Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
released: June 14th, 2011
paperback, 288 pages
intended audience: Young Adult
source: from publisher for honest review
description: Expelled from thirteen boarding schools in the past five years, seventeen-year-old Jane Fontaine Ventouras is returning to her Southern roots, and the small town of Bienville, Alabama, where ladies always wear pearls, nothing says hospitality like sweet tea and pimento cheese sandwiches, and competing in the annual Magnolia Maid Pageant is every girl’s dream. But Jane is what you might call an anti-belle—more fishnets and tattoos than sugar and spice. The last thing on her mind is joining the Magnolia Maid brigade and parading around town in a dress so big she can’t even fit through doors. So when she finds herself up to her ears in ruffles and etiquette lessons, she’s got one mission: Escape.
What’s a hipster to do? Will Jane survive Bienville boot camp intact or will they—gasp!—make a Southern belle out of her yet?
Review: First off, I have to say: the title and cover of this book crack me up. Everytime I look at this one it makes me smile---the whimsical cartoon style, the look on that poor girl's face, the gigantic hoopskirt flipping up, and, my favorite part...the punky fishnets and converse underneath!
Inside, the story is just as fun. Jane Fontaine Ventouras has just been plopped back into the small southern town she grew up in. Thirteen boarding school expulsions and one fed-up non-present father later, she is back at her grandmother's house, being guilted into entering the Magnolia Maids pageant. Jane has this wonderful spark about her, and a smart-ass attitude like they've never seen in Biensville, Alabama---and certainly not in one of their Magnolia Maids. She smokes, she drinks, she says what's on her mind, she sasses like nobody's business,...and yet she still wins one of the coveted spots on the Magnolia Court. I love how she seems to have a perfect balance between putting everyone off and sticking up for people when they need it most. The hilarity ensues as she battles the insane Mizz Upton, advisor to the Maids, Ashley LaFleur, snob extraordinaire, and the rest of the town as they pull out the sweetness to her face and save the harsh judgement and gossip for when her back is turned. One of the funniest parts of this story is hearing about all the details and customs of the Magnolia Court---and Jane's thoughts on them! Crickett Rumley really brought this experience to life!
Of course, this is not all fun and cat-fights. Returning to Biensville, Jane also faces some pretty emotional memories of her mother who passed away, and deals with her feelings about her father who has since had almost nothing to do with her. There is also Luke Churchville, her childhood best friend...what happened between them was the reason she was sent away. So where does that leave them now? Personally, I would have loved to see more about Luke and Jane in this story, but it really is just a side plot. A little more romance might have made this a 5-rated book for me.
Along the way, Jane learns that a situation is what you make of it, that people have a way of changing right before your eyes, and that even though it's good to be yourself, think independently, and speak your mind, sometimes doing just whatever suits you, regardless of how it effects others, might not always be the best way to go.
Definitely a recommended read!
Visit Crickett Rumley's website here.
Purchase Never Sit Down...at: Amazon • BN.com • BookDepository • Indiebound
Check out the super cute trailer!