Monday, July 11, 2011

Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell

When I read a book I try to remember that not everyone has had the life experiences that I have, so when I think something is hilarious it not may be for other people.  But ya'll, this book is a hoot!

Seventeen-year-old Ashley Jane Fontaine Ventouras has a proud Southern heritage to go with her long name and a list of boarding schools that she's been kicked out of that's even longer.  Back in her home town of Bienville, Alabama, for the first time in five years Jane finds herself in just about every kind of situation she doesn't want to be in.  The ghost of her mother (figuratively, not literally - we're not in Savannah) is every where, from the people she meets who give her faux sympathy to the Magnolia Maids her grandmother wants to her be a part of.  Much to Jane's horror, she gets chosen to be a Magnolia Maid - a group of young ladies who are supposed to be "ambassadresses" of Bienville for a year to the rest of the country.  The Maids, who have always been from the rich, white class are diversifying this year...Brandi Lyn is from the working class; Zara, although incredibly rich, is black; and Jane, despite her wealthy family is now considered an outsider.  This is change and as Jane says that is the "dirtiest six letter word in town."  Her sarcasm and general lack of fervor for pearls and pastels isn't helping either. 

Oh and Luke Churchville, the guy that she's never forgotten, her best friend and first kiss, had turned into a serious hottie.  The problem is that they haven't spoken in five years.  The agony Jane goes through in figuring out if she wants to see him again and the hilariously awkward first re-sighting...any woman alive will remember those emotions and any teenager reading it will immediately identify.

Jane is a perfect combination of snark and Southern charm.  She's also authentic and completely believable.  Don't believe me?  Spend a few days hanging around with my mom and she'll point out plenty of potential Janes.  This was a breath of fresh air, an easy read, and even thought it wasn't suspenseful I didn't want to put it down.  I hope Crickett Rumley writes more YA fiction!   

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