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The Queen of Kentucky Hardcover – January 2, 2012

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 860L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy (January 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316125067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316125062
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,137,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Whitaker's debut sparkles as she takes the reader on a tour of two unforgettable places: small town Kentucky and the heart of our charming and hilarious narrator, Ricki Jo. Whitaker is a Queen of depicting the smallest moments of adolescence and showing how it's often those moments that define us. If you like a book that can make you both laugh and cry (sometimes even on the same page), make sure you read this one!"

Gwendolyn Heasley, author of Where I Belong

"Whitaker paints a vivid, finely detailed picture of life in the sometime-hardscrabble heartland. But what draws the reader in is the chaotic precision of her characters, youngsters who are conflicted and frequently inconsistent, yet feel rounded and real... Solid, just like its setting."

About the Author

Alecia Whitaker grew up on a small farm in Cynthiana, Kentucky. She is an actress and writer and currently lives in Manhattan with her husband. Alecia has performed in the New York City Fringe Festival and is a visiting creative writing teacher and ambassador for The Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts.

More About the Author

Alecia Whitaker grew up on a small tobacco and cattle farm in Cynthiana, Kentucky. She is an actress and writer. She currently lives in Queens, NY with her husband and two sons. She has been caught at her desk laughing several times at the voices in her head while she works.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 30 customer reviews
I could just relate to this book so much.
Olivia Williams
Overall, The Queen Of Kentucky lacked strong characters but had a fun story with a good message at the end.
Amazon Customer
Highly recommend this book for the new girl in school.
Lorraine Howell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Fire and Ice on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Queen of Kentucky has so many things going for it. First is the cover, which is one of my favorites I've seen come in the mail. It's not that often we see covers in yellow- it jumps out at you. The second thing is the fun trailer and third is the author. I admire authors who take time our of their busy schedules to tweet you and thank you for reading their book. The setting is the deep south which wide open spaces, dusty dirt roads,a pond and acres and acres of tobacco. I became immediately immersed in the rural roots of Ricki Jo Winstead and her best friend Luke. It's the summer before Ricki Jo freshman year, her first year in high school. She's determined to reinvent herself, ditch the two names of a sassier version- Ericka. Fortune falls on her side when the four most popular girls end up in her homeroom and the grade stud muffin sits next to her in Spanish. Wolf looks like he just stepped out of an Abercrombie ad and smells like it too.He's the guy everyone is vying for, the top of Ericka's wish list. Get some new clothes, make the cheer leading squad, get asked to homecoming and go through puberty then Ricky Jo might just pull off the new and improved Ericka.

A coming of age tale of a 14 year old girl, this book brought back so many memories of ninth grade year (we were still in junior high). As Ericka moves up the social chain she begins to shed some of her most important friends and values. She also gets repeatedly made fun of and mistreated by her "friends." It was painful for me to read. She has fabulous parents,a religious upbringing and the perfect boy next door but she's willing to give it all up for a chance at popularity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Savannah (Books With Bite) on January 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Everybody wants to fit in. So while reading this book and seeing what Ricki-Jo is going through, I can relate. High School is hard and life changing. I adored this book cause of the way the author writes about real things that goes on in life. High school, boys, drama, family. All of these elements play an important part in Ricki-Jo's life.

Ricky-Jo is like every country girl. T-shirt, jeans, hair messy and always up to something. Ricky-Jo is ready for her life to change and she takes charge. New school, new clothes and a new name Ericka. I like that Ricky-Jo wants change. She doesn't want to be just a farmers daughters but wants to make a name for herself.

I like that the story doesn't only tell whats going on in Ricky-Jo's life but also what is happening around her. Ricky-Jo's life is full of drama within her family and friends. Within the family, Ricky-Jo has an amazing heart. She thinks of everyone else before herself and tries to do what she can.

I also enjoyed the downfall of Erica (Ricky-Jo). I liked that her downfall wasn't all at once, but by piece by piece. I know some people might say she was stupid and naive, but of course she was! She was a farm girl who went to a private school before. I like seeing that she didn't know everything and was learning everything the hard way. Still, Ricky-Jo learned her lesson and became who she is meant to be all along. herself.

This is great book of life and learning. So many life changing moments in our life define and shape who we are. Queen of Kentucky is an amazing read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sara J. Kovach on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It's the first day of high school for Ricky Jo, and she wants to recreate herself to fit in. She will be a new-kid at school even though she has always lived in Breckinridge, KY (she has attending Catholic school until now). As they are cutting tobacco, she tells her best friend Luke that he is to call her Ericka at school, it is more mature.

As Ericka tries so hard to make new friends: trying out for cheerleader, wearing different clothes, doing/saying things she would not normally say, she runs the risk of losing her old friends. Is it worth it? Ericka needs to make some hard choices in this time of growing up.

This was an awesome read. It captured me from page one. I could truly relate to what was happening - even through it has been several years since I was a freshman in high school. I grew up in a small town and remember struggling with similar decisions as Ricky Jo.

If you enjoy coming-of-age novels, and crush/romance story-lines, you will totally get into this book. Every high school girl should read this book.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kris on June 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is such a fun read! Most of us at one point or another worried about fitting in, with any crowd, and Ricki Jo is the same way. She wants to be popular, date a hot guy, and be liked. The way she goes about it is hilarious and sometimes nerve-wracking and over-the-top. I mean, a fourteen-year-old girl sneaking out and drinking? There are limits to what I'd do. Ricki Jo is willing to sacrifice to some of her moral qualms in order to belong.

Of course, Ricki Jo's actions, their consequences, and her re-actions, are what make her a bundle of joy to read about. There are times when I was frustrated with her lack of awareness of how she's hurting good people like Luke and Candace, and I pitied her, wanted to set her on the right track. Ricki Jo is a country girl at heart, trying to find her place, and she grows a lot over the course of the novel. I adore the country setting. I love country settings in general. Offer me a book with a rural setting, and I'll snatch it up. Whitaker ties in Ricki Jo's country roots into some incidents, some of which are laugh moments, some of which made me gasp.

The Queen of Kentucky is more than a book about a country girl wanting to go country club. There are some dark clouds looming close to home, and Ricki Jo struggles to bring together who she is on the inside and who she is trying to become on the outside. The serious incident takes place close to the end of the novel, which was slightly disappointing because I was hoping to find out what exactly comes out of it. However, I appreciate how Whitaker concludes the novel while leaving it open for Ricki Jo to take the next step.
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