Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
This book started out really really well. Willowdean Dickson is a fat girl from a small town in Texas whose claim to fame is that it holds the oldest beauty pageant in America every year. So in a town that is hugely obsessed with feminine beauty, and with a mum who is a former winner of the pageant, you'd think that Willowdean would be all cowed and self-hating.
Not on your nelly. Willow dean had a really real voice. She was comfortable in her own skin but also hated the pressure and expectations society puts on her.
But this isn't just a book about a fat girl. It's about family and friendship and Dolly Parton. There's some romance and although I don't like love triangles in general, I could actually see the point of this one. Willowdean has to choose between two guys, the guy who's sweet and she considers tobe 'in her league' or the guy who's bloody gorgeous but she worries that people will comment and judge them and wonder how she managed to bag a guy like that.
While I really loved Willowdean's confidence, I wasn't so struck on her judginess when it came to the other characters. She thinks mean thoughts about people like literally all the time. Poor old Millie gets a right internal-monologue roasting and for someone who hates the way society views her this came across as pretty hypocritical, especially as Willowdean also says 'If it's not your body, it's not your body to comment on'. She's mean about the girls who work at the clothes shop with her best friend and calls them skanks, which isn't cool either. I know this just means she's human and imperfect, but it really jarred considering the body-positivity message the book was trying to promote.
I enjoyed reading this book - it had a lovely flow to it and was really easy to pick up. Willowdean's monologue - judginess aside - was really easy to get caught up in.