Saturday, September 19, 2015

Welcome to Hickville High by Mary Karlik

The Universe has completely dumped on High School senior Kelsey Quinn’s life. Credit card at Nordstrom’s? Deactivated. Honda Accord? Sold. Life in the burbs of Chicago? Gone. And it’s all her sister’s fault. Yep. Drugs, alcohol, and getting caught with the boss’s son was all it took. Dad loses job, family loses money, and the next thing she knows she’s crammed in a cell on wheels for the next two days as they make their way to a dilapidated farmhouse in Texas. But Kelsey doesn’t just leave the good life in Chicago. She leaves the boy who-has-it-all, Drew Montgomery.

Hillside senior, quarterback, Austin McCoy works for Kelsey’s dad at the feed store and helps with the farm chores in the morning. He sees through Kelsey’s surly attitude to the girl whose eyes light up when she’s with the animals. He is determined to help Kelsey see that not only does she love the Farmville life, but that the guy she really wants is him.

Will Austin convince Kelsey he’s the guy she wants? Will Kelsey embrace the simple life and find forgiveness for her sister?

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Book 1
Buy Links

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Welcome to Hickville High is perfect for young adults and those young at heart.

Kelsey was in the in-crowd back in Chicago, going to a private school, dating the boy every girl wanted, was on the fast-track to Ivy League colleges, and then all of that changes. She finds herself locked in a moving car, destination Hickville, Texas.

Young adults will surely identify and sympathize with Kelsey. The adults, probably not-so much (I can hear them getting frustrated with the girl). But since I'm 37 years old, I'll give you my take on it. I found Kelsey easy to empathize with. Imagine living a way of life for 17 years and having it all stripped away. How powerless you'd feel having every goal you thought to realize removed by the poor decisions of the adults in your life? She is living the consequences of her father, mother, and sister's choices, when up until then she had made all the right choices to have the future she planned. Now, ask yourself if Kelsey feeling resentful was justified or not?

Kelsey was written in a very human manner, befitting a teenager, and as someone who grew up as an affluent Chicagoan.

But the beauty of Welcome to Hickville High is how the grass is always greener on the opposite side of the fence. Through Austin's narration, we're able to see the beauty of a simple life in Texas. Depending on the point of view, some of Kelsey's inner monologue will rankle some readers. Like her thoughts on wanting to enter a house trailer because she wanted to know how people lived in them. Instead of feeling slighted, I thought it a unique perspective, as Kelsey would be completely ignorant to the things all of us in rural America experience on a daily basis. Moral of the story: everyone needs to experience both to have a balanced life.

Welcome to Hickville High was very detailed with beautiful descriptions, but it slowed the flow down considerably, making the story feel a bit drawn-out.

My favorite parts of the book were the tidbits and facts posted as the header of every chapter, and the out-loud laughter that rumbled from me every time coke versus Coke was brought up. (I'm a rural girl and grew up with it being pop or soda. So if someone offered me a coke, I'd expect me some Coke. I laughed so hard when she took tea instead, not knowing what 'flavor' of coke she would get. Loved it!)

Kelsey's life changes dramatically when her father loses his well-paying job and they go from the rich life in Chicago to a working life in rural Texas. She arrives a good girl but a spoiled rich girl. Not her fault – that is how she was raised. She behaves and gets good grades. These two things combined made her a challenging character for me. Sometimes I didn't like her and thought she was a bit of a twit and irritating. Other times I thought she was hard done by and just doing her best to get by.

Her friend and love interest Austin is a good, hard working Texan boy. The kind of boy every parent would like for their daughter. He helps Kelsey adjust to a life that includes work, a new high school, and farm animals.

Welcome to Hickville High is a lovely story about growing up and includes a sweet romance. I will definitely be reading more of the Hickville series.

Age recommendation: 13up

Also Available in the Hickville High Series

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

Following a career as a nursing instructor, award-winning author, Mary Karlik earned an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. A native Texan, Mary loves horses, dogs, cats, country music, and small town diners. Although she has recently relocated in northern New Mexico, her heart remains in the Lone Star state.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Welcome to Hickville High (Hickville High #1) by Mary Karlik to read and review. Review copy purchased by the blog.

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