Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The Sweetheart of Prosper County by Jill Alexander
Each year in Austin's hometown there is a Christmas parade and girls are chosen to be the "sweetheart" for their clubs. The club sweethearts get to ride on the hoods of fancy cars in the parade. Austin has been the perpetual target of a mean neighbor boy and she feels sure that if she can become a sweetheart then she will be too popular and self-confident to be the butt of his jokes anymore. So Austin sets her sites on the Future Farmers of America club knowing that she will be one of only two girls in the club. In order to be accepted by the FFA and have a chance at being the sweetheart, Austin has to raise a farm animal and have it win the blue ribbon at the county fair. She decides to raise a Bantam rooster that she names Charles Dickens. As Austin makes new friends and becomes more independent she struggles with her mom who is still reeling from the death of Austin's dad several years before. Her mother sees some of the same traits in Austin that led to her father's accident, although she never discusses her worries with Austin who is left trying to figure things out all by herself.