Fearless, honest, and heartwarming. Willowdean Dickson, a self-proclaimed “fat girl”, is adjusting to life after the loss of her beloved aunt who lived with her and her mother.
When Willowdean Dickson decides to enter the Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant, she has no idea the ripple effect her entry will cause. She just wants to honor her Aunt’s memory, and prove a point. During the course of the contest, however, she does so much more. Like get her first kiss, fall in love, break up with her best friend, and make some new friends along the way. But here’s the thing – Willowdean doesn’t look like your average beauty contestant. She takes up space and she’s not ashamed of that, she embraces who she is…but she doesn’t quite buy that OTHER people embrace her. All of her.
What transpires is a heartfelt, honest journey of a girl who struggles with fitting in, being bullied, and ultimately loving yourself. Through Murphy’s hilarious prose, we get a glimpse into small-town life and just how much trouble being different can create. Willowdean’s voice is strong and carries her confidence from the page to the reader with ease, and when she struggles to see herself as that wildly bold, creative young woman, the readers are right there with her. I cried, laughed, and found a well-spring of confidence from her story.
Julie Murphy might just become my new favorite author! I’m itching to go back and read her debut novel Side Effects May Vary and I’ll be sure to post a review after.