ever...i can kind of draw so maybe that

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  59. Is writing allowed?

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  60. My talent would be billiards trick shots. Although trying to get a table on the stage would require some work.

    Thanks for the giveaway. :)

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  61. I'm not one that has any talents really. How about counting pills fast, or typing? I'm a pharmacy tech so I do it on the daily.

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  62. Hmm.... My talent would Probably be ballet dancing!

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  63. If you could put a tennis court on the stage then I would be set! I'm really good at tennis!

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  64. I don't know what my talent would be! I'm not very talented unless you count reading fast. Or I can just sing really bad and off key.

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  65. I am so, so excited for this book! As for my talent.. yikes ;) I don't think swimming counts, and no one wants to watch me read on stage so... I am probably going to lose hahah. Thanks so much for the chance to win :)

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  66. If I was in a beauty pageant, my talent would be something along the lines of painting or drawing.

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  67. What a great review! I honestly can't wait to read this book. I think if I entered a pageant my talent would be either ballroom dancing or stand-up comedy.

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  68. I would probably lecture them about something important.

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  69. I'd write up some lyrics and sing my little heart out :-)

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  70. I would probably lecture them about something important.

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  71. Probably singing--not because I'm good at it, but I love it. πŸ˜πŸŽΆπŸ’ƒπŸ» I'll work on some Dolly Parton.

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  72. I would never enter a beauty pageant because I have no talents appropriate for such an event. :-) That doesn't mean I'm not quietly obsessed with watching them, though, which is why I can't wait for this book. Plus, Dolly Parton. <3

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  73. Hey! I really loved your review. This book seems amazing, esp from what I'm hearing from the blogosphere. If I were to enter a beauty pageant, either reading, snark (my sarcasm) or my talents at insulting people, unknowingly would be my talents. Thank you for the opportunity! :D

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  74. I've been waiting on this book for months and would kill for one of these boxes!! My talent would be hoop dancing!

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  75. Maybe baking... lol I fail at tangible talents

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  76. I would probably read some poetry I wrote...writing is the only thing I have close to a talent lol

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  77. Oh my gosh my anxiety is so bad there is no way I could preform in a beauty pageant. If you were allowed "off stage" talents then cooking/baking all the way.

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  78. Oh man, I have no talents. I used to Irish dance, so I guess I would do that?

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