Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kid Konnection: The Queen of Kentucky

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to review a new YA novel that I really liked and can't wait to share with Booking Daughter.

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. -- Poppy

THE QUEEN OF KENTUCKY by Alecia Whitaker is exactly the type of book that I would have loved as a tween/teen; and if I'm being entirely honest, I liked it a lot as a grownup too. It was a sweet story about Ricki Jo, a fourteen year old girl who is starting a new high school and trying to figure out who she really is. Fourteen is a difficult age for girls for under normal circumstances, but Ricki Jo (who now wants to be called the more sophisticated Ericka) is trying to find her way and fit in with the popular/cheerleading crowd. In many ways, THE QUEEN OF KENTUCKY was a coming-of-age story for Ricki Jo, and I loved all of the important things she learned along the way.

As a mother, I liked a lot of the lessons in this novel. Ricki Jo is eager to be popular and as a result, she makes some mistakes along the way (like underage drinking); however, Ricki Jo learns from her behavior. None of the questionable things Ericka does (or that her friends do) is glamorized. Rather, Ricki Jo sees the error of her ways and eventually realizes what's truly important in her life. It's unfortunate that it took a horrific event to make her see this, but isn't that the case all too often for many of us?

THE QUEEN OF KENTUCKY would make a terrific book club pick for teen book clubs and/or mother daughter ones. The story is very entertaining and most girls will be able to relate to Ericka in one way or another. In addition, there are many relevant life lessons in the story which might spark some good discussion. Some of the themes you might want to talk about include parent/child relationships, friendships, crushes, first love, trust, and staying true to one's self.

I thought THE QUEEN OF KENTUCKY was a very cute read that also managed to touch on some relevant coming-of-age issues. I definitely recommend it for girls ages twelve and up.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too! 


Beth F said...

That does sound like a good one for book clubs, especially mother/daughter clubs. Tweens / teens do struggle with being popular vs being true to themselves.

bermudaonion said...

It's nice to see a character who learns from her mistakes. This book sounds like a winner!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This does sound terrific, and makes me feel nostalgic for the days I used to study Seventeen Magazine like a textbook!

Beth S. said...

I don't know why I haven't put this book on my TBR pile yet. It seems like such a great story.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to adding more and more books to my little ones' library, and this looks like a great pick!

Deb said...

Hi, Julie,
We're friends by way of Bermudaonion! :] I'm just stopping by again to check on what you're up to. I have several women ask me about mother-daughter books for book groups. This sounds like a great one. Did you see my review of "Pies and Prejudice: A Mother-Daughter Book Club Book?" There are several in that series, too. So important to do all we can as reviewers to help facilitate this good line of communication. I loved your review!

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like a book I should add to my list of books I'd like my daughter to read someday (hopefully she'll want to!).