448p. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062418388. POP
Millie Michalchuk and Callie Reyes, Willowdean's classmates from Dumplin' (rev. 11/15), alternate narrating this similarly girl-powered follow-up. Instead of resigning herself to another summer at "fat camp," Millie is trying to work up the courage to apply to a prestigious broadcast journalism program at the University of Texas at Austin. In the meantime, she works at the boxing gym owned by her aunt and uncle and thinks about kissing her crush. Callie wants to make it to Nationals with Clover City's dance team and become captain her senior year-a dream that ends when she and her teammates vandalize Millie's family's gym (which has fallen on hard times) for pulling its sponsorship. As the only one who's busted, Callie is kicked off the team and sentenced to work alongside Millie at the gym for free. It's a punishment with the (expected) upside of Millie and Callie, from different social universes, finding common ground. Murphy delivers a good dose of romance (Dumplin' fans will welcome back Willowdean's castoff, good-guy Mitch) as well as gentle lessons about body acceptance, stereotyping, and forgiveness. But the focus is on Millie and ?Callie's friendship, which, after a rocky start, is authentic, supportive, and noncompetitive. "The wider world wants you to think other women are drama...or catty," Callie's grandmother tells her. "But that's just because when we work together, we're unstoppable." By book's end, both young women have proven her right. rachel l. smith

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