Redneck Debutante is Jenny Hammerle’s debut novel in YA fiction from Oak Tara Publishers. It’s a clean, simple read about a fifteen-year-old girl who is forced to leave her Palm Beach home and private school for the Florida countryside and a public high school of 2500.
    First, I didn’t even know Florida had farms and ranches, certainly not big ones of thousands of acres.  Second, the lifestyle of the rich, even the rich with assets momentarily seized by the government, blew me away. Blew me away. Yes, I repeated that on purpose. The affluence of Rachael’s family, their friends in the city, and their new friends and family in the country stunned me.
    The driving force of the plot of this novel is the romance between Rachael and her steady boyfriend of six months from Palm Beach, Colten, and the new neighboring cowboy, Travis.
    What I liked about this novel. Travis. Can’t help it. I’ll pick a cowboy over an Englishman any day of the week.  But, in truth, I liked them both and that enabled me to feel Rachael’s tension in her attraction to both of them as well. I liked that the story wasn’t cliche to the set up of premise of rich girl sent to the country. Rachael remained well-liked and accepted both with her old and new friends. I liked that she didn’t hide the family issues that had led to her current situation. I liked Rachael, trying new things, trying to be an encouragement to her friends, trying to remain true to her commitment to Colten, seeking her parents for advice.
    What I was ambivalent toward: the affluence, the dance squad (I would have rather spent more time with Rachael while she lifted weights with the guys), and the continuous teenaged pressure and discussion of who was “dating” whom. I accepted these as part of the genre.
    What I missed was Jesus. I’m pretty sure my fav Travis knew Him and knew Him well enough to draw strength from Him because that could be seen in Travis’ actions. But Rachael seemed to have a shallow knowledge of Christ and none of the trials in the story helped her gain any depth. That, of course, didn’t bother me until the climax.
    So Redneck Debutante is one of those stories that I enjoyed the entire way to the end and then wanted a different ending. What I must always try to remember in series of this type is that Rachael will continue to grow as the reader follows one of her friends on her romantic journey in the next book. The other point I try to remember is that Christian writers have different parts in sharing the Gospel and Jenny’s story could be laying groundwork for more in depth discussions to come.
    Yes, I recommend Redneck Debutante for teens looking for a light read that encourages them to be brave in the face of change, to be honest, to be pure, and to be loyal to their friends, old and new.