Raise Your Voice 2016 with Amy Spalding

Raise Your Voice is a special annual month-long series on Pop! Goes The Reader whose purpose is to celebrate diversity and inclusivity in literature, with a particular emphasis on #OwnVoices stories. In it, authors recommend books with sensitive, positive and accurate representation that will help to create a resource of diverse books that marginalized readers can turn to when they need them most. Your voice matters. Raise it! For a complete list of the participants and their scheduled guest post dates, click here.

About Amy Spalding

Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and currently works as the Senior Manager of the Digital Media team for an independent film advertising agency. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and can be seen performing around L.A.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookGoodreads

(You can add Dumplin’ to your Goodreads shelves Here!)

I’m fat.

It really isn’t a big deal, is the thing. And yet I wouldn’t write any other descriptor of myself, such as “I have glasses” and then step back to let you absorb it. It might not be a big deal, but society doesn’t always agree with me there.

Like, I look in a mirror and I’m not kidding you or myself to say that I generally am neutral-to-OK with how I look. Sometimes great, in fact! I spend too much of my budget on clothes and accessories, and therefore I’m often really excited every morning to get dressed.

But then I have to go out in the world, where my body is considered, for some reason, everyone else’s business. Even a stranger might suggest I lose weight. If I do lose any weight, I’m treated to a variety of compliments. It’s as if appearing smaller is the best thing I could ever hope for.

People often have no idea how to react to me when I refuse to act ashamed of my size, my appearance, or my love of carbs. (Carbs are delicious!) I feel like of course I’m allowed to be part of society — as long as I’m making it known that I hate myself. And I hate that it’s revolutionary that I don’t. I hate even more that this can pile on enough that sometimes, I do.

Trying to find myself in pop culture hasn’t been easy, often for these exact same reasons. Fat girls are often treated like the prologue to a story, the first sad act in order for redemptive weight loss. But I don’t want to live my life like a prologue! Sometimes you might luck out and get a fat sassy best friend, you know, the type who’s often slapping her own fat and saying something cute about cheesecake. But I think we’re all trying to be the leads in our own stories, not just the sidekick in someone else’s story.

And so I was actually nervous to read Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’. The buzz on this fat girl YA novel was overwhelming, and I worried I needed it too much. Had I built up the idea of this book to be everything and anything? What book can actually be all of that?

Willowdean, Dumplin’s main character, is fat. She doesn’t hate herself — except for when it’s hard to drown out society. She’s fierce but vulnerable, brave but looking for the easy way out, trusting but protective. She’s a mess of contradictions, like any person. She’s not perfect, but I didn’t want her to be. She felt real, and she felt like me. And when you see yourself on the page, you feel in your gut how representation matters.

Title The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)
Author Amy Spalding
Pages 320 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Published April 5th, 2016 by Poppy
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.

But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.

I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year – early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college – and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.

At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.

And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.

I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.

* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.

** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.

*** Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.

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