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The Queen of Kentucky Hardcover – January 2, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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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, KY. She is the author of The Queen of Kentucky and the Wildflower series, as well as an actress with appearances on several television programs and commercials. She packs her schedule with school and library visits each year, near or far: www.aleciawhitaker.com/bookings. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Poppy (January 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316125067
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316125062
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,870,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover
My Thoughts: One word to describe The Queen Of Kentucky: CUTE! Oh my gosh, it was so adorable!

We are introduced to Ricki Jo who is 14 years old and lives on her family's farm. She has a mother, father, and younger brother. She lives just down the road from her best friend Luke and his family.

Ricki Jo is starting high school and she wants to fit in. She becomes a cheerleader, gets in with the popular girls and develops a crush on a popular cute boy named David Wolf. She wants to be stylish so she starts reading Seventeen magazine. She especially likes the embarrassing moments and fashion tips.

She's just a regular old country girl trying to find herself and in the process becoming a whole new girl.

But, as this happens, she changes from one type of girl to another, and becomes more like the popular crowd and less like Luke.

This book is just the right blend of funny, cute, quirky, and adorable. Fans of contemporary romance will love it. It seems a little more Middle grade than YA to me, but I still loved it. I usually don't read too many MG, I tend to stick to YA but I enjoyed this one so freaking much. I could totally relate to Ricki Jo and see things from her perspective.

Half of the time I felt like I was on her farm picking tobacco with her, going shopping with her, and enjoying fun sleepovers with her friends.

The other half of the time, I enjoyed spending time with her while she got to know Wolf better and enjoyed her friendship with Luke.

Things aren't always peachy, abuse and heartbreak happens in this novel, but those little happy moments will pull you right out of the sadness funk.

Oh my, what a wonderful debut novel and so freaking adorable.

Overall: Loved it!
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Format: Hardcover
Ricki Jo is determined to move from a plain old country girl into popular, sophisticated Ericka when she starts 9th grade at her local public high school. She figures there will be lots more opportunities at the larger school than the small, Catholic school she attended through 8th grade.

Right away she makes friends with a few popular girls and she feels she has to start changing to keep up with her new group, particularly since good-looking David Wolfenbaker (Wolf) hangs out with them too. As she morphs into "Ericka 2.0," she begins to wonder if she can keep what she likes most about her old self while also becoming someone different.

The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker will resonate with anyone who has ever felt the desire to change her circumstances. Ricki Jo is a down-to-earth girl who is best friends with her neighbor Lucas and who spends time working to help out around her farm, even if she doesn't feel like it. Ericka wears more stylish clothes, studies hairstyles and advice columns in Seventeen magazine, and will do things she's uncomfortable with if it means going along with the crowd.

It's not easy for her to keep up: her new friends are wealthier than she is, which means they spend money more freely on clothes and entertainment. Ericka goes back and forth between feeling like she's making friends and feeling like they're making fun of her. Plus, she finds herself ignoring all the crass remarks Wolf makes just because she's dazzled by his good looks.

As she navigates the halls of her high school, Ricki Jo makes some mistakes, but she also gets a better feeling for what's important to her. I liked that each of the characters was nuanced, and didn't fall into a stereotype.
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