Wednesday 25 April 2018


Puddin' by Julie Murphy

Last year I read the delightful Dumplin', which felt like a Grease for the 21st century with a plus-size main character defying stereotypes and taking part in a teen Texan beauty pageant. The novel was upbeat and inspirational, and it was impossible not to like protagonist Willowdean and her friends. But while I hugely enjoyed Dumplin' I fell head over heels in love with its companion novel Puddin'! So much so, that I devoured this super sweet and hugely fun read in a single day.

Set in the same town and school as Dumplin', we're reunited with Willowdean, Bo and Ellen but this time around they're side characters to the tale of Millie and Callie. Not going to lie, I didn't remember much about these characters from Dumplin' but oh my gosh did I fall in love with them in Puddin'!

Millie is the heart and soul of this book, and I adored her so very much – she's already one of my favourite new characters I've discovered this year and I want another book about her asap! Millie is fat and she owns it. She has dreams of going to journalism camp,  she just needs to break to her mum and that she's not returning to fat camp this summer. Outside of school hours Millie works at her uncle's gym and when it's vandalised by a group of girls from her school, she's forced to spend time with one of them, Callie, who has to work there to pay for the damages.

Callie seems like the typical popular high school girl who has the perfect life, but in true Julie Murphy style there is more going on between the pretty surface. Callie is a far more multi-layered character than the average teen queen bee and despite her flaws (of which there are many, but that does make her very realistic) it's hard not to root for her. Millie and Callie make for a very unlikely duo, but those are the best ones. It makes their tentative friendship – if you can even call it that– super interesting and realistic, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I loved Millie's optimism and determination to get into journalism camp, and her unstoppable positive attitude was a breath of fresh air on the pages. Puddin' touched upon similar themes to other contemporary YA reads, such as female friendships and blossoming romance (and oh gosh, do I ship Millie and Malik!!), but it did so without the protagonist drowning in angst and that was very refreshing. And of course the fact that she's not the same stick figure gracing so many book covers was excellent as well. Representation for the win!

While Callie started out as the typical bitchy popular girl, discovering her insecurities and difficulties along the way made her far more interesting and real – and by the end of it I really loved her too. The relationship between Callie and the other girls in Millie's crowd was fascinating to see unfold as it wasn't an easy happily-ever-after journey, but a road of genuine growth with lots of hurdles along the way.

Puddin' is inspiring, honest, and oodles of fun. I only finished it about a week ago and it's already one of my most recommended books of the year, I just can't stop thinking and talking about it! It also makes me want to pick Dumplin' back up as I don't want to say goodbye to this awesome group of characters just yet. So Julie Murphy, if you're reading this, please please please write another book set in Clover City and make sure Millie is front and centre once again, because we all need more of her awesomeness in our lives. 😊

Puddin' will be published by HarperCollins on 17 May 2018 and you can pre-order your copy now from Foyles or your own preferred retailer.

My friend Catriona from Fabulous Book Fiend has also just read Puddin', so keep an eye on her awesome YouTube channel for her review coming tomorrow alongside recs for some other fab reads too. (Spoiler alert: she loved it!)

🎵 Listening to: Fall Out Boy – My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark

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