Ricki Jo is starting over. New high school, new friends, new image, even a new name (Ericka, not Ricki Jo, she has to keep reminding everyone!). After having spent K-8 in her small town's even smaller private Catholic school, she is starting high school at the public school. Her best friend and neighbor, Luke, wants her to stay exactly the way she is, but Ricki Jo has big plans for herself. Cheerleading, becoming friends with the popular girls, and new cool clothes are all part of what she wants for herself. When she finally gets what she wants, will it be everything she hoped it would be?
The Queen of Kentucky—Book Review
The Queen of Kentucky puts a unique, small town spin on the age-old quest for popularity. Ricki Jo is desperate to fit in and make the right friends when she starts high school--so much so that she is willing to make some serious concessions. She finds herself alienating some people who were important to her, she lets her homework be copied, and she spends time on extra-curricular activities that are really not her thing. She even engages in some pretty reckless behavior--sneaking out to party with boys, getting extremely drunk, throwing up from a severe hangover, playing Never Have I Ever, and getting naked and streaking through the house with her girlfriends at a sleepover. A minor character is a teen parent, and the fact that she got pregnant in her senior year of high school and the impact it has had on her life is stressed. Puberty issues are an important element to the story, as Ricki Jo has a body that has not gone through many of the changes her friends' bodies have, leaving her feeling self-conscious. Language is mild (scr-w, a-s, cr-p, do-che bag) and not terribly frequent, and some pretty heavy making out takes place. A major character's father is an abusive alcoholic and much of the story relates to this. His family suffers at his hands, and when his son fights back at one point, he is injured to the point of hospitalization. Sensitive animal lovers should be aware that a beloved dog is viciously attacked by a neighbor's pack of wild dogs, and is very seriously injured. While this story may be somewhat predictable--the boy who matters most is the one who was right next door all along--it is engaging nonetheless, with a positive message about staying true to yourself and not compromising yourself to please others. >Book review trailer from YouTube: