Dress Codes for Small Towns

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4.7 (2)
 
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Dress Codes for Small Towns
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
August 29, 2017
ISBN
9780062398512

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 defined 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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Love the premise
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Billie McCaffrey is a gender fluid teen who lives in a small Kentucky town. Even though she is the daughter of the town's preacher, she is living life by her own terms. This is to chagrin of both her father and the rest of the town of Otters Holt.
At the beginning of 'Dress Codes for Small Towns' Billie is at a lock-in with her best friends . Billie and her friends ( who she calls them the hexagon) do something that results in major damage to the church. This and the future of the town's fall festival is the main focus of the characters in DCFST.
I went into 'Dress Codes for Small Towns' having heard really great things about it. DCFST does have many original concepts such as a teen who can't quite pin down her sexuality, the dynamics of small town America, and loving parents that are not perfect.

What I Loved:

I found that Stevens has a John Green type writing style. It moves the story along quickly and is easy to read. I love Billy and her diverse set of friends. Her friends all have different personalities and different backgrounds. I also love that a small southern town is represented (something I don't see a lot of in ya literature). One major positive point is that the story stresses that you need to be true to yourself before pleasing anyone else. I love that the teens work together to try to save the town's fall festival. I like that Billie couldn't quit pin down who she was and who she loved.

What Left Me Wanting More:

To keep the comparison to John Green going, I found other similarities between Steven's writing style and John Green's. One element of this similarly is they both include a phrase or nickname that they think is really funny and then they proceed to use it over and over and over in the story. For example Billie calls her friends the hexagon. She constantly uses this term instead of just saying my friends. Another example of this is when Billie and her friend's name their whiteboard Einstein and then proceeded to talk about Einstein constantly. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I find these things annoying and they tend to distract from the flow of the story.

My Final Verdict:

I found 'Dress Codes for Small Towns' to be new and refreshing. The premise is original and has not been overdone in ya literature. I tore though the DCFST quickly. I love the setting and the characters. I can defiantly understand why so many readers love 'Dress Code for Small Towns'.This review was originally posted on The Book return...
Good Points
Easy to read.
Small Southern Town
Unique premise
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A Brilliant YA Book
(Updated: February 12, 2018)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Seventeen-year-old Billie McCaffrey and her group, the Hexagon, are what every teenager wants: a tight-knit clan held together by history, laughter, tears, and fun. The four boys and two girls in the Hexagon all belong to the same church, and Billie’s father is that church’s youth minister. He and Billie are often at odds thanks to her unconventional way of living life: she’s a tomboy, an artist, and she is unflinching when presented with challenges of any size. Her dad, Scott, would prefer Billie look and act like his definition of a girl.

When Billie and the Hexagon burn up the youth room while under Scott’s watch, everything in little Otters Holt, Kentucky starts to go topsy-turvy. The youth room fiasco is just the start as the town also loses one of its most beloved citizens, some of the teens in the Hexagon start to look at each other as potential love interests, and the existence of the town’s claim to fame--the Harvest Festival and the annual awarding of the coveted Corn Dolly to Otters Holt’s most worthy female—is threatened.

DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS by Courtney Stevens proves that a book can be both lyrical and action-packed. Readers spend most of their time inside the head of Billie McCaffrey, and it’s a wonderful place to be. Billie’s thoughts are full of poetry, and her observations on life, love, religion, small towns, and big cities are spot-on. The other teens in the Hexagon are equally wonderful, and I appreciate that not one of them is a stereotype. Stevens examines the difficulties teens face in life and love in an unflinching manner, and the book also looks at small town life and church communities with sometimes critical but always loving eyes. Outside of the Hexagon, Stevens gives depth to the most tertiary characters, and she also focuses on the challenges of teen/family relationships.

Brilliant character development is just a part of the wonder of DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS. The plot keeps moving at a perfect pace, and you never know where it’s going to take you.

I’m mourning the fact that I’ve finished DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS. I loved hanging out with Billie and the Hexagon, and Otters Holt and its inhabitants were beginning to feel like my own hometown with all of their charm and flaws. The temptation to turn back to page one and start all over again is strong with this one, but I think I’ll loan my copy out to every teen I know instead. Billie McCaffrey is a character that will stay with me without the need to read about her.

My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Good Points
Wonderful characters

Lyrical writing

Plenty of action
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