Dress Codes For Small Towns by Courtney StevensDress Codes For Small Towns by Courtney Stevens

Dress Codes For Small Towns

byCourtney Stevens

Hardcover | August 22, 2017

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A Golden Kite Honor Book of 2018 * A Kirkus Best Book of 2017

“A poetic love letter to the complexities of teenage identity, and the frustrations of growing up in a place where everything fits in a box—except you.”—David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Kids of Appetite

"Courtney Stevens firmly reasserts herself as a master storyteller of young adult fiction; crafting stories bursting with humor, heart, and the deepest sort of empathy."—Jeff Zentner, 2017 Morris Award Winner for The Serpent King

"Courtney Stevens carries us into the best kind of mess: deep friendships, small town Southern gossip, unexpected garage art, and unfolding romantic identity."—Jaye Robin Brown, author of Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit

As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee.

But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that she’s in love with Woods, Billie’s filled with a nagging sadness as she realizes that she is also in love with Woods…and maybe with Janie Lee, too.

Always considered “one of the guys,” Billie doesn’t want anyone slapping a label on her sexuality before she can understand it herself. So she keeps her conflicting feelings to herself, for fear of ruining the group dynamic.

Except it’s not just about keeping the peace, it’s about understanding love on her terms—this thing that has always been defined as a boy and a girl falling in love and living happily ever after. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple.

Readers will be drawn to Billie as she comes to terms with the gray areas of love, gender, and friendship, in this John Hughes-esque exploration of sexual fluidity.

Courtney Stevens grew up in Kentucky and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. She is former adjunct professor and youth minister. She is also the author of The Lies About Truth, and Faking Normal, which Kirkus called “a story that resonates,” as well as the e-novella The Blue-Haired Boy. You can visit her online at www.courtneycstevens.com.
Title:Dress Codes For Small TownsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:August 22, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062398512

ISBN - 13:9780062398512

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful and heartwarming novel. It was surprising how much I loved this book. When I first saw Dress Codes for Small Towns I thought it was a coming out novel, and though I'm not keen on them, I read it anyways. It is not a coming out novel - it's a novel of exploration - sexuality and gender and identity and how complicated feelings can be and it is written in a way that is absolutely beautiful. It isn't a romance; it's a study of characters, of the small town Billie lives in, and of Billie's friends. The town of Otter's Holt that this book was set in was so atmospheric and captured the "small-town" feeling better than most books do. Billie's relationship with her town was nuanced and complicated; she loves her town, yet she may not love the small-town mentality. It was really heartwarming to see how much the Hexagon (Billie's group of friends) loved the traditions of their town and how much passion Billie had towards saving the Harvest Festival. The setting was a big part of the book's tone. Billie herself was a delight to read about, and her group of friends were all unique and lovely. I think Davey was my favourite out of them, but the exploration of friendship was so great. It can be difficult to write friendship groups like Billie's, but I really did fall in love with all of the characters in the Hexagon. Stevens knows how to place the reader in Billie's head and her writing style was so pensive and well-developed. I loved the discussions about queer people in the church and I'm always happy to read about queer people of faith. Dress Codes for Small Towns is a very thoughtful and nuanced exploration of identity in small-town America, and I really hope that queer Christian teens are able to read this. It made me feel so much less alone and I believe it will help others as well.
Date published: 2017-12-05

Editorial Reviews

“Stevens shows the courage it often takes to find oneself and then to be true to that. This story could contribute to open discussions about gender and sexuality.”