What it’s about: Willowdeen Opal Dickson is no-nonsense Texas teenager with big hips and an unquenchable love for Dolly Parton and her too-cool-for-words coworker, Bo. But between fights with her best friend, mourning the loss of her deceased aunt, and her Mom’s obsession with the local beauty pageant, things are starting to look rocky. In a moment of inspiration, Willow signs up to compete in the beauty pageant and embarks on a hilarious and heartwarming journey of teenage love, weird family drama, and beauty tips from drag queens. Willow’s spice and fervor (along with her relatable self-consciousness) will make you feel right at home in this novel.
Why I liked it: Willow made a fantastic narrator, and I felt myself reverting into the difficult and delightful feelings of high school love and loss. I laughed out loud and cringed visibly. Her brassy self-confidence and simultaneous feelings of shame about ‘being fat’ made her one of the most interesting and authentic characters I’ve read in ages. I hope she crops up to narrate another book sometime soon.
Read if you liked:
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness