The Short Review: Cute and light. If you like YA or books about female friendship, this is a good choice!
The Long Review: Here’s what I often forget about YA. It’s intended for young adults, and so things are going to seem a little melodramatic and relate more to a teens experience than my own. Upon first reading Puddin’, I think I was quick to judge it compared to one of my last reads—I normally read literary fiction, and they’re two different genre’s written for two different audiences. So, here’s my review of Puddin after thinking on it for a month and after watching the Netflix adaptation of the first book, Dumplin’.
Puddin’ takes two minor characters from Dumplin’—Millie and Callie—and brings them to the forefront. I preferred Millie’s perspective to Callie’s, possibly because Millie reminded me of my best friend when she was in highschool, but I also just found her a little more charming. Callie is a ‘mean girl’, and while I love complex characters with a lot of flaws, I wasn’t immediately drawn to her. However, I do think Murphy did a great job of getting me to understand her by the end of the book. I read this book as a part of a podcast discussion, and we all agreed we’d have loved to have more of Amanda in the story. I found her to be a great role model for young people, for how she handled situations in a mature way that not even adults are always the best at.
I think Murphy is best at character building. I’ve read several books by her now, and I can say that each character and voice always feels different enough. I do also enjoy the plots, but they’re lighter than what i’m drawn to reading currently. That’s just a reader issue, not anything wrong with the book.
I’d be curious to know people’s thoughts on how Murphy compares to other YA authors out there. My favorite YA authors are John Green, Rainbow Rowell and Jandy Nelson…but I know they’re the ones everyone likes. I just find all of their narrative voices to be so striking. I appreciate that.
There were a lot of other thoughts I had, but they’re in the discussion on the podcast. If you’d like to listen, here’s the link below!!