Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dress Codes for Small Towns” as Want to Read:
Dress Codes for Small Towns
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dress Codes for Small Towns

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  3,482 ratings  ·  761 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,482 ratings  ·  761 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dress Codes for Small Towns
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.
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: queer, favorites
I’m not crying, YOU’RE CRYING!
Apr 16, 2020 marked it as dnfed
Shelves: dnf, young-adult
I tried to get into it, this just wasn’t for me 🤷🏻‍♀️
Sarah Elizabeth
(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 wa
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 te
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
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, Dress Codes for Small Towns.

I really liked
Sharlize D'Souza
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
*2.5 stars*
This book was really not for me
Rachel 007
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
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.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was kind of lovely.
this is one of those easy to breeze through contemporary reads for summer days (or, well, quarantine) but at the same time there's depth to the plot that pleasantly surprises you. i was a little sceptical at first, but i did end up really loving the story and our (queer!!) main character
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
Karoline Lavellan
Feb 24, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dislike, 2019
Big fat yikes. I did not like this book at all.

Pros: -?

Cons: - too many characters are introduced at the same time, so you know nothing about anyone
- plot? never heard of her
- I don’t feel like I know the characters at all, so a story without plot is destined to be a snore fest
- I was so bored I didn’t dare put the book down, because I knew I wouldn’t pick it up again
"Isn't God all open arms and welcome home?"

This book touched me to the depths of my soul. It is one of those books where I had to stop reading every few pages just to savor the gorgeous writing, phenomenal characters, and nuanced relationships. Every so often, you finish a book and you are overwhelmed with gratitude that a book like it exists in the world. I wish that I could personally thank Courtney Stevens for putting this book out into the universe because it is everything to me.

This book is
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
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
“David stored that memory in his secret heart. His mother had told him he’d been born with a second heart, and he could keep any secrets he wanted in there.”

the hexagon. all six of them pulled through for each other when others couldn’t. even Thom and Gerry. it was such a wholesome book. i think it would mean a lot to kids or teenagers from small towns, who stand out but are afraid to. it’s a beautiful story of friendship, newly explored love, faith, hope and teenage shenanigans.

Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5. Another great contemporary. this one is more on the YA side of things with Billie and the rest of her hexagon crew (I love that they have a name for this group of small town kids who've grown up and done everything together). THis is a sweet, well crafted story about hitting those teen years and being confused as to who, exactly, you are and who you think you want to be. Stevens handles Billie's questions on sexual identity with a nuanced brush and that's so appreciated in a world where the ...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 Fri
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.
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Price of Duty
  • Devils Within
  • The Weight of the Stars
  • Girl Made of Stars
  • Birthday
  • Summer of Salt
  • It's Not Like It's a Secret
  • We'll Fly Away
  • You Should See Me in a Crown
  • Wilder Girls
  • Felix Ever After
  • Dig.
  • Radio Silence
  • A Heart in a Body in the World
  • I Wish You All the Best
  • Little & Lion
  • Tell Me How You Really Feel
  • The Black Flamingo
See similar books…

Related Articles

November is the time for aspiring writers to get serious about writing that book! It's National Novel Writing Month, the annual event designed to...
19 likes · 1 comments
“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.” 8 likes
More quotes…