Jamie always knew something was off about the church of the Right & The Real but she never thought too much about it because she was only there in order to spend time with her boyfriend. Josh was a member but one who claimed to also see faults with the church. A church whose leader, Teacher, sees as, literally, Jesus Christ - as do his devout followers. But Josh, the oldest son of one Teacher's disciples is also one of the high school's most popular students and star athletes and Jamie's too enamored with him to full grasp just how wrong the church is . . . even when her father starts attending.
Even as he's marrying marrying Mira, a fanatical member of the Right & the Real, she still thinks she can get him out of it.
But then he kicks her out for refusing to sign a membership pledge. Seventeen-year-old Jamie is on her own. Her father, the one person she thought would never turn his back on her has abandoned her. And Josh, the person who got her (and her father involved with the church - a cult, really - in the first place) can only see her in secret now.
With her world crumbling around her will Jamie be able to survive? And will she ever get her father back? Will she want to?
I dare you to read the first chapter - or the first two chapters - of The Right & The Real and decide to put it down. If you do a) you're possibly crazy and/or b) you have much more willpower than I.
If you do make what I consider to be the wise choice and keep reading, you definitely won't be disappointed. Joëlle Anthony's second novel is a fantastic contemporary YA that's a just a bit darker - it's also perfect for older readers.
Jamie is put into an incredibly tough situation - or situations, really - the most major of is her father kicking her out (which leads to other things). I loved how nothing ever seemed melodramatic. There were incredibly dramatic things happening for sure, but things played out incredibly realistically (or what I imagine is realistically for the given situations). While Jamie was confused as to what decision to make, what to do, I found myself confused as well. I wasn't reading each page, all the while thinking, "Why doesn't she just ...."
I loved being so drawn into the story and also being so in sync with the choices that the author made while writing the story (or perhaps just lacking in anything obvious for the character to do).
If you're looking for a contemporary YA (with a bit of an edge) where the story just works and the plot doesn't take the easy way out, please read The Right & The Real when it's out April 26th!
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 atteRicki 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 the right clothes and the best date for homecoming might be harder than she thought. And it might change her more than she thought, too.
Queen of Kentucky was a cute read. There aren't a lot of (contemporary) books that are set in the South that don't either a) have wealthy, debutante characters throwing some ball or something or b) make fun of their characters. Whitaker's debut does neither of those things (well, some of the characters might be debs in a few years, I'm not sure - but they aren't in the book).
That Luke's (Ricki Jo/Ericka's best friend) family and previously Ricki Jo's family are tobacco farmers is definitely a unique addition to the novel. It definitely fits well with the geography and gives Ricki Jo something to want to change about herself.
I'm not sure about how well the characters (especially Ricki Jo/Ericka) developed over the course of the book. It's understandable that she is only fourteen and also getting used to high school but it was hard to understand the way she reacted to characters (one in particular0 and their actions - towards others, yes, but especially towards her. There were several instances when I was sure she was going to be done with some of them, but things didn't seem to really bother her that much.
I don't know if she was not supposed to have enough self esteem to see that she could do better than that or if those things weren't supposed to be viewed as that bad . . . or what. If the characters had apologized more - in some cases at all - or there'd been more time, I think it would have been easier for me to see the other characters as sympathetic and understand Ericka sticking with them.
The story overall, as well as Ricki Jo working to find how she fit in as this new - and just how new she wanted to be - person in high school, Ericka was pretty cute. The ending was definitely one of the book's strong points and something that those characters definitely deserved.