By Haroula Barbounis

Adapted into a movie on Netflix, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy is a book that addresses many insecurities that girls grapple with today. Self-confidence and being true to yourself are the two of the many themes in the book, which causes it to be engaging as well as empowering. The main character in the novel, Willowdean Dickson, is our plus-size heroine, who enters the local pageant in hopes of taking a stand in her small Texan town. Which oh-so-happens to be run by her beauty queen mom. Friendships are formed and tested as we see Willowdean, aka Will, show her town that it’s not all about having a Barbie-like body.

By Haroula Barbounis

One of the most popular and influential books this year and last year has been Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, which has recently turned into a movie starring Amandla Stenberg. It touches on many significant issues we have today, such as racism and police brutality. A best-seller, it talks about a girl named Starr Carter who copes with many hardships in her life, such as fitting in at her rich white prep school and balancing that with her life at home in her low-income black neighborhood. This alone is relatable in everyday life, when trying to balance two completely different lives. She witnesses her best friend from childhood get shot by a police officer, even though her friend was unarmed. As Starr deals with the emotional trauma, she must decide if she will speak out about her friend’s undeserved death.

By Haroula Barbounis

If you are in love with romantic comedies, then you will love To All the Boys I Loved Before. The main character Lara Jean Covey, played by actress Lana Condor, writes five love letters, one for every boy she’s ever loved, which includes the most popular boy in her grade and her sister’s ex-boyfriend. That alone just tells us how messy this situation could get if these were ever read. Now, Lara Jean has no intention of sending her letters and keeps them in a hatbox in her closet. However, one day, the letters somehow get sent, and they turn Lara Jean’s life upside down.