Monday, September 25, 2017

Dress Codes For Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

Title: Dress Codes For Small Towns
Author: Courtney Stevens
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

The year I was seventeen, I had five best friends…and I was in love with all of them for different reasons.

Billie McCaffrey is always starting things. Like couches constructed of newspapers and two-by-fours. Like costumes made of aluminum cans and Starburst wrappers. Like trouble.

This year, however, trouble comes looking for her.

Her best friends, a group she calls the Hexagon, have always been schemers. They scheme for kicks and giggles. What happens when you microwave a sock? They scheme to change their small town of Otters Holt, Kentucky, for the better. Why not campaign to save the annual Harvest Festival we love so much? They scheme because they need to scheme. How can we get the most unlikely candidate elected to the town’s highest honor?

But when they start scheming about love, things go sideways.

In Otters Holt, love has been deļ¬ned only one way—girl and boy fall in love, get married, and buy a Buick, and there’s sex in there somewhere. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple.

Can the Hexagon, her parents, and the town she calls home handle the real Billie McCaffrey?

Author Courtney Stevens delivers an honest, funny, and endearing account of a girl coming to terms with the gray areas of love, gender, and sexuality while facing the opposition that follows.
Review by Nara

Dress Codes For Small Towns was the third book of Courtney C Stevens that I've read, and while I found that it wasn't quite as good as her previous novels, it was still a well written contemporary examining issues that are quite relevant to today's younger generation.

While the story itself was a relatively quiet sort of story, it was oddly compelling and difficult to put down. It was full of drama, with the characters exploring gender identity and sexuality, and love lines being built all over the place. But I suppose in a way, the romance wasn't really the focus of the novel, with much more emphasis on Billie's coming of age story.

I don't know if it was just me, but at times it didn't feel like the characters were teenagers. Just the tone of the narration and the dialogue felt a bit more mature than most other young adult novels I've read, kind of in the vein of John Green characters if you get what I mean. I guess this didn't matter too much overall.

Overall, an excellent and compelling novel that carries through a fresh voice in young adult. I'm not sure that I've read too many novels like this one, and will certainly be looking out for what more Stevens has to show.

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 2/5