Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Review: Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks by K.D. McCrite
Series: Confessions of April Grace, Book 2
Age Range: 9-12
Published: December 2011
Published by: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks is about April Grace and her life growing up in a small town in Arkansas during 1986. April's mom announces there is going to be a new addition to the family, and she has complications that force her to take it easy. Since her mom can no longer run the church play like she usually does, Isabel St. James, drama queen, is asked to help put on the church play. When April had the idea, she had no idea she would be recruited to help Isabel. She isn't happy as it means she has to spend so much time with her older sister, Myra Sue, and Isabel. On top of all of that, she has to deal with the cliques in her new junior high. The main leader of one clique is her former friend, Lottie, who suddenly changed over the summer break.
I really enjoyed reading this. K.D. McCrite stayed true to character and created a funny but touching story. Many of the characters are called by their first and middle names, such as April Grace, Myra Sue, Melissa Kay. This was common practice in the South back then, especially in the smaller towns. I think this is one of few books I have read that effectively shows language in the South but is still written grammatically correct. Phrases such as "lick of sense," "bought more yarn than you can shake a stick at," "like cow doodie over the vegetable garden," "happier than two pigs in slop," and "put on the dog" may not be considered proper English but they are true Southern slang. Children who are in the recommended age range will still easily relate to some of April's difficulties with a new school, problems with cliques, new baby, and dealing with her older sister. I think anyone who was raised in the South will easily relate to April Grace. Anyone who wasn't should enjoy getting a glimpse of what it was like to grow up in the South.
This book is recommended for ages 9-12, but I think it is a good read for anyone 9 and above.
About the author:
Of course, growing up on an Ozarks dairy farm meant that most of our time was taken up by farm work. When I wasn’t taking care of the calves, or mucking out the barn, or helping my dad in the hayfield, I’d tuck a book under one arm and hoist myself into the hayloft, where the scent of the hay was warm and sweet. Or I’d scoot up my favorite tree in the backyard where the breeze swung the branches gently. When I began writing stories, I’d sneak off into the woods, or down to the pond with my notebook and pen and hope my mother didn’t call me to come help cook supper. These days I spend most of my time at the computer spinning tales that I hope will entertain my readers.
April Grace Reilly, the spitfire heroine of the “Confessions of April Grace” series, shares a lot of things with me, from our love of books to our red hair. But, April Grace sticks her foot in her mouth a lot more than I ever did. And she has a lot more adventures. I hope you’ll read her confessions, because I think you’ll laugh out loud.
You can find out more about K.D. McCrite, the Confessions of April Grace series, and other books written by the author, as K.D. McCrite and under the name Kathaleen Burr, at her website. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
This book was provided by the publisher for review.