Tired of being the butt of bully Dean Ottmer's jokes, Austin Gray has a goal. By next Christmas, she will be a hood ornament in the annual parade.. To achieve her goal, she joins the FFA and gets a chicken for Christmas (a Bantam rooster she names Charles Dickens). Austin makes new friends and finally comes to terms with herself.
What I thought: Sorry to be puny, but this is a sweetheart of a book. Austin is a great character that I think many readers will relate to. Her journey from almost social outcast to sweetheart of Prosper County was poignant and real. She was also a wonderful narrator. I liked seeing her grow. She doesn't just become the sweetheart of Prosper County but Austin Gray. Her aspirations ultimately lead her to her own identity. This book with its small town setting and believe able character is quite reminiscent of Joan Bauer and Heather Hepler. That's a good thing!
(Feiwel & Friends, 2009)