Now a hit Netflix film, “Dumplin” is a YA delight worth reading.
If you’ve never indulged by reading a young adult novel as an adult, consider this your official permission. One YA novel I’ve read multiple times is Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. I first listened to the audiobook a few years back and loved the southern twang of the narrator. The star of Dumplin’ is Texan Willowdean Dickson, a body-positive teenager who decides to thwart Clover City’s annual beauty pageant. She doesn’t care about winning, but instead wants to make a statement that anyone can—and should—be free to enter the pageant. Her blatant disregard for beauty pageant norms is complicated by the fact that her mother is a former beauty queen winner and acts as a judge for the very contest Willowdean despises. I admire Willowdean’s brazen mission and found myself cheering on her unabashed self-confidence. Why read YA? You might be surprised at the plucky characters, witty writing, and thoughtful moral issues addressed. Dumplin’ is now a Netflix original movie as well, for extra motivation.