Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander
At the center of Sweetheart is Austin, a 14 year old girl determined to be the next FFA (Future Farmers of America for all you non-rural folk!) sweetheart. 'Course she first has to join FFA to have a shot at that, and joining FFA means she needs to...well, raise something. She settles on raising a rooster and gets one from a local Cajun fella--a wise soul if ever there was one. As you might imagine mayhem soon ensues with Charles Dickens, the aforementioned rooster, smack dab in the middle of it all.
Living in East Texas, myself I can attest to the trueness of the characters and situations in the book. I felt like Austin was in some ways a remembrance of my teenage self---man, I wanted to ride in a convertable in a gorgeous dress waving to the crowds in my small Texas hometown, too, only for us it was all about homecoming instead of the Christmas parade.
One of the many things I love about this book is that it isn't just about a teen with a dream of FFA royalty. It has a great mother-daughter storyline and a bevy of strong women (we Texas women like that, y'all!) who make it through tough times and learn to trust one another, trust themselves, and let go of past hurt in order to move on and really live. And, as if this even needs saying...you don't have to be a Texan, live in a rural community, or even like chickens for that matter in order to L-O-V-E this book!
I had the pleasure of meeting Jill Alexander at the Texas Library Conference last year and she is as warm, witty, and wonderful to chat with in person as this lovely book is to read. Enjoy!