The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker
For Ricki Jo Winstead starting high school is the most important year of her life. It’s going to be a year full of changes. From this point on she refuses to be known as Ricki Jo, but rather by her given name Erica. From this point on she will not be just another small town country girl. She will work her way up the social ladder. From this point on, Erica Winstead will make a name for herself.
Ricki Jo quickly realizes that neither freshman year nor high school is what it’s cracked up to be. She looks nothing like the girls in her homeroom. She doesn’t wear the right clothes, and even if she had those clothes she has nothing to fill them out with.
Than there’s Wolf. He’s the freshman heartthrob that Ricki Jo is crushing on along with the rest of her freshman class. Too bad he relentlessly teases Ricki Jo for things out of her control.
As Ricki Jo struggles to transform herself into the new and improved Erica she manages to not only push Luke, her best friend and best thing about freshman year, aside, but she also manages to lose herself.
Alecia Whitaker’s debut novel, The Queen of Kentucky, is a quick read that is full of Southern charm with an added heap of spunk. It is a book that readers will flock to. One that readers will not be able to put down until the very end.
At it’s core this is a book about fitting in, and finding yourself within this vast world. Whitaker’s readers will gravitate towards the familiarity of her classic storyline. Like Ricki Jo, we have all struggled with fitting in or finding one’s self at some point or another. What makes this classic storyline so unique is Whitaker’s style and earnest characters.
Whitaker’s writing is solid year airy. There’s a certain ease and flow to her writing style. Even though she tackles some heavy topics – fitting in, alcoholism, etc – she handles them with ease and grace. Each sentence is well crafted. Each chapter is fluid and moves smoothing from one to the next.
Ricki Jo Winstead, main character of The Queen of Kentucy, is a real hoot. Her blunders and forays into popularity will makes reader’s both cringe and laugh simultaneously. But she’s a real trooper. She’s determined, smart, and when push comes to shove, always follows her heart – not the crowd. She has all the qualities of a great heroine.
The Queen of Kentucky is an honest read. Many of us readers have either forgotten what freshman year was like or are still wondering and anticipating what it’s going to be like. Whichever category readers fall into they will learn a valuable lesson from Ricki Jo Winstead: popularity isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.