This year, Austin Gray is going to wave to the crowd from the hood of a shiny pickup truck in the annual No-Jesus Christmas Parade, and finally show the town bully that she's got what it takes to be the Sweetheart of Prosper County! Austin will do almost anything to become Sweetheart, including joining the Future Farmers of America and raising an animal—a rooster with an attitude named Charles Dickens. She has lots of support: her oldest friend, Maribel, her new FFA friends (including the reigning Sweetheart and a very cute cowboy), a mysterious Cajun outcast, and an evangelical Elvis impersonator. But will her momma ever stop being overprotective, and start letting Austin live her own life?
“A refreshing picture of teen angst, with realistic dialogue and memorable characters.” —School Library Journal, Starred Review
“First-time novelist Alexander offers a delightful, funny story about teenagers living in a West Texas farming community. . . . Austin's year of added responsibility and independence make for a substantive, enjoyable coming-of-age novel that will speak to rural and urban readers alike.” —Booklist
“Alexander's debut is marked by a colorful supporting cast, fresh dialogue and Southern personality, which contribute to an entertainingly theatrical vision of smalltown life. The strong but precarious mother-daughter bond is well paired to the themes of finding inner strength and self-acceptance and letting go of the past.” —Publishers Weekly