August 11, 2021 7:36 AM EDT

Willowdean “Will” Dickson likes her body. So what if her mother Rosie, a former pageant queen, calls her Dumplin’? She was taught by her Aunt Lucy, who mostly raised her, to love her curves. But when Lucy dies six months before Will’s senior year in high school, the teen’s life flips upside down and she can’t seem to connect with her mother. So when she discovers that Lucy entered their small Texas town’s Miss Teen Bluebonnet Pageant at the age of 16, Will decides to apply too—in protest. Julie Murphy’s 2015 coming-of-age tale explores how difficult self-love can often be, while also delivering a sweet romance and an unforgettable heroine. A #1 New York Times best seller, Dumplin’ was adapted into a Netflix movie in 2018 starring Jennifer Aniston and Danielle Macdonald. —Madeleine Carlisle

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