The Queen of Kentucky
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The Queen of Kentucky

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  840 ratings  ·  171 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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2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
150th out of 966 books — 5,683 voters
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2012 YA Contemporaries
80th out of 284 books — 2,442 voters

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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...more
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
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...more
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...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...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...more
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
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
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...more
*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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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.
Sep 26, 2012 Fari marked it as to-read
Shelves: r
Doesn't the description for the book basically summarize the whole thing for you? Like now we know that in the end she realizes she forgot her 'true self' so she stops caring about the popular people think? I d k. The book summary shouldn't be that descriptive! Is this just me?
Had high hopes for this book.. While Queen of Kentucky was good it hasn't really lived up to its contemporary hype. In my opinion, it was very vapid and somewhat childish at times. I'd suggest this book to young teens who like melodramatics.
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.
As someone who grew up in Kentucky (although I grew up in the "big city"), I could see the appeal of this book. It's a sweet story about a girl trying to fit in, which isn't an unusual premise. What makes the story unique is the setting. One reason the girl feels she may not fit in well is because she's a farm girl (and content to be one) and the popular girls aren't. So there's the usual awkwardness of trying to figure out who she is and whether or not she's willing to be different for other pe...more
The Queen Of Kentucky held a lot of promise but it really fell short. While the story was cute and fun, the characters were lacking in common sense and at times, kindness. However there were some redeeming qualities that will make it an enjoyable read to fans of contemporary novels.

The story itself was great: cute, fun, but at times very serious. It was the perfect balance. Ricki Jo wants to be someone new in high school, someone popular. She reinvents herself and starts school as Ericka. Things...more
Robin Cicchetti
This solid, fun novel about the trials and tribulations of the high school social landscape will appeal to many girl readers. As a student transferring into her local high school after years in a private school, Kentucky teen Ricky Jo is determined to reinvent herself as a popular, cool kid, symbolized by her changing her name to Erika.
All the issues of the social minefield are there: clothes, family wealth, "coolness", and of course, BOYS.
The reflected glory of a romance with a"cool boy" are re...more
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...more
first reviewed here:


Title: The Queen of Kentucky
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Chapters: 32
Pages: 375
Genre: Teen Chick lit
Rating: 4 stars
The Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker is a teen book that is set in small town Kentucky. The author is originally from Kentucky, but part of me wonders if she has lost touch with her roots. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the book, I just wish that book was more real.
Ricky Jo Winstead is your typical country girl, she...more
Did you know that the author of this book, Alecia Whitaker, is from Cynthiana, Kentucky? Did you also know that I live about an hour away from there? Crazy! I could just relate to this book so much. What Alecia Whitaker wrote was so relatable and so true for this area of the country.

The story is about an all country farm girl Ricki Jo, but please call her Ericka if she is at school. She is fourteen years old, lives on her father's farm, and her best friend Luke Foster lives just right down the...more
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Book Sp(l)ot
Ricki Jo Winstead is fourteen and about to start high school. She's lived her whole life in the tiny town of Breckinridge, Kentucky but thanks to attending private school school through junior high, she's about to be the new girl at the public high school.

Determined to reinvent, Ricki Jo decides she's going to be called Ericka and make all new friends, the right friends.

But leaving 4-H Ricki Jo who helps out on her best friend's tobacco farm behind for Ericka who hangs with the cheerleaders, has...more
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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
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“Obsessing over a boy makes the time fly.” 13 likes
“(My momma + curvy roads= wear your seat belt.” 12 likes
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