The Queen of Kentucky

Alecia Whitaker. Little, Brown/Poppy, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-12506-2
Fourteen-year-old Ricky Jo has lived in the same Kentucky farming town her whole life, right next door to her best friend Luke. But she’s still the new girl, of sorts, on the first day of high school, having previously attended a small Catholic school. Renaming herself Ericka and hoping to become popular, she tries to fit in with a group of cool girls from homeroom and develops a crush on cocky fellow freshman Wolf. Ericka’s honest and insecure voice, her penchant for mishaps, and her frustration with her boyish physique will easily resonate with similarly conflicted readers. Debut novelist Whitaker paints a rich picture of life in rural Kentucky, as Ericka struggles to maintain tenuous friendships as well as her moral center. The subplot of Luke’s alcoholic and abusive father rings painfully true, as does Ericka’s ongoing crush on Wolf, who is alternately cruel and flirtatious with her, putting her self-worth through the wringer again and again. This coming-of-age romance holds few surprises, but will capture readers with its honesty and heart. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 978-0-316-19337-5
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-316-12494-2
Open Ebook - 205 pages - 978-0-316-19338-2
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