Puddin’ was touching, endearing, and should be a must read for everyone – teen and adult alike. While Puddin’ is a companion novel to Dumplin’ you can definitely read it without having read Puddin’. But if you want to full experience, be sure to read both – well you need to read both for sure.
Millie Michalchuk has gone to fat camp every year since she was a girl. Not this year. This year she has new plans to chase her secret dream—and to kiss her crush. Callie Reyes is the pretty girl who is next in line for dance team captain and has the popular boyfriend. But when it comes to other girls, she’s more frenemy than friend. When circumstances bring the girls together over the course of a semester, they will surprise everyone (especially themselves) by realizing they might have more in common than they ever imagined.
I admired Millie from page one. Millie caught my eye first in Dumplin‘ – the way she strode onto the stage, the way she was so confident in herself. And in Puddin’ it was no different – except way more. Millie is a fantastic heroine. Murphy does a phenomenal job with characters in general, but I think Puddin’ is really where Murphy shines. Not only is Millie entirely endearing, ambitious, and driven, but Callie is the inner character in all of us. If I were a YA novel I would be a lot like Callie – I had my priorities shifted around, my high school life revolved around a guy, and I was unsure of what my dreams should be really. So while, even today, I want to be more like Millie, in my heart I resonated with Callie because that’s the emotional and mental state I was in.
But you cannot help but love Millie. Even at her worst she’s still better than me on some days at my best! She is upbeat, determined, and also struggling with really intense hurdles. Her mother doesn’t truly accept her, high school teens are pretty rude, and the world isn’t ready for her in some ways. But seriously, move aside world because we need more Millies. At the same time, Callie is this diamond in the rough and Millie just won’t give up on her – because she has this compassion within her. Callie is fiercely loyal and passionate. While she can be misguided sometimes, she has a big heart – one that is quick to anger and quick to be hurt. She also has a lot of learning to go, as Callie has to question all these things she thought were commonplace and the things she thought she knew about herself.
The rest of the novel has amazing side characters – like each of Murphy’s novels. There’s Millie, Callie (who feels like an outsider in her family), an ace character, a f/f relationship and more. And the plot is really a roller coaster, but one that you can’t help but love (and ride over and over again). The dual perspective is absolutely perfect for this book. We get a true sense of Callie and Millie as people. Our knowledge only grows as we continue reading.
Puddin’ celebrates friendship. It champions growth, positive friendship, and the courage to challenge each other. Murphy’s book inspires you to treasure your close friends, to tell them you love them, and to always call our friends out when they make mistakes and support them when they fall. I wish I had read this book in high school. I needed to channel my inner Millie – to find the compassionate kernel in my own heart. Check out Puddin‘ on Goodreads.