In Pumpkin by Julie Murphy, Waylon Brewer is gay and fat. Just about to graduate high school, he is biding his time until he can ditch his small town of Clover City, TX, and trade it for the big city lights of Austin, TX. When he, as a joke, is nominated for Prom Queen, he has to decide whether he is going to keep hiding who he really is or is going to step out as his true self and let his inner queen, Pumpkin Patches, out.
“When the world isn’t selling what you’re looking to buy, you just have to take it upon yourself to cut your own pattern.” – Julie Murphy, Pumpkin
As a staunch ally, I’ve always enjoyed books that normalize and celebrate gay culture and life. I really liked Dumplin’ when I saw it on Netflix and was so excited for Pumpkin, Julie Murphy’s latest creation. Pumpkin did not disappoint. This book was so cute and realistic. I loved just how sweet of a high school novel it was. Honestly, I just loved the hell out of this book.
While it stayed squarely in the YA categories, it didn’t shy away from the realities of these high school students and their experiences. I thought it did a really good job of talking about a variety of hard topics in an age-appropriate but realistic way. Also, Waylon is brilliant and flawed and a beautiful human being. I really appreciated how much of his inner monologue we got to see.
I would love it if Netflix would pick up this book too for a feature. There are just some cinematic moments that I think would play really well on screen. Plus, it’s such a light, joyful, happy ending that I would watch it, and plan on reading it, again and again.
I received an e-book arc of Pumpkin by Julie Murphy from the publisher HarperCollins Children’s Books.
I recommend Pumpkin if you like YA lit and are looking for a sweet LGBTQIA High School love story.
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