HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. May 2021. 336p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062880451. POP.
Gr 8 Up–Waylon (dubbed Pumpkin by his grandma) stands out in his small Texas town of Clover City. He is tall, fat, red-headed, and gay. He’s got his head down and his eyes set on graduation and moving to Austin with his twin sister, Clementine. However, his plans fall apart when double-dumped on the same night—first by his friends with benefits, Lucas, and then when finding out that Clem has been hiding a college acceptance to an out-of-state school. Waylon channels all his angst into an audition tape for his favorite drag competition show, Fiercest of Them All, which later gets leaked to the whole school. On top of that, he is then nominated as a finalist for Prom Queen as a joke. Devasted at first, Waylon later decides to own it. Murphy is at it again with a third return to Clover City and the Dumplin’ universe. This book introduces new characters and allows readers a glimpse of past favorites. Waylon is a strong protagonist—fully developed and completely unapologetic. Tackling heavy topics with humor, this novel touches on the importance of staying true to yourself even (and especially) when it’s hard.
VERDICT A must-purchase for fans of Murphy’s previous books, a good prom story, and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

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