Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker

Published: January 2, 2012 (Poppy)
Pages: 375
Format: Hardcover
Series: No
Source: ARC from publisher
GoodReads Summary: Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would preferred 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.

My Thoughts: I started out annoyed with Ricki Jo. But then I remembered: she's 14. I was THE most annoying 14 year old in existence. And once I accepted this, I totally related to Ricki Jo. You guys, this book is PAINFULLY relatable. It hit me on a very personal level, because I WAS THAT GIRL. I was awkward and an outcast who wanted more than anything to be popular. I had no idea who I was and changed myself and the way I acted to be accepted. I was the cheerleader who wasn't that great who was in love with the boy who was out of my league, thanks to high school stereotyping.

This was such a quick read. Ricki Jo is so naive and self-involved, but that's what makes it a great book. You cringe watching her make the mistakes and bad decisions. Your heart breaks along with hers when she is ridiculed time and time again. Alecia Whitaker did such an amazing job putting that insecure, uncertain teenager girl on paper and guiding her into her own after so many pitfalls.

And can we talk about Ricki Jo's friends? Well, "friends." Bitches be trippin'. I hated them and yet SO understood why she wanted to be like them and be liked by them. And the object of her affection? UGH. I wanted to swoop in and slap her wrist for CONTINUING to confess her undying love for him even after he was so awful to her. HELLO? BEST FRIEND LUKE? Sure, he's been there forever and you guys probably picked your boogers together, but hey, he's grown up a little bit and loves who you are and wait, when did that growth spurt happen and I guess maybe he's kinda cute, probably. See? DECISION MADE. But it just wouldn't be a good book without the MC making an absolute fool out of herself before finding out that what she wants has been there all along.

I am surprised at my love for this book. I was expecting it to be all superficial and "lyk, OmG," but you guys... there is some shockingly heavy subject matter within. Not to mention a part about a dog that broke my heart and wrenched my gut. The severity of some situations balanced out the superficiality and made this a fun, heartfelt read.



  1. Such a wonderful heart-felt review. I loved reading your thoughts and feelings about this story. Maybe YA's will read it and come to some of the same conclusions you did.

  2. The summary of this one is delightfully sassy but your review is even better at convincing me to want to read this one.

  3. Love your review, Jen! <3

    I HATED Wolf in the way we were supposed to because he so perfectly the guy he was supposed to be - you know, that guy who was such a jackass around other people, but really nice when you're all alone?

    Anddd the doggg bits!

    But yes, once I was able to accept the fact that she IS 14 and she acts like a 14 year old, I enjoyed it much more.

  4. I love you reviews. You get me to read them even if I think I won't give a hoot about the book. You almost make me want to pick this one up. Almost. ;) Nothing personal against the book but I just don't like contemporary literature unless it has something to do with mental illness. I know. I have issues.

    But I LOVED this review.

  5. Ha! Too funny. There's probably a little Ricki Jo in all of us, I'm guessing. Thanks for so entertainingly convincing me to want to read this book!

  6. Haha this sounds cute and I get it as well. I don't thinK I would go out and buy this book, but if I ran into at the library I would pick it up for sure. As usual Awesome review!

  7. This is the first of your reviews that I've read, and you make me smile. :) This book doesn't necessarily sound like it will make it to the top of my TBR pile, but if I run across it in the library, I'll probably pick it up.

    Also, this has nothing to do with your review, but what a cute cover! Adorable.

  8. Wow. I love finding books that I connect to like that! This sounds awesome! I will say- I was never that girl, and I've never really been able to understand 'that girl' either but this book sounds great- like it really allows you to connect with her and relate and understand.

    So maybe I'll have to give this one a shot! I love books that allow me to understand and relate to a character or a type of person in a way I wasn't able to before.