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The Queen of Kentucky

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  982 ratings  ·  193 reviews
Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer 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 ...more
Hardcover, 375 pages
Published January 2nd 2012 by Poppy (first published January 1st 2012)
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Cinder by Marissa MeyerThe Selection by Kiera CassUnder the Never Sky by Veronica RossiEverneath by Brodi AshtonIncarnate by Jodi Meadows
2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
157th out of 989 books — 6,156 voters
The Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. SmithMy Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickEasy by Tammara WebberPushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
2012 YA Contemporaries
82nd out of 293 books — 2,594 voters

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Community Reviews

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So I put up a display last week of Book Covers Where The Designer Inexplicably Chose To Cut Off The Girl’s Head, and ended up hanging on to The Queen of Kentucky because I absolutely could not get over the description on the jacket.

I mean… guys, you know how sometimes on Goodreads you go to read about your chosen novel and whoever added it into the database chose to give away all the plot points because some people totally suck at writing summaries and that’s why we should always just use the de
Rating: 1.5/5

This book was a disappointment for me. I was SUPER excited when I got it from my library since I was hearing great things about it on Goodreads. I guess I had high expectation, but The Queen of Kentucky was … vapid. It was really hard for me to keep reading it, to finish it.

Rick Jo or Ericka as she wants to be called is a 14 year old who acts like a 3 year old. Yes, she’s a teenager but that’s not an excuse. Luke is 14 too but does he act like Ericka? Nope, and don’t say it’s becaus
While I was reading: I thought this was a cute book that had all of the elements for a great after school special. Plain country girl, wants to be popular, meets hot new guy, gets in with popular friends, best friend is a guy, makes cheer squad and everybody knows that in the end she'll get burned and go back to her roots, right? Maybe not exactly like that but something similar. The truth is that is what extremely painful for an author to relive my freshman year for me in detail, hitting my own ...more
Aimee (Coffee Table Reviews)
I really wanted to love this one, but for most of the book, I really had to force myself to keep reading. I couldn't connect to Ricki Jo, or Ericka, at all. As Ericka, most of the time I wanted to smack her upside the head for the stuff she did and the people she hurt. I do realize that the storyline was realistic. That some people will do anything, even go against their own beliefs, to be popular. But watching Ericka push those people who would truly care for her was hard.

I liked Luke a lot mor
3/5 stars for sure. It was one of those books that was a checklist of a YA novel. You had the love triangle (and then some), the friends she got along with every once in a while, and the list goes on. There was a heart wrenching twist here and there (bring the tissues), but it wasn't much different from Mean Girls with a bit of an ode to the south.

I did enjoy this book for what it is. It's about a girl who thinks she has to change herself to become popular and to get the "right" boy. Ultimately
Ricki Jo is about to start high school. She really wants to make new friends and be popular. This is a big change and she wants to start with a fresh image by changing her name, getting new clothes, and trying out to be a cheerleader. Luke has been her best friend and the boy the next farm over all their lives. He doesn't like the changes in Ricki Jo. She is throwing herself at the jerk at school, Wolf, and seems different when she is with her new friends.

First day of school and Ricki Jo meets f
I wanted a fast, light and fluffy story to read, so I picked this up. While The Queen of Kentucky is certainly that, I cannot recommend this title. An even more predictable story than I imagined, this tale of a high school freshman who wants to be popular at any cost will perhaps appeal to eighth graders. The eye-catching cover* will certainly draw kids in, but I'm not sure they'll stick with it. Ricki Jo, or Erika as she'd like to be called, is an incredibly frustrating character. She admits to ...more
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I picked this one up in my local library's teen section looking for a quick, fluffy Thanksgiving-break read. This book didn't even live up to those expectations. Ricki Jo was a self-centered, vain brat that I couldn't relate to in any way. When I was fourteen, I wasn't "streaking", downing bourbon shots, or making out with guys. I was studying and stressing over my grades, fangirling over Harry Potter (which, in fact, I still do), and worrying over friends and crushes. I still haven't kissed a g ...more
Ricki Jo is fourteen years old and ready to leave her redneck farm girl days behind in favor of a glamorous career as a high school cheerleader. She’ll stop at nothing to gain acceptance and popularity—even going so far as to alienating her old friends and family. But, obviously, that sort of lifestyle has a cost, and as Ricki Jo learns in The Queen of Kentucky, it’s not a price she’s able to pay.

I’m going to be honest and say that reading about Ricki Jo was difficult. She makes so, so many mist
Ricki Jo Winstead has gone to the tiny Catholic elementary school in her small Kentucky town all of her life. She is now going into the 9th grade at the local high school and wants to make a big change. No longer does she want to be called Ricki Jo; Ericka sounds more sophisticated. No longer does she want to be on the fringes of what’s going on; she wants to be popular, become a cheerleader, and have a popular boyfriend. Her best friend and closest neighbor, Luke, thinks she’s just fine the way ...more
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 ...more
The Queen of Kentucky turned out to be one of those books that left me thinking, how in the world am I going to review this? It's an extremely cute book, and has a powerful message for not just people around the age of the characters but for anyone that reads it. But I also felt that some of the things in the book were taken to the extreme, and that kind of ruined a few things for me.

First of all, I love the basic concept of the story. It's basically a story about finding who you are, and the th
A coming of age story about a small town Kentucky girl, named Ricky Jo, or Erika, as she prefers to be called as she enters the complicated social scene of high school. Her name isn't the only thing she wishes were different. Ricky trades her Bible for Seventeen magazine, the gospel of teen girls. She wants nothing more than to fit in and feels a total transformation is key. Ignoring the advice of her best friend and neighbor Luke, she becomes involved headlong in the dynamics of fitting in with ...more
Cindy Hudson
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 s
*Spoiler Free*

This was a really sweet, contemporary novel!

The Queen of Kentucky is all about growing up, with Ricki Jo wanting to be transformed into the popular, 'cool' Ericka on her first day of high school. Ricki Jo was a really cute character and you do feel sympathy with her and how she just wants to fit in and finally grow up. I liked seeing her character mature and slowly realising that perhaps her 'best friends' were not all that they were cracked up to be. Sometimes it was quite annoyi
I started out annoyed with Ricki Jo. But then I remembered: she's 14. I was THE most annoying 14 year old in existence. And once I accepted this, I totally related to Ricki Jo. You guys, this book is PAINFULLY relatable. It hit me on a very personal level, because I WAS THAT GIRL. I was awkward and an outcast who wanted more than anything to be popular. I had no idea who I was and changed myself and the way I acted to be accepted. I was the cheerleader who wasn't that great who was in love with ...more
You can find this review (and more!) on my blog: The Humble Watermelon

3.5 stars!

Well, Alice Whitaker, you got me. You went beyond what I was excepting, and wrote an ostensibly cliché book into a one of a kind, one that you could call your own.

After reading the synopsis and the first few chapters, I thought I had the whole book figured out. First, Ricki Jo would be that awkward new girl at school, but then would slowly blossom into one of the "populars". Then she would catch the attention of her
Savannah (Books With Bite)
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
Most of y’all that know me or of me…you know that I don’t read a lot of YA Contemporary. I usually can’t get into Contemp novels for various reasons. Either I can’t connect with the characters because they are so much younger or different than me or because I was NOT a fan of high school and I really don’t want to relive the horrors through someone else’s mortification.

Here’s the big BUT…I am Southern born and bred, therefore connecting to a country girl that wants to be “country club” is someth
So I stumbled across this book pretty much by accident and, living in Louisville, knew I had to read it. It was an enjoyable read and I flew through it in less than a day.

Sure, there were some bits that might've been a bit tropey or cliched. Friends that are friendly one moment, terrible the next? Check. Hot guy who turns out to be a cad? Check. Boy next door that ends up being perfect for Ricki Jo all along? Check. But Ricki Jo is an inventive, fun character to be around. Her voice was really e
This is a 4/5 for me. I am not a big fan of reading young adult literature but this takes place in a small Kentucky town outside Lexington, KY. It seems to be Cynthiana or Versailles, which his right down the road from where I grew up.

Alecia Whitaker does an excellent job of addressing bullying and domestic violence. Ricki Joe, aka Ericka, Winstead is a freshman at the county high school. She wants to reinvent herself and does a great job but at some serious costs to her friends. Bullying comes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I love this book! It's about a girl named Ricki Jo Winstead, who prefers to be called Ericka. She starts attending her towns public school, and basically re-invents herself. She gets in with the popular girls, has a crush on the hot guy, and makes the cheer squad. Her best friend, Luke, doesn't think that she should be doing this because he says she was good as she was. I'm not going to spoil it, but definitely read it!

For one of the few times in the world, the main character wasn't my favorite.
Lin Stepp
I just finished this marvelous young adult novel by my author friend Alecia Whitaker. I decided to read this because Alecia and I shared an author table at the Kentucky Book Fair this month … but, boy, am I glad I did! As I settled into this story, I was transported back to my middle and high school years … to those times of wondering who I was, trying to fit in, being alternately delighted and then disgusted by my friends, who were struggling with their identities, too, ... and often goofing up ...more
This was a pretty good book, perfect for any teenage girl. I read this for book club and I would give it a 3.5 to 4. Although a little cheesey and kind of predictable, it was written very well. It had quite a bit of humor and made me laugh but it also touched on some serious topics. Queen of Kentucky was also very easy to relate to, since I'm going into high school this coming year. And, like any other teenager, she just wants to fit in. Overall, I liked this book.
Valerie (Reader of books. Enthralled by Words.)

Originally posted on

I don’t usually read books about characters under the age of 16 because they don’t tend to jive with me but I gave this book a shot for two reasons:

1. I REALLY want to read Alecia Whitaker’s new novel, Wildflower, and I like to read an author’s work chronologically when I have the opportunity. I don’t know if anyone else does this but I enjoy seeing how authors change and stay the same from book to book.

2. I recently read Jen Calonita’s Summer Stat
Lonna Pierce
Ricky-Jo tries to re-invent herself as Erika when she starts high school. Loses sight of herself on the way.(Domestic violence, drinking)
Ms. Whitaker hits the nail on the head with small town, rural living.
Ricki Jo, I loved. Ericka, I wanted to kill.
Overall the plot was kind of predicting, but with quite a few twists.
Luke, ahh Luke, I pretty much finished the book for him.
I hated Wolf from the beginning.
As far as the 'Fabulous Four' I didn't care much for them at all.
I thought some things were a little immature for a freshman. But that's just me.
I recommend this book if you're wanting a long-life-story-country-girl-who-wants-to-be-a-city-yuppy-and-makes-some-mistakes-along-the-way-but-at-the
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Pronunciation? 3 11 Dec 30, 2012 08:40AM  
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Alecia Whitaker grew up with a big imagination on a small farm in Kentucky, which was worlds away from where she currently resides in fast-paced New York City. She knows more about cows, tobacco, frog gigging, and carpentry than the average girl, and she applies the work ethic and common sense she learned from her southern upbringing to the way she now navigates her career and family life in the b ...more
More about Alecia Whitaker...
Wildflower (Wildflower, #1) The Road to You (Wildflower, #2)

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