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Dress Codes for Small Towns

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,541 ratings  ·  580 reviews
As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee.

But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that she’s in love with Woods, Billie’s filled with a
ebook, 368 pages
Published August 22nd 2017 by HarperTeen
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,541 ratings  ·  580 reviews

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Lala BooksandLala
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I could not have loved this book any more.

Otters Holt by night was all ghost, no town.

this is a goofy and sweet book with commendable intentions and an appealingly big-hearted energy. what makes it stand out from most YA offerings is that it is set in a small christian town in kentucky and features a central character whose bisexual explorations coexist with her religious beliefs.

this is ultra-refreshing to me.

not that i hail from a particularly bible-thumping region - i was raised roman catholic, confirmed and everythi
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wish more books were written about friendship, especially a group of friends. I absolutely live for those types of stories, and this was a great one. Such amazing, loveable characters. I loved every member of the Hexagon, and would totally join their crew if they let me.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This. Book.

I would first like to adress that I have seen many readers say Billie (the main character) is genderfluid. She is not. She /is/ a tomboy. She /is/ questioning her sexuality. She /is/ traditionally masculine in actions and dress. She /is/ questioning her gender, however, she identifies as female.

Courtney Stevens has me convinced that she knows all the secrets to the universe. Something about this book is completely indescribable. There’s a quote in here that goes: “I kiss the peop
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer, favorites
I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING!
(I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“I am dressed as a boy, I have kissed a girl, I have met people outside my usual web. No one cares. I am hidden. I am perfectly transparent.
This is it. This is living.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl who wasn’t sure about her sexuality.

Billie was an okay character but I found it quite difficult to really connect with her, I’m not sure why this was, but it took me a long while to warm up to
Natalie Monroe
"The year I was seventeen, I had five best friends—a Pixie, a president, a pretender, a puker, and a douchebag—and I was in love with all of them for different reasons."

Dress Codes for Small Towns is like Starbucks's Unicorn Frappuccino. You like the idea of it. You think it looks sleek and colorful in those retouched Facebook ads or through an Instagram filter, but it just isn't good.

A lot of other people like it. It's just you.

The concept is unique and diverse. Billie is a gender-fluid teen
Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
If you’re a fan of John Green’s bestselling books Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns (and, well, his writing style in general), or any of Jenny Han’s novels, you’re going to want to read this book I’m going to tell you about. Although I personally didn’t enjoy it (yep, not a Green/Han fan here), there were things about it that I know will definitely appeal to lots of readers. Plus, it has some gorgeous themes that people of all ages should be more open-minded about.

There’s nothing I support more
Merphy Napier
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Okay here we go.

What I loved:
- The characters. Billy, Woods, and Davey were very real and well developed and I loved them SO MUCH. I felt Fifty and Mash were less developed but I loved them anywhere. I wasn't a huge fan of Janie Lee's personality but that's just me.
- The friendship. These characters loved each other to the end of the earth and I would love to be in a tight knit group of people as cool and loving as them.
- The ending. It was crazy cheesy but still very heart warming as satisfying
- ̗̀  jess  ̖́-
It was surprising how much I loved this book. When I first saw Dress Codes for Small Towns I thought it was a coming out novel, and though I'm not keen on them, I read it anyways. It is not a coming out novel - it's a novel of exploration - sexuality and gender and identity and how complicated feelings can be and it is written in a way that is absolutely beautiful. It isn't a romance; it's a study of characters, of the small town Billie lives in, and of Billie's friends.

The town of Otter's Holt
Sharlize D'Souza
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
*2.5 stars*
This book was really not for me
Dec 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rb-edited
This book has such big heart.

Thank you, Rosemary, for sending me a copy, for getting how much I love Courtney's books. How she is an auto-buy author for me because all of her books are delicately written about brave girls.

Billie McCafferty is a brave girl, indeed. In her small town, she is the preacher's daughter, but not the typical one. Instead she is more tomboyish and hangs out with a crew of boys and one girl she calls the Lost Boys, and their friendship as a whole is called the Hexagon.
Lea (drumsofautumn)
This books is so so so SO special.

It's now been a month since I've read this book and I still haven't found any proper words for it.

I love this so much because this felt like a big blanket that I could just snuggle up in. The writing style is just so beautiful and mellow.
This book talked about so many things, friendship, love, sexual fluidity, gender fluidity, faith and so much more and all of it resonated with me. This book touched me so much, made me emotional and it was a very "personal" expe
Luke Reynolds
Actual rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Announcer: Welcome to Another Unpopular Opinion! Here's your host, Luke Reynolds!

*audience mostly claps and cheers, some boo*

Luke: Thank you, thank you! I know some of you are pretty much sick of hearing people gripe about books they didn't like, but others seem to love it for some reason. Well, after Salt to the Sea and Eliza and Her Monsters before it, today I'd like to talk about the newest book from Courtney Stevens, formerly known with her middle name initia
This was honestly like a warm hug, I adored this.

I will say when I first started, I wasn't sure what to think of it at all. The style was a little bit odd, but as I got about 15-20% into it, I was INTO IT.

Billie was a great narrator and I adored her and her dealing with her questions about her sexuality, gender, friendships, romantic relationships. I LOVED LOVED LOVED her relationships with Davey and Janie Lee in particular, but everyone in the Hexagon (what they call their friend group of six
Dov Zeller
Ooph. This is a tough one to review. It left me with a bit of a reading 'hangover'. The concept is near and dear to my heart. Tensions between friendship and love. People trying to express themselves and explore desire in a world that forces them into little identity boxes that can't hold the complexity and/or simplicity of who they are and who they love. And it's nice that the protagonist has a close-knit group of quirky friends who stick by her--that they all stick together through tough times ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There was one reason I chose to pick up this book - it was written by Courtney C. Stevens. I have been hugely impressed with her books so far, I love sharing them with our readers and our readers love reading her books.

Dress Codes For Small Towns is a magnificent book. It is so heartfelt, honest, and true to itself, just like its main character. And Billie truly is the star of this show. It is her story and she won over my heart almost instantly.

Billie McCaffrey is the preacher's daughter in a
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this title from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not sure how to talk about this book coherently. For starters, it was the best YA book I've read this year. In ways it reminded me of (On the) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, in that it was about a group of friends and their relationship with each other and the town they live in. Billie and the rest of the Hexagon are so full of heart; I hope Stevens writes another story featuring them, although I also underst
I'm too emotional to write a proper review right now but I LOVED THIS BOOK SO, SO MUCH.
Monica (Tomes Project)
Everyone has their book. The book that touches a piece of their soul and a part of them wonders if the author somehow knows the interworkings of their life and their innermost thoughts. This is that book for me. full RTC (in the morning, after I've stopping clutching this book for dear life)

Update: My full review can be found on my blog here, but TLDR: this is one of my favorite books so far this year, one of the side characters is demisexual, the collision of faith and being queer is so well do
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookfest-2018
This novel is very much geared for a younger crowd (which is not me) but I loved it and I loved it's message. Courtney Stevens is a wonderful writer and all throughout the book something kept nagging at me about her style. Finally at about three quarters of the way through I realize that this is reminiscent of Fannie Flagg. When I finished the book, Stevens thanks Flagg. I would very much like to see Stevens write a book geared to a little older crowd because I think she would find a wider audie ...more
Layla (Between the Lines)
He says, “I think there's a place where love equals history and a place where love equals the future and a place where love is just love and it doesn't go away no matter whether you get it back or not. Figuring out the difference—”

“Is impossible,” I finish.


This book is like a long love letter to one of your oldest friends. The pure friendship and affection practically drips off the pages. I don't normally like cheesy stories—and maybe cheesy is the wrong word to use here—but this book helped
Nikita Mittu
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
“Perhaps I’ve been alive seventeen years. Perhaps three hundred. On a day like today, age is irrelevant: existence is infinite.”

This story is about Billie, daughter of the town’s preacher, the girl who set the church on fire, the girl who makes furniture out of newspaper, the girl who is ready to take the fall for her friends, who is ready to hide her feelings to save her group, the hexagon. They call themselves as a hexagon “on the account that sixsome sounds kinky and stupid”.


Strong Friends
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbt-ya, library
I really expected to love Dress Codes for Small Towns , but honestly, parts of it bored me. The exploration of sexuality and main character Billie as an endearing character are what kept me reading; mainly, I wanted to see how her story ends.
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


There were some things I really enjoyed about this one, a couple of things I didn't, and one thing that just kind of needs a mention, though it's neither good nor bad.

The Good:

Billie and her friends were wonderful. They were so very real, and I enjoyed their interactions enormously. They felt like such authentic characters, flawed, yet caring. They fought like normal people, th
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
This book is so different from what I'm used to reading with YA, but in an interesting and good way.

I'm so happy that books like this exist today, even though it's always a little bittersweet on a personal level, as I end up wondering what would have happened if a teenaged or early twenties version of myself got to read something like it. As pointless as it is, I can't help wondering.

That said, this was very lovely. Although the book looks at romance and can be very romantic, it's not a romanc
Lauren ✨ (YABookers)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.

Billie McCaffrey is the tomboy daughter of the town preacher. She finds it difficult to fit the mold of what a preacher's daughter should be, and she feels like she is forever disappointing her father. She would much rather be building furniture, wearing sweats, and hanging out with her group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee. But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that's she's in love with Woods, Billie find
Read InAGarden
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Billie is just Billie. She doesn't put on a mask for her friends, for her family or the town. She has a group of really close friends and they help her survive being the daughter of the local preacher. But Billy and her friends like to live life a little on the wild side and the night of the youth group lock-in they accidentally cause a fire. The fire damages the youth group room and exposes Billy to scrutiny from the town. Now that Billy is no longer under the radar, the town is not quite sure ...more
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Upon re-read I would still agree with what I wrote below. I absolutely love this book and would give it 5/5 again. I also noticed how much I love the writing style again. It's in a similar vain of David Arnold, for reference. Would highly recommend!


This book is amazing. I loved it much more than I had expected. The vibe in this book is so immersive. I loved the characters. They were amazing, interesting, funny, different,... I loved them and all the ways they were connected. I f
Metod Zupan
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Our protagonist Billie McCaffrey is a teenager trying to live her life in a small Kentucky town which she loves and where she has friends, but this town and it's residence also present her with some problems, to which every over-thinker, trying to figure them-self out, can relate to on some level. "Author Courtney Stevens delivers an honest, funny, and endearing account of a girl exploring the gray areas of love, gender, and sexuality while facing the opposition that follows." (back cover)
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“He says, "I think there's a place where love equals history and a place where love equals the future and a place where love is just love and it doesn't go away no matter whether you get it back or not. Figuring out the difference-"

"Is impossible," I finish.”
“What everyone is scared of—that if I’m me, I’m not enough.” 7 likes
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