Title: The Queen of Kentucky
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Published: January 2012 (Little, Brown)
Summary: Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer's daughter roots and become part of the popular crowd at her small town high school. She trades her Bible for Seventeen magazine, buys new "sophisticated" clothes and somehow manages to secure a tenuous spot at the cool kids table. She's on top of the world, even though her best friend and the boy next door Luke says he misses "plain old Ricki Jo." Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn't care what people think and who wouldn't let a good-looking guy walk all over her. It takes a serious incident out on Luke's farm for Ricki Jo to realize that being a true friend is more important than being popular.
I first saw Queen of Kentucky when Jen over at Makeshift Bookmark reviewed it. While I didn't feel the need to run out and buy it, I was immediately taken in by the adorable cover. The book lives up to the promise of the cover: it is cute and sweet. It wasn't amazing, but it was an enjoyable read.
I enjoyed a lot of things about this book. The details were fantastic. I live in the country in the Midwest, not a farm in the South. However, Whitaker was able to make me believe I was there, feeling everything Ricki Jo felt and seeing everything she saw. The details of the farming seemed very authentic. I loved Luke! He was so flipping cute! I wanted to hit Ricki Jo over the head sometimes for not noticing him. And for various other reasons, most of which she finally comes to realize, thankfully. Ricki Jo was hard for me to understand or sympathize with, but I still enjoyed reading about her journey. Whitaker did a great job of crafting a 14-year-old's voice.
On the other hand, there were some things that bothered me a little. The absolute foremost one was the ending. It was super abrupt! Everything just suddenly stopped, was summarized in like two pages, and it was done. I would have loved another ten pages or so. Also, I'm going to get on my soapbox here for a moment, but authors seriously need to at least do a little research related to domestic violence if they are going to include or reference it.
Let's talk guys for a minute. Luke was Ricki Jo's best friend, and their friendship was fifteen kinds of adorable. I smiled so much because of them. However, Wolf, the popular guy Ricki Jo liked, was ridiculous. I had absolutely no idea why she liked him. So he was cute. Who cares? He was a huge jerk. And he never hid it, ever. Sure, there were a few moments when we saw him behave decently, but I was utterly clueless as to how Ricki Jo could develop a crush in the first place, much less continue to like him after interacting with him.
Only one quote today, but it was a good (and all too true) one.
❝Obsessing over a boy makes the time fly.❞Despite some things that weren't so great, The Queen of Kentucky was worth reading. It had the super cute sweetness of first love, which is always good. It flew by, despite being almost 400 pages. It was also a great coming of age story. And let's not forget the cover. It's definitely going to make my Best Covers of 2012 list. So cute! At the end of the day, that word really sums up both the cover and the book: cute.
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