Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

Dumplin’ has been on my book shelf forever now. And I can’t understand how I didn’t read it already, especially with all the praises the book and the movie got. Anyway, did it fare well on my reading scale? Read my book review of Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy right away.

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About Dumplin’

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy book cover

Book Name: Dumplin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Genre: Fiction – RomanceYoung adult

Characters: Willowdean Dickson (Dumplin’), Ellen, Bo Larson, Mitch

Setting: Clover City, Texas, The USA

Plot Summary of Dumplin’

Willowdean is the “resident fat girl” (her own words) and is quite happy in her own body – mostly. With her best friend Ellen, a conventional beauty, by her side she doesn’t care much about others opinion her body, including her mother’s – a former beauty queen herself.

But she is more than surprised to find that her crush, Bo Larson, likes her back. She needs some validation as doubts about her body creep into her mind. Of course she has to do something Will would never dare to do, normally.

With some more unlikely candidates on tow, she signs up for the Miss Clover City beauty pageant to show herself and the others that she deserves to a spot as much as every other girl there.

Does she get the boy? More importantly, does she get her much deserved space in the beauty pageantry? You will have to read Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy to know more.

Book review of Dumplin’

First of all, I loved Willowdean, mostly. I loved that she is flawed yet strong and so well developed. Actually, none of the characters in the book are flawless or perfect. Most of them are dimensional and etched out.

I understand the insecurities that Will faces all through her life and why she reacts the way she does (a bit self centered) at times. And it totally worked for me, especially since “losing her weight” or “romance/a boy” were not prescribed as the solutions.

I loved the complicated mother-daughter relationship and how differently each person handles the grief over a losing someone beloved. I kept waiting for Will to shout at her mother for being so pushy about the diet and losing weight, though it would have been a bit cliché.

On the other hand, I didn’t like how she treats her friends and boy friends at all. She was being too mean and inconsiderate to her new friends, in general and it was not addressed in the book.

Secondly that the resolution was quite abrupt.
Spoiler I found it a little odd that Ellen and Will made up so easily at the pageant, out of nowhere. They could have done it any time. I wish it took more than a speech to solve that issue.

What worked for me

  • I loved the whole Dolly Parton fan theme. Many song references went over my head, but on the whole I enjoyed reading about it.
  • Most of the characters in Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy were flawed and fully fleshed out. And I really liked that.
  • I also liked the complicated mother daughter relationship dynamic.

What may have been better

  • I particularly disliked how Will treated others, especially her new friends.
  • This book has a triangular love story. So if you hate that trope, beware.

Content warning

Body shaming, bullying, Fat shaming, grieving the death of a beloved, forced diet and weight loss (mentioned)

Bottom line

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a light contemporary read which is (mostly) body positive and sends a powerful message. It is perfect for both young and adult readers.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver – A book review

It has been a while that I read a book that has opened my eyes on a few issues. And this book did that exactly, without cutting the entertainment factor. Let us get on to the book review of I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver, shall we?

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About the book

I Wish You All the Best Book cover

Book Name: I Wish You All the Best

Author: Mason Deaver

Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young adult

Characters: Ben De Backer, Nathan Allen, Hannah and Thomas, Mariam

Setting: Raleigh, North Carolina , The USA

Plot Summary

When Ben De Backer comes out to their parents as a nonbinary, it doesn’t go well with them. They are thrown out of their house and is forced to reach out to their estranged sister Hannah and her husband, Thomas.

Thomas and Hannah let Ben to stay with them and help them join a new school. Ben comes out only to them and their therapist and wants to keep a very low profile at their new school.

But when Nathan Allan, a charismatic student, decides to befriend them and to include them in their gang, Ben’s plan fails spectacularly.

What does Ben actually want? Is it okay if they were actually attracted to Nathan? Read I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver to know more!

Book review

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver is probably the first book I have read with a nonbinary/enby lead and honestly, I have learned a lot from it. Yet educating the readers about nonbinaries is not the main motive the book.

The book is filled with sadness and poignancy due to the plot. And at the same time, I Wish You All the Best makes sure there is hope and a chance for happiness.

I love the fact that the romance was not an end or to cure all the mental health issues. While I am all fluffy rom-com books, I somehow love the fact that I Wish You All the Best was not one of them, mainly because the topic is very important. And kudos to the #ownVoice author to have handled it so well.

If I had to complain about just one thing: I wish we had heard a little more about their relationship with Nathan, after the big reveal. You know, sorta acceptance or them dealing the issues together as a couple etc. Of course, that I Wish You All the Best didn’t do that doesn’t reduce it for me in any way.

What worked for me

  • I loved how I Wish You All the Best deals with anxiety and mental health as a part of identity crisis and then its acceptance.
  • Romance takes a backseat to themes like identity and friendship.
  • I really liked the friendship between the two main characters and adored Nathan.

What may have been better

  • I wish the big reveal to Nathan happened a little bit earlier.

Content warning:

Disowning parents, Kicked out of the house, panic attacks and depression, peer pressure into drinking, constant misgendering, stressful coming out.

Bottom line

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver is an emotional and heart wrenching book that will not just educate the readers but also an entertaining read. Kudos to the author in maintaining that delicate balance.

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Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy- A book review

From Twinkle, with love – A book review

Remember the time when everyone including your friends loved a thing and you didn’t know how to react because you didn’t love it as much. Or to be honest didn’t love it at all? Well, I am gonna probably lose some friends over this review of From Twinkle, with love by Sandhya Menon. Let get it done with ok?

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About the book

From Twinkle, with love Cover

Book Name: From Twinkle, with love

Author:  Sandhya Menon

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Twinkle Mehra, Dadi, Sahil and Neil Roy, Maddie Tanaka, Victoria

Setting: Colorado Springs, ColoradoThe United States of America


Twinkle Mehra is an aspiring filmmaker, who has had a crush on the school’s golden boy Neil Roy for a long time. She has made it her personal goal to break out of the groundling status (AKA commoners), in the high school cliched ranks, and get promoted to that of silk feathered hats, that is the popular ones.

To make matters worse, her childhood best friends Maddie had found new friends earlier this year and she is now among the popular clique, and she has to win her back.

When Sahil, a fellow film geek and the awkward twin of Neil Roy, asks her to work on a film for the summer festival, she takes it up as a chance to solve all her problems – get closer to Neil, win back Maddie, join the popular clique and shoot a film.

But what she did not expect was her falling for the sweet, understanding and adorable Sahil. What happens to their film and their romance forms the rest of the story in From Twinkle, with love.

Book review

Since I told you all pretty much how I feel about the book already, let us talk about the why part.

I was all excited for this book, because I had had met the author then and she turned out to be actually sweet and friendly. And most of my friends and many from the book blogger world loved it. But that didn’t sway my high expectations from my experience with When Dimple met Rishi. So I started reading with the correct level of expectations but hopeful that I will love it.

After a few initial chapters, I started disliking Twinkle as I found her annoying, self absorbed and hypocritical. As much as she spoke of breaking the barrier between cliches, she was obsessed with being in the popular group. She had a crush on Neil and constantly worried about ‘her connection with him’ even when she was getting closer to his brother, when she had barely spoken with him ever.

And she absolutely didn’t care about what Maddie’s interest in ‘being best friends’ with her. Or how Sahil would feel when he realizes that she is working with him to get to his brother, whose shadows he had lived under all his life. And she doesn’t tell him about meeting N, her secret admirer until he found out. I really wanted to like this book, you guys!

Also her character arc: Her character arc takes a positive change and then a negative so suddenly (and quite unnecessarily) that it had me double check if I were reading it correctly. Yes, she redeems herself at the end but the changes in her didn’t make sense to me.

Why am I talking only about Twinkle?

Because that is all there! From Twinkle, with love is written in the epistolary style with diary/letter entries of Twinkle and chat history of Sahil. The book offers no other character’s perspectives. But how did she write her diary when she was with others? Did she excuse herself for 30 minutes (that is how much long it took to write this review) when she is with others?

I liked the author’s writing style and easy flow. And it would definitely be a good book to start your reading habit even. I liked even the smaller characters like Dadi, Victoria and I wish we had deeper insights into their characters.

Things that worked for me

  • Finally a diverse book with an Indian MC, in a setting that I can personally relate to.
  • I loved Sahil and how understanding and helpful was.
  • Great book to start the reading habit with.
  • I liked the easy narrative flow, despite the epistolary style.

Things that didn’t work for me

  • I completely hated how annoying and cardboard-ish Twinkle was.
  • And her character arc didn’t make sense to me.
  • I wish the other (non lead) characters had more depth and character development.


Read From Twinkle, with love if you are looking for a fluffy, contemporary high school romance, with desi characters. Many other bloggers have loved it, so you might too.

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