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Dumplin’

dumplin

Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Series:
Recommended for: 9th grade and up
Pages: 384
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION MURPHY

Synopsis:  For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean 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 Teen Blue Bonnet 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.

I loved Willowdean.  She and really all of the other characters are well developed, real and so much fun. The book addresses all kinds of teen problems and angst without being at all ‘preachy’ or serious.  Crushes, friendship problems, bullying, hurt feelings, insecurities, heartbreak, Will faces them all and comes out on the other side with her sense of humor and self esteem intact.  Willowdean and her circle of friends come to embrace who they are and believe in themselves, not in what others think about them.  Will is a great inspiration for any teen who feels they don’t fit in. As one reviewer put it, “I am happy to tell you no one loses weight in this book, and no one feels compelled to explain how a hot guy could fall for a full sized gal. Thank you. Seriously. Instead, you can expect to find some cross dressing Dolly Parton impersonators, myriad references to the song Jolene, and big girls showing up weird, loud, and proud to walk the beauty pageant catwalk.”

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Posted by on November 30, 2015 in Funny, Realistic, self-esteem, Teen

 

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Beauty Queens

Beauty Queens coverTitle:   Beauty Queens
Author:   Libba Bray
Series:   –
Recommended for:   teen girls, adults who like chick lit, people who like satires
Pages:   396 pages
Call Number/Link:   Teen Fiction Bray, L.

Rating:   ****

 

Synopsis:

What do you get when you cross America’s Next Top Model with Lost? A brilliantly funny novel by the queen of teen satire, Libba Bray.

The fifty contestants in the Miss Teen Dream pageant thought this was going to be a fun trip to the beach, where they could parade in their state-appropriate costumes and compete in front of the cameras. But sadly, their airplane crashed on a desert island, leaving the survivors stranded with little food, little water, and practically no eyeliner. What’s a beauty queen to do? Continue to practice for the talent portion of the program or wrestle snakes to the ground? Get a perfect tan or learn to run wild? And what should they do when the sexy pirates show up? Welcome to the heart of non-exfoliated darkness.

Comments:

I loved many parts of Beauty Queen.  It’s not often that I laugh out loud while reading or listening to a book, but I alarmed Natalie by laughing loudly several times while reading this book.  I would never have thought of combining a beauty pageant and “Survivor.”  Libba Bray is a genius!  However, that said, there were moments when I thought she was a bit over the top, to the point that it just wasn’t funny to me.  Overall, there were more positive moments.

Most of the beauty contestants were two-dimensional characters (or caricatures) at the beginning of the book.  By the end, the beauty contestants who were main characters were well fleshed out and I had a pretty good idea of what made the other beauty contestants tick.  (This was less true of the pirates, Corporation employees and other minor characters.)  Whereas the beauty contestants seemed like a mostly homogeneous group early on, with the exception of Idina and uber-competitor Taylor, they turned out to have definite differences – and secrets.  One character was a “wild girl.”  One presented herself as a traditional East Indian immigrant (with a vaguely British accent) but was really a valley girl.  One contestant was transgender, one was hearing impaired, one was an African-American girl whose mother wanted her to be lighter.  They also all had different talents and gifts that helped the group survive on a deserted island.  They created an irrigation system, built huts, crafted bows and arrows….

This book will be most appealing to readers who have a satirical bent and are not not too reverential of beauty pageants.  It mocks Big Business, reality t.v. (and the media), commercials, international relations, political campaigns, dictators, and many other things.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2015 in Adventure, Dystopian, Funny, Teen

 

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