Publication Date: January 2012
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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 on top of the world, even though her best friend and the boy next door, Luke, says he misses "plain old Ricki Jo."
Caught between being a country girl and a wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn't care what people think and who wouldn't let a good-looking guy walk all over her. It takes a serious incident on Luke's farm for Ricki Jo to realize that being a true friend is more important than being popular.
The Queen of Kentucky was optioned for a motion picture by Unbridled Films and is being produced by Permut Productions. Read about the deal in Variety.
Click here to view the book trailer
"Reading Alecia Whitaker's funny and sweet debut was like spending time with my best friend. Ricki Jo Winstead totally won me over, and she'll win you over, too."
- Joanna Philbin, author of The Daughters novels
"Whitaker's debut sparkles as she takes the reader on a tour of two unforgettable places: small town Kentucky and the heart of our charming and hilarious narrator, Ricki Jo."
- Gwendolyn Heasley, author of Where I Belong
"Set in small-town Kentucky, this coming-of-age story depicts the ups and downs of 14-year-old Ricki Jo Winstead as she tries on a new identity. High school is about to start, and Ricki Jo seizes the opportunity to reinvent herself. The first thing she
"Fourteen-year-old Ricki Jo has lived in the same Kentucky farming town her whole life, right next door to her best friend Luke. But she’s still the new girl, of sorts, on the first day of high school, having previously attended a small Catholic school.
- Publisher's Weekly
"A fantastic debut. Whitaker´s greatest strength is her unbelievable accuracy—she clearly remembers what it was like to be a skinny, awkward freshman dying to fit in. Her true-to-life descriptions of sleepover parties, school dances and cheerleading tryouts
- Romantic Times Magazine
"One day she’s Ricki Jo, helping bring in her neighbor Luke’s tobacco crop. The next she’s Ericka, trying to get in with the in crowd as a high-school freshman. Though she’s lived in the area all her life, Ericka went to a small Catholic school