I recently watched Dumplin’ on Netflix because I love to support YA adaptations as much as I can and boy — I cried. I haven’t yet read the book (If you didn’t know, there’s a book and I’ve heard it’s great) and now, I think I just might have to pick it up! Here’s a little description from Goodreads about Dumplin’:
“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.”
It was recently made into a movie by Netflix so if you have a subscription, you can watch it! I highly recommend it. Definitely a tear jerker but are they sad or happy tears? I couldn’t tell.
I decided I’d conjure up a little list of recommendations of books you can read after watching the movie because I knew there’s tons of us out there who’ve just watched it and loved it.
1. Puddin’ by Julie Murphy
“It is a companion novel to Dumplin’, which follows supporting characters from the first book in the months after Willowdean’s star turn in the Clover City pageant.
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.”
If you didn’t know Dumplin’ had a sort-of sequel, now you know! Puddin’ came out this year and it’s a companion novel to Dumplin’. You better get reading!
2. Little White Lies (Debutantes #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
“Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother’s “society” might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father’s identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn’t expect to find is friendship, but as she’s drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn’t the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother’s glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer’s search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.
Set in the world of debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines a charming setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off.”
If you’re looking for a book set in the south full of debutantes, here you go!
3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
“Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always
have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?”
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli is another body positive story about a fat girl and her journey finding love and self acceptance.
4. I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
“Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.
So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.
Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?”
5. The Sky is Everywhere
“Lennie’s family life is far from conventional. Her mother left when she was just an infant, and her eccentric grandmother raised Lennie and her big sister, Bailey, with some help from their uncle Big (who also happens to be the town lothario). But when Bailey dies suddenly, Lennie is completely lost; she’s never lived without her attention-grabbing big sister, and now she has to learn how. She isn’t prepared for her feelings about the perfect boy who just showed up at school, and she’s even less prepared for the sudden pull she feels toward Bailey’s fiancé, who seems like the only person with whom she can truly share her grief. Suddenly, she’s giving more thought to the mother who abandoned her, and Gram’s explanation of the “restless gene” that runs in their family just isn’t enough to explain her mother’s absence. The Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful reminder that family ties don’t always break for those who are left behind.”
If you’re looking for a book with a strong focus on family and relationships, here’s a perfect fit.
6. Future Perfect by Jen Larsen
“Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.
As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?
Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.”
If you didn’t know, Julie Murphy also has other YA books as well! I’ve actually read her book Ramona Blue and really enjoyed it. 🙂
If you read any of these after watching Dumplin’, let me know! I’d love to hear what you thought.
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*the little graphic of Dumplin’ isn’t mine. It’s from the cover of the book*