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The Sweetheart of Prosper County

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  813 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews

Almost-15-year-old Austin Gray is tired of standing at the curb and watching the parade pass her by. Literally. She decides this is the year she’ll ride on the hood of a shiny pickup truck in the annual parade, waving to the crowd and finally showing the town bully that she’s got what it takes to be the Sweetheart of Prosper County.

But far from simply being a beauty conte

Hardcover, 212 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Feiwel & Friends
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Ms. Patterson
Feb 10, 2010 Ms. Patterson rated it really liked it
I first heard about THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY from the 2010-2011 Texas Lone Star Reading List. After reading the description, I couldn't help but put it towards the top of my TBR. A couple of things caught my eye: (1.) It's set in small town Texas. (2.) It features a girl involved with FFA.

Austin Gray's goal for the next year is to be the FFA (Future Farmers of America) Sweetheart and ride of the hood of a pickup in next year's Christmas parade. Austin sets out gung-ho to reach her goal
Aug 02, 2009 Alea rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-for-review
This has got to be one of the darn cutest, wholesome books I've read in awhile. I'm not sure if I've read anything like it! It just worked for me! I really don't have any complaints! It really has all that you could ask for, family, friends, a stupid bully, a touch of romance, eccentric town folks, and a rooster named Charles Dickens! I wish I could have visited this town!

I loved Austin Gray, she loves her momma, misses her daddy and just wants to get through high school without being picked on
Leigh Collazo
Jan 15, 2012 Leigh Collazo rated it it was ok
More reviews at For full review of this including content notes and status in my library, please visit my blog.

WHAT I LIKED: The characters depicted in this diverse, small town community remind me a little of Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. For unique voice, setting, and character development, I give Jill Alexander major props. Reading Sweetheart makes me want to move from my big Texas city to a small Texas town. The people in the town are certainly interesti
Mar 12, 2010 Meg rated it liked it
Sweet story, but I expected to feel a little bit more.

The Sweetheart Of Prosper County is a glimpse of life for one teenage girl struggling with the grief she feels over losing her father years before and her desire to become something more than what she is: a quiet, almost-friendless loner who spends her time working at her mother’s hardware shop or hanging out with Maribel, her best friend. Her rooster, a gift from a local Creole man named Mr. Bourdreaux, adds a new dimension to her otherwise
Steph Su
Aug 25, 2009 Steph Su rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, debs09
I’m always on the lookout for books featuring farm, rural, small-town, or Southern fresh-faced girls, but THE SWEETHEART OF PROSPER COUNTY blows the competition right out of the water. The people of this quirky small town in Prosper County are funny, charming, and absolutely unforgettable.

The characters steal the show for this super sweet book. Austin is a relatable protagonist, with her desires to not be made fun of, to step out of the crowd and be a winner for once. Her actions may cause us to
Jan 01, 2010 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
This book taught me alot about being yourselve and never giving up on what you believe in. When I read this book I related to it so much and not just because I;m country but because I get made fun of alot and my country accent sticks out lke a sore thumb giving kids someone to tease. Most of the time I don't let it bother me because i know that this is who I am and they just make fun of me cause they might be jealous. I love talking the way i talk cause it reminds me of my family and where I ...more
Jul 05, 2010 Pat rated it really liked it
This story is so quietly unassuming that it sneaks past you barely tugging at your heart strings as Austin Gray steps over the threshold into womanhood leaving behind much pain and puzzlement over the events of her daily life since her father's untimely death some six years before. Now 14, Austin is determined to heed her mother's advice..."never be afraid to aspire to be like someone else...but you've got to be yourself first. Be your own icon..." This story never falls prey to being too ...more
This was a wholesome coming of age story--something I appreciate. I can actually give this book to my daughter for her classroom library.

It's basically about a girl who has to find a way to stand up to and deal with the jerk of guy who is intent on making her the punchline of all his jokes. We've probably all been there, so it had a great message and one a lot of kids will appreciate.

It's more of a character driven novel than a plot driven novel, so if you like character driven novels, you'll en
Nov 04, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it
This book is LOL funny, and a perfectly beautiful depiction of small town life, in which being the parade Sweetheart is about as top of the line as you can imagine. I loved the way characters go to church without being overtly "religious", the band member who happily lets his freak flag fly, rich obnoxious jocks. Does all this sound like a stereotype when I'm writing it? It isn't. This is my sleeper delight pick of 2009.
Cindy Dyson Eitelman
Oct 23, 2016 Cindy Dyson Eitelman rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 16, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen-ya, contemporary
At First Sight: Tired of being the butt of the town's bully's jokes, Austin Gray latches onto a solution to her troubles: to become a Sweetheart and ride in the No-Jesus Christmas Parade. This, of course, will require quite a bit of work, starting with getting a chicken for a Christmas gift, entering it at the county fair and joining the Future Farmers of America's chapter at her school, who pick their own Sweetheart for the parade and are her best chance of getting a spot.

With the reluctant sup
Oct 07, 2014 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-vine
Austin Gray doesn't have a lot of things at the beginning of The Sweetheart of Prosper County (2009) by Jill S. Alexander. She doesn't have a blue-ribbon-winning sow. She doesn't have a deer hunting license, or a signature wave. And she definitely doesn't have a mound of cleavage.

What Austin does have is a plan.

Austin is almost as tired of waiting for someone else to pull her into the annual Christmas parade as she is of being the butt of Dean Ottmer's jokes and Austin has a surefire way to fix
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Aug 10, 2009 Kathy (Bermudaonion) rated it really liked it
When almost fourteen year old Austin Gray was in the third grade, her father died in an auto accident. Her overprotective mother doesn’t talk about him, but his death hangs between the two of them.

Now that she’s in high school, Austin is having trouble with the high school bully. Austin says:

"I just couldn’t get out from under Dean Ottmer’s smothering insults and constant harassment. I didn’t need for him to like me; I just needed for him to shut up. Chestless, Stork, AustiNK. What other people
Dec 17, 2010 Raina rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, realistic, funny, religious
This is my pink/purple girly realistic fluffy regional book for booktalks in a month or two. Just over 200 pages, strong cover, nice structure, great depictions of hispanic culture. I wrote the booktalk (which feels really solid) when I was only a few chapters in.

Austin has grown up in a small town in Texas. Targeted by a bully, she decides to try to become the "Sweetheart" for the Future Farmers of America chapter at her high school for the Christmas parade. This is supposed to make him no lon
Sara Grochowski
Sep 17, 2009 Sara Grochowski rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, arc
This novel is absolutely adorable! That makes it sound a bit like a middle grade book so something, but it really isn't. Austin is young, only fourteen actually, but she really seems older. Everytime that attention was drawn to her age and I remembered she was only 14 I was a bit startled actually. While she isn't the most mature character, she definitely didn't seem that young.

I was never in FFA, but I'm from a small town where FFA is a bit of tradition, and in ways a lifestyle, for many famili
Apr 07, 2016 Madalyn rated it really liked it
The Sweetheart of Prosper County is about a young Texan girl named Austin Gray who faces constant nagging and teasing from her peers, especially a boy named Dean Ottmer. Austin decides she must escape this by becoming a "hood ornament" in the next upcoming No-Jesus parade. To become this, she must win over the hearts of the FFA, which would vote for her to become the FFA Sweetheart. To do so, she must win first for an animal in the county fair and earn her hunting experience. In the book, she ...more
Winnie Zhao
Mar 03, 2013 Winnie Zhao rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: The Sweetheart of Prosper County
Square Fish, 2009, 240 pp., $8.99
Author: Jill S. Alexander
ISBN: 978-0-312-54857-5

Mothers are always protective of their child. They are even more protective of their daughters without a father. They are so protective because they already lost their husband, they do not want their child to be harmed or run away from them.

Austin Gray has a very protective mother and she does not want her mother to worry about her. However, she also wants her freedom and
Dec 20, 2011 Jules rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Girls who live vicariously through their love of chickens
Recommended to Jules by: My Psychology teacher
I don't normally choose to read things like this, in fact, I avoid them at all costs. If it doesn't have any of the three M's (murder, mystery, or magic) then no thank you! But this was given to me by my psychology teacher. Maybe she's trying to tell me to be more girly? (Feh, yea right!)

This book was whiny, sappy, corny, b*tchy, pointless, and just plain stupid. I read until chapter 10, got incredibly bored of the storyline, and skipped to the end to see how it played out. Needless to say, the
Apr 29, 2012 Paula rated it really liked it
Alexander's breezy book is narrated by Austin, a freshman who decides that the best way to protect herself from the school and town bully is to become the Future Farmer's of America's (FFA) Sweetheart in the "No-Jesus Christmas Parade." She creates a plan to become The Sweetheart of Prosper County.

Austin's life is overshadowed by the death of her father when she was in the third grade. Her mother refuses to celebrate Christmas and is overprotective of Austin. But, her mother isn't a wilting flow
Karen Keyte
Oct 20, 2010 Karen Keyte rated it really liked it

This sweet story of learning to live with the tough parts of life centers on Austin Gray, a girl who has known more than her share of heartache. Austin’s Daddy died when she was only eight and her Momma has never really gotten over him. Austin would like to talk about Daddy, but it’s one subject Momma will not discuss. Making Austin’s life a hundred times more difficult is her bully of a neighbor, Dean Otmer. Austin has been a favorite target of Dean’s cruel jokes since fourth grade and it’s not
15 year old Austin Gray is convinced that her life will be different once she’s chosen as the FFA’s (Future Farmers of America) Sweetheart and gets to ride on the float in the No-Jesus Christmas parade – Dean Ottmer, all-round jerk and son of the richest man in town, will finally show her the respect she deserves. The first step is raising up a cocky Bantam rooster and winning a blue ribbon at the fair, then she’s got to be nominated by the other FFA members, and she’s got some steep competition ...more
Erin Forson
Dec 07, 2011 Erin Forson rated it it was amazing
The Sweetheart of Prosper County
by Jill S. Alexander
Austin wants nothing more than to be a hood ornament in the town Christmas parade; or, as they say in Prosper, the no-Jesus parade, since apparently Jesus has been temporarily banned from Prosper's Christmas festival (huh?). At any rate, Austin just knows that Dean Ottmer will stop poking fun at her flat chest and toothpick legs if she gets to be the FFA Sweetheart. But before she can be voted Sweetheart, she has to raise a blue-ribbon creatur
Feb 12, 2010 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: own
A growing-up novel that will sure to interest you. When I first picked up this book, I was kind of iffy on the whole thing since, I don't know, a beauty contest was basically Austin's main goal throughout this entire books so it was just a kind of odd thing to write about. However, I have to admit, the story and the characters managed to win me over.
The Sweetheart of Prosper County is a really adorable book, there's no doubt about it. It's very sweet and extremely fun to read about. There are ju
Kelli Venier
Sep 08, 2011 Kelli Venier rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lighthearted

First let me say how I loved seeing a mother actually caring about her daughter. It was refreshing to read the relationship that Austin and her Mama had. I even liked the fact that she was over protective of her daughter. It seems like in most YA books, the parent is just mentioned but never seen, or is really crappy. I loved this story! Who doesn't love a girl from Texas with a chicken? A slightly overweight Elvis impersonator? A creepy drunk Mayor who gets his at the end? I love stories that I
Princess Bookie
Nov 28, 2009 Princess Bookie rated it really liked it
My Thoughts: This was a cute fun story! We meet Austin who is an ordinary girl like you and me. She has hopes and dreams. She just wants to be normal. She lost her daddy when she was young and thinks that if she had a daddy people would leave her alone. She is sick of being picked on by Dean and she figures the only way for that to happen is to become the Sweetheart in the parade. We've all had our Dean's in our life. You know, those annoying boys who liked to pick on us, who made fun of ...more
Booktalk: Austin Gray wants to be a hood-ornament in the no-Jesus Christmas parade next year. Why? Dean Ottmer. Dean Ottmer is rich, mean, and out to make Austin Gray (and everyone else) miserable.

Read p. 1 starting with "Hey!"

Dean's the kind of boy who throws spit balls and pulls people's pants down. But he's also the kind of boy whom everyone (except his victims) thinks is funny. And to make it worse his daddy owns the Ford dealership and half the town. Dean's made Austin his personal target
Mar 30, 2010 Jessica rated it it was amazing
The Sweetheart of Prosper County was such a lighthearted and heartfelt novel. I know lately I've been using cooking metaphors for my reviews but this reminded me of homemade cookies. With each ingredient being important and made special. The author put so much of her experience into the novel. I learned so much, like, I had no idea what grappling was until this novel. And I didn't know having a rooster as a pet could be so cool.

The characters in this novel were unforgettable. At the core of this
Book Concierge

Austin Gray is nearly 15 years old, and tired of just watching the parade; she wants to be one of the “hood ornaments” who ride in the parade, perched atop a shiny new pick-up truck and waving to her adoring public. She figures if she’s crowned next year’s Sweetheart, the town bully will finally have to stop targeting her. With the support of her best friend, Maribel, she decides to join the Future Farmers of America and vie for the title. The first step is to convince her mom to give her
Feb 04, 2016 Hannah rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
MS  Student
May 20, 2012 MS Student rated it really liked it
The Sweetheart of Prosper County, by Jill S. Alexander, is a light, warm, eye-opening book. Set in a small Texas town, Austin Gray narrates her transformation into confidence. The positive, skinny, curious girl wants nothing more than to stand up to the county bully and get her mother to open up about her father, who passed away in a tragic accident a few years earlier.

The book opens up highlighting the key points of the story: Dean Ottmer attacking Austin with insults, and Austin admiring Sundi
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An interest in novels came late for me in my rural East Texas hometown. With no public library and few books, save one full set of encyclopedias, I learned poetry from church hymnals and storytelling from eccentric relatives. Captivated by country music's story-songs coming across my grandfather's AM radio after the morning farm report, I began writing out the lyrics and creating my own as early ...more
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“All I'm saying is, you've never alone, and God made everyone unique with different gifts. Now that's not to say it doesn't sting a little when someone points yours out.” 7 likes
“To me, sympathy was like alcohol on a scraped knee. It didn't really heal anything; it just made the injury sting.” 6 likes
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