The Sweetheart of Prosper County

Jill S. Alexander

Feiwel & Friends

Almost-15-year-old Austin Gray is tired of standing at the curb and watching the parade pass her by. Literally. She decides this is the year she’ll ride on the hood of a shiny pickup truck in the annual parade, waving to the crowd and finally showing the town bully that she’s got what it takes to be the Sweetheart of Prosper County.


But far from simply being a beauty contest, becoming Sweetheart involves participation in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), raising an animal, and hunting or fishing. Austin will do almost anything to become Sweetheart, and has the support of her oldest friend, Maribel, her new FFA friends (including the reigning Sweetheart, and a quiet, cute cowboy), an evangelical Elvis impersonator, a mysterious Cajun outcast, and a rooster named Charles Dickens. If only her momma would stop overprotecting her, and start letting Austin live her own life. But Austin can’t move on until Momma moves on, too—and lets the grief of losing Austin’s daddy several years before out into the open.


Here is a bighearted story that will leave readers agreeing with Austin that sometimes, it’s not what you ride, it’s how you roll.


Read an Excerpt

1 a hood ornament in the no-jesus christmas parade Sundi Knutt had a blue-ribbon-winning sow, a deer hunting license, and a mound of cleavage. She rode on the hood of Josh Whatley’s daddy’s four-wheel drive Super-Cab Ford. The Future Farmers of America chapter hung posters on each side door glitter-glued with FFA SWEETHEART in all caps. The truck was mirror white, and Sundi, stuffed in a strapless red velvet dress trimmed with real, white rabbit fur, waved to each side of the crowd as the truck poked around the downtown square.“Hey!” A voice hollered toward Sundi. It


Praise for The Sweetheart of Prosper County

“A refreshing picture of teen angst, with realistic dialogue and memorable characters.”School Library Journal, Starred Review

“First-time novelist Alexander offers a delightful, funny story about teenagers living in a West Texas farming community…Austin’s year of added responsibility and independence make for a substantive, enjoyable coming-of-age novel that will speak to rural and urban readers alike.”—Booklist

“Alexander’s debut is marked by a colorful supporting cast, fresh dialogue and Southern personality, which contribute to an entertainingly theatrical vision of smalltown life. The strong but precarious mother-daughter bond is well paired to the themes of finding inner strength and self-acceptance and letting go of the past.”—Publishers Weekly


Reviews from Goodreads



  • Jill S. Alexander

  • JILL S. ALEXANDER grew up in rural East Texas, where she went to work at age twelve bussing tables at the local truck stop. There, she met folks from all walks of life whose eccentricities color her work today. Jill has survived a tornado and catching on fire. She hates whining but loves fancy shoes, muscle cars, and Johnny Cash—preferably, all three at once. Jill taught high school English and Spanish before deciding to take a chance on writing full-time. A native of Texas, she lives in Tyler, Texas, with her husband and son. This is her first novel.

  • Jill S. Alexander George Brainard
    Jill S. Alexander


Available Formats and Book Details

The Sweetheart of Prosper County

Jill S. Alexander

Texas Lone Star Reading List, New York Charlotte Award Master List