"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 contest, becoming Sweetheart involves participation in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), raising an animal, and hunting or fishing. Austin will do almost anything to become Sweetheart, and has the support of her oldest friend, Maribel, her new FFA friends (including the reigning Sweetheart, and a quiet, cute, cowboy), an evangelical Elvis impersonator, a mysterious Cajun outcast, and a rooster named Charles Dickens. If only her momma would stop overprotecting her, and start letting Austin live her own life. But Austin can't move on until Momma moves on too--and lets the grief of losing Austin's daddy several years before out into the open."
I loved the setting. I really think that we don't get enough books set in the "hicktowns" of America, featuring teens that love fishing, hunting, getting dirty, and taking car of animals. I grew up in one of these towns, where the first day of hunting season typically meant half the school took the day off and teachers just let it slide, and where we actually had an annual "drive your tractor to school day." Being "country" was the way life was and nobody knew any different. So, I really loved the Texas setting, the inclusion of the FFA, and the idea of the County Sweetheart riding on the hood of a pickup truck. My kinda people! I think author, Jill S. Alexander really got that part of our world.
I thought the plot was really cute and the different characters were certainly unique and interesting, though at times a bit over the top. I wasn't a huge fan of the Elvis impersonator, Lewis, I thought he was overly silly and not a bit believable. I also, unfortunately, wasn't a huge fan of the main character, Austin. I liked everyone else, but she and Lewis made were written by an adult and that was very apparent. I didn't feel Austin was a teen, I felt she was a fake teen and that's not good.
Overall, cute and funny. Teen girls will enjoy the the plot, with the tad bit of subtle romance and the heavy friendship elements.Oooh and I loved the cover. Definitely a great job there!
The Sweetheart of Prosper County
Jill S. Alexander
Feiwel and Friends
Review copy received from Amazon Vine program
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