Pumpkin (Dumplin' #3) by Julie Murphy
Published by: Balzer & Bray on May 25th, 2021
Genre: Young Adult // LGBT, Contemporary, Romance
**This book was gifted to me for an impartial review by the Publisher. This in no way alters my review.**
Waylon Russell Brewer is a fat, openly gay boy stuck in the small West Texas town of Clover City. His plan is to bide his time until he can graduate, move to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine, and finally go Full Waylon, so that he can live his Julie-the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-music-Andrews truth.
So when Clementine deviates from their master plan right after Waylon gets dumped, he throws caution to the wind and creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show, Fiercest of Them All. What he doesn’t count on is the tape accidentally getting shared with the entire school. . . . As a result, Waylon is nominated for prom queen as a joke. Clem’s girlfriend, Hannah Perez, also receives a joke nomination for prom king.
Waylon and Hannah decide there’s only one thing to do: run—and leave high school with a bang. A very glittery bang. Along the way, Waylon discovers that there is a lot more to running for prom court than campaign posters and plastic crowns, especially when he has to spend so much time with the very cute and infuriating prom king nominee Tucker Watson.
Waylon will need to learn that the best plan for tomorrow is living for today . . . especially with the help of some fellow queens. . . .
Julie Murphy is one of my ALL TIME favourite authors. Whatever she writes, I will read! After reading Dumplin’ back in 2016, I fell in love with Julie’s way of writing. Since then, I’ve swept up every chance at diving back into the storyworlds she builds.
I finished Pumpkin in one sitting – that should tell you everything about my thoughts on it. We’re back in Clover City, the warmest welcome return to whip-smart words and fiercely themselves characters. Coming back into this world feels like a hug from a friend. Waylon is our openly-gay MC this time, just as strikingly loveable as those before him. As he takes us on a rocky start of slowly biding his time before he can up and leave town with his twin sister Clementine and live the rest of his life as his most beloved self, there’s a major spanner in the works. Suddenly, the plan changes, and on a whim, Waylon decides to make an audition tape for his favourite Drag Show on TV. But when the whole school accidentally gets a viewing after it’s mistakenly leaked, simultaneously landing Waylon a joke-nomination for Prom Queen, life couldn’t get any stranger.
Going with the flow and determined to show them all wrong, Waylon – and his sister’s girlfriend, who is also up for nomination – decide to throw their all into a campaign, focused on leaving school with a memorable bang. But along the way, Waylon (who is dubbed Pumpkin by his grandma) discovers that it’s not all glitter, tiaras and easy work that goes into campaigning. Thrown in the deep end with unlikely people, like Tucker – cute, but annoying – Waylon isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself in for. It’s only when, after a series of events, that he realises, just maybe, he needs to ditch the forced plans for the future and let it happen, with the help of others.
Overall, I just want to HUG this book. It was an overwhelming (in the best way) stunning, fierce and breath-of-fresh-air read. Julie crafted a string of characters that I will remember forever. I’m so glad we got to see snippets of past characters, too. Without giving too much away (because you need to read it yourself!) Waylon’s story had believable highs and lows, love of drag reality TV (with important call-outs to fatphobia in media) life lessons, true friendship, and the power of being yourself. I just can’t get over how much my heart needed this book. It deserves all the stars in the world, but instead, I give it my highest five!
About The Author:
Julie Murphy lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cats who tolerate her. After several wonderful years in the library world, Julie now writes full-time.
When she’s not writing or reliving her reference desk glory days, she can be found watching made-for-TV movies, hunting for the perfect slice of cheese pizza, and planning her next great travel adventure.
She is also the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels Dumplin’ (now a film on Netflix), Puddin’, Ramona Blue, and Side Effects May Vary. Dear Sweet Pea is her debut middle grade novel.
Have you read Pumpkin or any of Julie’s other books in the series?
If you haven’t, don’t forget to add this enchanting novel to your TBR! It’s out May 25th 2021, and you can purchase it on Book Depository (among other online retailers) or your local indie bookstore. Get wrapped in the gorgeous storyworlds of Julie’s writing this spring!
Let me know in the comments or on twitter @LittleMemoirs!