Friday, April 17, 2009

The Beef Princess of Practical County


Title: The Beef Princess of Practical County
Author: Michelle Houts
Pages: 226
Published by: Delacorte Press, April 14 2009
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Recommended to: Readers 10-13
Cover: B+
Overall Grade: B+

   Libby Ryan has grown up around beef her whole life: she lives on a farm in Nowhere, Indiana, where her dad raises beef cattle. After all, it's a Ryan family tradition, ever since her grandfather's Irish ancestors settled the land. Now, Libby is 12 years old, and it's time for her to raise her own two steers to show in the famed Practical County Fair, just like her brother did when he was 12, and Libby is thrilled. She picks out Piggy (the hungry, sweet one) and Mule (the stubborn one), and against her father's suggestion, she starts getting attached...even though she knows that at the end of the fair, she'll be saying goodbye. And not only is the pressure rising to win Grand Champion Steer in the Fair, she's also been entered by her mom to compete in the Beef Princess beauty pageant--so not jeans-and-ponytail Libby's thing. Even worse, she'll be competing against the perfect but vicious Darling sisters (Precious, Lil, and Ohma) in both competitions! Luckily, Libby has her best friend and her family at her side...But can she handle the competition and the heartbreak that's coming?
   There's not much to say about The Beef Princess of Practical County except that it was a simple, clean, and sweet book about growing up and letting go. The narration was excellent--Libby had a real voice and actually sounded like a 12 year old girl. I could really picture her in my head. In fact, all of the characters were well-developed, but I'd have to say that Frannie (the hilarious little sister) and the Darling sisters were my favorite (plus, I just love their creative names. Brava, Michelle, for that!). 
   The only thing that kind of bugged me was how a steer would die or go off to be made into hamburgers and the characters would just kind of brush it off. Now, I don't know anything about cattle or beef, but it just didn't feel realistic. Sure, Libby would cry, but if I knew that my beloved pet was being taken away to die, I would be hysterical. 
   Anyway, I really loved how the plot flowed and moved (I was actually expecting it to drag a bit, but it didn't). There was just enough leadup to the climax, and then the plot settled with a perfect ending (at least, to me). Another plus: the ending rounded things up nicely, and didn't obnoxiously leave things hanging. The plot was realistic and interesting, always keeping me hooked to the storyline, and the dialogue, to me, was the best part: Ms. Houts really captured her character's personalities in the way they spoke. 
   While The Beef Princess of Practical County might be a little young for some people in the YA community, I still advise you to check it out. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how well-written and meaningful the story was, and I even got a good laugh in a few times. A great debut, I hope to see more from the author in the future.

20 comments:

Khy said...

Putting this one on my wishlist...

Ashley said...

Sounds good, but I'm not too fond of the title. lol
I have an award for ya, too!

Insert Book Title Here said...

Great review! This doesn't look like a book for me tho...

KD said...

On my list already! I really cant wait to read this one! I am glad you liked it. Good rieview :D

Carrie said...

I'm definitely adding this one to my list. Can't wait to read it. Great review!!

Barrie said...

So glad to read your review. I love a book that ties things up nicely. I'll add this to my list. Thanks!

booksarelife said...

This book sounds amazing! Can't wait to read. :]

Jenna said...

This is the first time I've come across this one, it looks interesting enough. Great review, I think I'll give this one a shot!

Llehn said...

Sounds intriguing! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Lesley

Liyana said...

This sounds cute. I think I'll ask the lil sis to get this.

Silvia said...

The thing that made me read the summary was definitely the cover I like it a lot.

It sounds like a funny read but maybe I would like the main character to be a little older.

Jessica said...

I'm so excited to read this book!

Pissenlit said...

Sounds good! I wouldn't be able to do that though. I'd always be going, "Mmmmmm...beef!" quickly followed by "Awwww..." and then I'd probably give them a hug.

Nora said...

I really want to read this one, like the rural setting!

Laina said...

I want this one, it looks cute. :)

Erika Lynn said...

this one looks really cute and i can't wait to read it. great review

katayoun said...

i can't help thinking that i would like this book just because the title and the cover kind of reminds me of dairy queen and i loved that. i keep telling myself that the story is different and then i am sucked into thinking about mckay's exiles or carsson family and so again i feel love for this book!

Megan said...

I can't wait to read this.
bookworm8675309@yahoo.com

Max Brown said...

I haven't heard of this one. It looks really good. Thanks for the review! I've got to get this one now.

Katelynn said...

I have the book ordered. I know the Houts family & I think that this will be a great book! I can't wait to read it!