Pumpkin by Julie Murphy; narrated by Chad Burris
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Release date: May 24, 2021
Look out, Clover City, you’ve got a new queen.
It’s not always easy to be the fat, flamboyantly gay kid in small-town Texas, which is why Waylon Brewer can’t wait until graduation. Then, he and his twin, Clementine, can move to Austin, and he can go full Waylon and become his best, fabulous self.
Except Clementine doesn’t want to go to Austin, something Waylon finds out the same night his boyfriend dumps him. When Waylon hears the news, he impulsively creates an audition tape for his favorite TV drag show. Much to his dismay, the video is shared with his whole school, and he is nominated for Prom Queen. With help from some friends and some fellow queens, Waylon decides to embrace the nomination. Along the way, he learns that he doesn’t have to wait to be fully himself.
In Waylon, Julie Murphy has created a fun, witty character that will make readers smile, and Chad Burris brings him to full, glittering life with pizazz. The book is a joy to listen to, offering humor as well as nuanced views of body positivity and being queer.
Readers who enjoyed Julie Murphy’s other Clover City books, Dumplin’ and Puddin’, will enjoy seeing some familiar faces, but not so many that readers new to the series will be lost. Other read-alikes include Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten. The previous years’ lists are available on The Hub.