A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY by BRIAN D. KENNEDY
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy is a delightful tribute to Dolly Parton and Dollywood, wrapped up in a cute romance between two boys who are struggling to find their place in life. Emmett is an openly gay teen from a Chicago suburb. He loves country music and wants to be the industry’s first openly gay star. When the opportunity arrives to live with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee and perform at Wanda World (read as: Dollywood), he leaps at the chance. It is there Emmett meets Luke, a local boy who cares deeply for his family but really wants to be a chef. They quickly hit it off and what follows it’s a lovely little book about identity, acceptance, and of course, country music.
I really enjoyed my time with A Little Bit Country. It’s not every day you find a book about a gay boy trying to be a country music star. Emmett is a fun character, but who I really empathized for is Luke. Luke takes care of his siblings in his sick mother’s stead and isn’t sure if he’s ready to come out because of his mother’s strict conservative views. Emmett helps him realize that he isn’t alone and there will always be people who love an accept him for who he is. It’s a very cute dynamic and I enjoyed reading about it.
There’s some plot threads in here about Wanda Jean (the Dolly Parton in this scenario) and Luke’s grandmother, Verna, but they aren’t as important to the story as Emmett’s relationship with Luke. I didn’t mind that they were in there, but they could have been a part of the story from the get-go instead of coming in halfway through the book.
Though Emmett and Luke’s relationship feels a little rushed, I still enjoyed them as a couple.
A fun, breezy read for the summer, you can pick up a copy of A Little Bit Country at the Oreana Library today!