I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Released: May 25th 2021
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Dumplin' #3
“For me, this is five stars because I would re-read it and profusely recommend it!”~ Under the Covers
It’s official—if I could have any fictional best friend it would be Waylon Brewer of Julie Murphy’s Pumpkin!
Waylon Brewer is an openly gay, overweight senior in high school in a small West Texas town. His best friend is his twin sister, Clementine (or Clem), who’s also openly gay. Waylon is counting down the weeks until graduation, when he and Clem can embark on their next adventure together outside of their small town. Instead, he finds himself dumped by his friend- with-benefits and his plan with Clem abandoned. Waylon creates an audition tape for his favorite drag contest show (think, RuPaul’s Drag Race) in an effort to burn off some stress. But when the video is leaked and the whole school accidentally sees the audition, Waylon gets nominated for prom queen as a joke—and he decides to run with it. Along his prom court journey, Waylon makes new friends, rekindles old friendships, finds a new love interest, and learns to embrace “Full Waylon.”
This book is amazing on so many levels. I haven’t read a YA book in a while, and Pumpkin was a great way to get back into the genre. While technically YA, the confidence and positivity (and snark) that Waylon exudes is something that should resonate with any reader, whether they’re in high school or trying their best at this thing we call “adulting.”
Waylon’s character embodies the perfect combination of relatable and inspiring. Waylon struggles with insecurity about his body (don’t we all sometimes?) and the notion that 18 year olds are expected to have their life already planned out—the right “track” of classes in high school to get into the correct program at the best college. He acknowledges, “It feels like I’m suppose to know who I am right at his moment,” which I’m sure is something felt by everyone at more than one point in their life.
What’s special about Waylon is that he also exudes this confidence, kindness, and unmatched snark. His sarcastic commentary literally had me laughing out loud, something I usually don’t do. Murphy creates a unique character that has these relatable traits and familiar struggles but has this unparalleled poise that is something to aspire to. Waylon is the definition of goals.
Other characters—Clem, Clem’s girlfriend Hannah, Waylon’s frenemy Kyle, to name a few—are just as endearing as Waylon. Each have their own struggles to grapple with that Murphy harmonizes with Waylon’s journey. These supporting characters are just as relatable, funny, and go through some self-discovery, but they don’t distract from Waylon’s overall story.
For me, this is five stars because I would re-read it and profusely recommend it! There really wasn’t anything that didn’t work for me. Maybe some of the characters seemed a little too mature for high schoolers, but that’s really me reaching. Overall it was very enjoyable and I can’t wait to read the Murphy’s other books!
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