Julie Murphy's Dumplin'
Let me preface my complaint by saying that I think the marketing did this book a slight disservice--because I was led to believe this book was about a confident fat teenager who enters the beauty pageant her mother runs, and also has a hot love interest, and while the latter two things are true, the most important one--her confidence--is not. Which is soooo realistic, of course! She is a super realistic teenager with super realistic teenage problems and drama. But I wanted a heroine who kicks ass from day one, and doesn't spend the whole book learning to kick ass (with the help of some magical drag queens and adorable sidekicks). This is just a me thing, I realize. I liked most of the book very much--good female friendships, good explorations of grief, lots of Dolly Parton--but thought it veered a little bit into cheesy territory and needed more character development for the love interest and the best friend. Great cover and generally cute story, though. B/B+.