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The Queen of Kentucky

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,299 ratings  ·  224 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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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  1,299 ratings  ·  224 reviews

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Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 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
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, read-in-2012
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
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
Good Work
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read the description, looked at the cover and immediately thought that this would be an extremely cute novel, and it is, but there is so much more to the story than just that. I was impressed by Alecia Whitaker's ability to weave in darker, serious issues into a light story, it gave the novel a lot of depth and made it a much more substantial read.

Ricki Jo is about to enter high school, public high school (her first year not in private school), and she had decided that she wants to be known as
Mar 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
May 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book made me remember what a shitty person I was as a teenager, so it was certainly written in an authentic voice, but that didn't make me particularly enjoy it. I do think others could enjoy it because it wasn't poorly written. It just wasn't my bag. ...more
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, reviewed
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
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-hardback, school
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
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Cindy Hudson
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in-my-book-case
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
Nov 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011, own-arc
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
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Savannah (Books With Bite)
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-literature
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
Jan 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
*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
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Colleen Clayton
Sep 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is a darling, darling book! I just adored Ricki Jo Winstead! She's so funny and the story is one that anyone who is in high school, or approaching high school, or has SURVIVED high school can relate to. Alecia Whitaker captures the roller coaster of high school drama perfectly...cliques, peer pressure, mean girls, jerky boys, boys next door, sneaking out, first dances, first hangovers, first's all in here! BIG BONUS: having deep ties to Appalachia myself, it was so incredibly he ...more
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this story. The main character, Ricky Jo, was plucky and the way she narrated her thoughts and actions was raw and honest. Some of the instances that occurred took me back to my own adolescence. I feel like the descriptions of Kentucky were authentic, and the weather descriptions were right on point.

The issue of domestic violence was subtly handled here with Luke and his family. The flighty actions of the girls' clique was spot on. Altogether, the story was engaging and moved at a goo
Jessica Sorentino
Aug 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: light-fiction, 2017
This book was nothing short of an adorable light read. Set in a Kentucky high school, the storyline follows a 14-year-old farm girl as she tries to fit in with the "popular crowd" of her new school. She gets caught up and torn between her real/old morals and values, and changing into someone who the cutest boy in school could like. The Queen of Kentucky hits on family dynamic, friendship, crushes and dating...all with a little relatable humor. If you're looking for a quick read in between your o ...more
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my most favorite books of all time! I enter into the fandom of Alecia Whitaker. It felt as though I was reading about myself from a far past and my future as a mother to my daughter when she grows up in..... yes a small Kentucky town. Just like me.
Perfect for anyone from small town USA, and teenagers (middle and high) battling their inner demons of popularity versus a conscience.
Dec 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ricki Jo or Ericka, whatever she wants to be called, so annoying! I get she is 14 year old teenager with mood swings but she was so immature. I had to force myself to read this book for my 50 state book challenge but I am sure there has to be book that takes place in Kentucky!
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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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