Book Review: Dumplin’ {Julie Murphy}

This book had been on my radar for months…I couldn’t wait to read and review it!

Synopsis From Goodreads:

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.

My Thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I will never post spoilers in my reviews HOWEVER the comment section is completely fair game to discuss any and all specifics including spoilers)

3 Stars

I’m so torn with my review of this book. I REALLY wanted to love it. It has everything in terms of story line that a great book should have. Interesting characters? Check. Interesting story line? Check.

And yet…eh. I found this whole book just fell flat.

If the story had really focused on the pageant and everything leading up to it as the synopsis promises, it would have been so much better. However, the majority of this book focused on a teenager’s day-to-day life which I found boring.

Also, this book has WAY too many characters and WAY too many story lines. None of the characters even had a chance to become fully developed and therefore became unforgettable and interchangeable as the story went on. I also found the majority of these characters to be very unlikable! The only characters I truly liked in the entire book were Mitch (and Lucy).

The main character (Willowdean) was extraordinarily judgmental of other people (and obviously of herself) which is ironic since the entire premise of this book is about breaking through stereotypes.

I found her relationship with her best friend to be obsessive and unhealthy.  I get that we are viewing this relationship through the eyes of a (dramatic) teenager but still…it bothered me that she felt she NEEDED this relationship to feel whole.  In fact, I believe she even made this exact comment in this story!

I had one MAJOR issue with this story which I will say in the comments because it’s also a major spoiler 🙂

However, in between the parts of the book where I found fault, I also found beauty.  There ARE beautiful and important messages, lessons, and moments delivered throughout this story.  Unfortunately, combined with all of the reasons stated above, this book just wasn’t nearly as great as I was expecting it to be.

There is a sequel to this book which unfortunately I have zero desire to read. Ugh! I really thought I was going to love both of these books!  I have already returned both to the library.  Sad.

But here’s the weird thing…The trailer for the movie looks AMAZING. Could this possibly be one of those rare occurrences where the movie is better than the book??? Check out the movie trailer starring Jennifer Aniston:

Looks so amazing, right?!?  Have any of you seen it?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  If any of you have read the book AND have seen the movie, I’m really wondering how they compare?

Bottom Line:

If the movie is truly as wonderful as the trailer makes it out to be, I say skip the book and just watch the movie.  And I NEVER say that.

Foam on the Crest of Waves Giveaway Winners:

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the Foam on the Crest of Waves Giveaway!

Hard Copy Winner:

Melissa A (I am subscribed via my blog account (chicklitcentral). I just went to Miami a few weeks ago and loved the beach there! I used to go to Pompano Beach (also in FL) every year as a kid and that also brings back great memories. I live in the US. Hard copy preferred. Thanks for the chance!)

E-Book Winners (There were so many entries for the hard copy but only 3 for the e-books! So…congratulations to all 3 of you!):

Kelley Blair (My favorite beach is Ocean Isle in North Carolina. I am USA and either hard copy or e-book works for me. Thank you kindly.)

Melissa Strader  (This sounds like a great book! I already follow your blog and love reading it! My favorites beaches are located along the coast of La Jolla, CA – so much to see and do there, not just water activities, but also restaurants and shopping and biking. Kayaking the Sea Caves is the best! I’m ok with a real book or electronic copy. I live in the USA!)

Mistysbookspace (Thank you so much for the chance. I am already a follower. I have only ever been to two beaches and those are New Smyrna beach and Myrtle Beach. I don’t really remember much about my visit to New Smyrna beach because I went when I was younger so I’m going to say Myrtle beach is my favorite. It’s a little crowded at least when I’ve gone but it’s gorgeous and there are so many other activities to do there as well. I live in the US. I would prefer a hard copy but I’m ok with ebooks too. Thank you again for the chance.)

Ladies, please email me ( with your mailing address (hard copy winner) or your email address (e-book winners) of where you would like your book sent!  Congratulations and enjoy!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  I hope you fill it doing things with those you love!



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Books I’m Bringing On My Vacation!

Sometimes the term “type A” isn’t even enough to describe me.

I like organization.  I like being in control.  I like having a plan.

So when it comes to packing my family for a vacation….BRING.  IT.  ON.

I set up card tables weeks in advance.  I make lists and lists and lists.  I shop online, I shop in stores.  I meticulously plan what everyone will wear, anticipate what each of us will need, and carefully plan how I will organize everything into the suitcases.  When it comes to packing, I’m pretty much an expert.  If I do say so myself…

I have been like this for as long as I can remember and I love this part of me.  Exhausting?  Absolutely.  Stressed out?  Absolutely.  BUT the control lover in me simply thrives in situations like this.  My family will benefit from all of my hard work and I’ll feel proud when we are there with everything we could possibly need (and more.  Always so much more.  Still working on this…)

We are leaving for Disney World soon and we are READY!  The fake wooden card tables have been set up for weeks divided into sections by person (clothing, airplane, other).  TYPE.  A.

One thing that fits into the “other” category is my stack of books that I will be bringing along.

I recently posted a story on Instagram (Do you follow Book Coffee Happy on Instagram? Between creating posts and creating stories, I post something daily over there and would love for you to follow along on that platform as well!) about needing to return to the library because I already read 2 of the books from my vacation stack…oops.  They just looked so good!  And they totally were (this book and this book)!

So back to the library I went…and I now have a delightful stack of books to bring with me to the Happiest Place on Earth:

A perfect mix of psychological thrillers and “lighter” reads.  I started Sometimes I Lie a few months ago and never finished it…time to reread it from the beginning because I’ve heard it’s GREAT!  Then She Was Gone was recommended by a few people on the Book Coffee Happy Facebook page (a big thanks to those who recommended it to me, it sounds great!).  I have been wanting to read Dumplin’ and it’s sequel Puddin’ for months (Dumplin’ was on my list of books to read in 2019).  How to Find Love in a Book Shop is a book I’ve never even heard of but of course the title caught my eye and it sounds adorable!

**You can read more on my method of carefully selecting books to bring on my vacations here.  And no…there is NO WAY I will actually be able to read all of these books on this particular vacation (see above link for more details on this) **

My plan is to start Dumplin’ a few days before we leave and just go from there…

We can’t WAIT to meet you, Mickey Mouse!



Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below but ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS PLEASE!

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Local friends, I run a storytime every Tuesday and Friday at Whimsy Cafe in Buffalo Grove, Illinois from 10:00-10:30! Bring your kids (6 months-5 years) for stories, songs, and lots of fun. Price is included in your child’s admission, no need to sign up. If you are a blog reader, please be sure to introduce yourself!  I can’t wait to meet you and your little ones. 🙂

Click the image below to order the book through my Amazon affiliate link.  When you order through this link, I receive a tiny commission. Thank you for your support, Xo