by Murphy, Julie

When circumstances put Millie Michalchuk and Callie Reyes together over the course of a semester, the girls realize they have more in common than they ever imagined.

This companion to the popular Dumplin' (2015) brings two supporting characters center stage. Good girl Millicent is determined to spend her summer at journalism camp-not the fat camp where, over the years, she lost more self-esteem than weight. Brash and bitchy Callie is thrilled with her rich boyfriend and coveted place on the Shamrock dance team. After a local gym, owned by Millie's uncle, must default on its monetary support of the team, a trashing of the gym by masked Shamrocks gets out of control; only Callie, identified by her necklace, suffers consequences. She's banished from the team, ditched by her boyfriend, and forced to work off the damages alongside Millie. Told in alternating chapters, the when-worlds-collide story goes deep as the girls form an unlikely friendship that reveals their strengths and weaknesses and shows the possibilities that open when stepping outside one's comfort zone. Adult characters tend to blend together, and it may take a while for those unfamiliar with Dumplin' to sort out the backstory. Fortunately, Murphy's energetic writing style makes for compulsive readability. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: With the number-one best-selling Dumplin'soon to take a bow in movie theaters, demand for this ought to be slammin'. Grades 8-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Vandalism throws a teen of unflagging cheer into regular contact with her polar opposite in this novel told in alternating first-person chapters.Millie's decided to end her nine-year stint at weight-loss summer camp: She's fine being fat, which weight-loss camp hasn't changed anyway. Instead, she's applying—behind her parents' backs—to a broadcast journalism program. Meanwhile, she's bouncily organizing sleepovers with her friends and flirting with Malik, an attractive South Asian boy at school. But when Millie's aunt and uncle's gym is vandalized by the dance team after being forced by poor profits to withdraw its sponsorship, the only team member to get caught—and required to work alongside Millie at the gym—is Callie Reyes, whose prickly affect stands in contrast to Millie's sunny optimism. Callie is grappling with being biracial while living with her racially unaware white mother, stepfather, and half sister. Speaking little Spanish, she sometimes feels out of place with other Mexican-Americans yet frequently experiences casual racism from strangers and her exploitative boyfriend. And the supposed everlasting sisterhood of her fellow dance team members falls at the first hurdle. Millie's oblivious arrogance toward a friend who comes out as asexual and toward Callie over racial identity is handled far too perfunctorily, but Murphy's plot brims with unlikely friendships, irresistible romance, fabulous fat acceptance, and a kick-ass ending. Buoying. (Fiction. 13-16) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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