Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks! Reviews

cliques bookcover

I so enjoyed the interaction between sisters. I remember going through the same issues. It felt like I was reliving my childhood. Thanks for the reminder.

  • CJ Loiacono

Not Bad, Good Message

By K. Palmer In this second installment of the Confessions of April Grace series by KD McCrite, readers get a firsthand account of the first half of April Grace’s sixth grade year. Not only does she have to deal with houseguests and a snotty big sister, but one of her former friends has decided to form a clique that excludes her and she discovers that her mom is expecting a baby!

In this second installment of the Confessions of April Grace series by KD McCrite, readers get a firsthand account of the first half of April Grace’s sixth grade year. Not only does she have to deal with houseguests and a snotty big sister, but one of her former friends has decided to form a clique that excludes her and she discovers that her mom is expecting a baby!

April Grace is certainly an interesting character (and an authentic one!)–a girl who knows who she is and isn’t afraid to be that person and stand up for herself or others. Through her experiences and the advice of the adult characters in the book, young readers learn the value of having grace for others, even when they aren’t nice, and of being yourself.

This book was a fun read for me, as it is set in 1986. Since I was 10 in 1986, I related to the experiences of 11 year old April Grace with her Trapper Keeper and shoulder pads. I’m not sure that my 9 year old daughter would get those references, but I think she would enjoy this story. It’s cute, and I like the spunky April Grace and the overall message relayed to young readers.

A Teen Must Read

By adventures of frugal mom

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks written by KD McCrite is an awesome novel for teenagers to read. The book deals with 11 year old April Grace, who is dealing with her first year of junior high. Not only does she have to deal with junior high drama but add to it her mom’s pregnancy troubles, which lands her mom on bed rest, a snotty older sister, to having to deal with overbearing boarders in her house. As the story unfolds April Grace learns that sometimes things are not always what they seem and that learning how to adapt to all the changes around her allows her to grow to love all those around her.

I loved this book. I especially loved the relationship dynamic of April Grace and her arch enemy Lottie. You see Lottie used to be one of her friends until middle school started. Lottie is so jealous that the guy she likes like April Grace that she is down and out right mean to her. That so reminded me of the issues that Mikaela, who is in her last year of junior high, has had to deal with during her years of middle school. This book allowed me to show her that yes situations do exist like the ones she is going through and that yes this too will pass. That is what is so great about this book its relate ability to issues that teens face in everyday life. This is one book that I cannot wait to read the sequel when it comes out.

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

A true, authentic voice

By L.A. Childers

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite

Everything is changing for April Grace Reilly. She is just starting middle school, where friends from elementary school have changed into people whom she barely seems to know. At home, her family has taken in Mr. and Mrs. St. James until their house can be repaired. As if that’s not enough to worry about, April’s Mama just doesn’t seem like herself. It’s no wonder that April is just plain worried. April slowly realizes that there are some things that she can fix and other things that are simply out of her hands.

April Grace Reilly is my kind of girl. She loves with all of her heart. She is true to those whom she loves and she is learning why tolerance and patience are necessary virtues. In Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace, author K.D. McCrite writes with an authentic voice. April Grace’s story is told with honesty. Her story is one that will help tween girls dealing with growing up in today’s world.

Please note: Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


By sc2424

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks by KD McCrite is a book which I thought sounded much more interesting and better than it actually was. It’s a book about April Grace, a 6th grader entering middle school–hating math, having a former friend turn her back on her, fighting with her sister, typical jr. high stuff.

It’s written in a first person voice, with April Grace relating the story. April Grace is an 11 year old girl, living in the Ozarks in 1986. She lives in her home with her family and another couple who are rebuilding their house down the road, and she is beginning 6th grade. There is a whole cast of characters who intermittently dominate the story. The book follows April Grace through the first half of her sixth grade year.

I really had high hopes for this book. I thought it sounded sweet and like the type of thing my pre-teen daughter would love. After reading it, I wouldn’t really call it sweet. And yes, my daughter probably will like it. It seems to read like a lot of current books written for this age group–which truthfully she likes, so I guess it hit its target there. However, there were themes which were never addressed/corrected such as lack of respect to elders and family members, and although it is a Christian fiction book–there’s not a strong Christian message that came through to me.

So–would I recommend it? Maybe to read–check it out at your library if you can. I probably wouldn’t purchase the book–or give it as a gift. Certainly not a book I loved.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review.

A nice story

By D. Kinney

As this setting the book is 1984, I would have enjoyed reading this book when I was a girl in junior high. The main character, April Grace, is navigating junior high life as all young girls do. I related to the character and the struggles she faces growing up and trying to fit in. I certainly would have enjoyed reading this book when I was her age.

Also because this book is set in 1984, I do not know if young girls today will relate to the story. The absence of technology (computers, cell phones, apps, etc.) was very noticeable. When April needed to get a hold of her dad, I wondered why she did not just call his cell phone. Then I remember that there were no cell phones in the 80’s. So the book is dated, but it is a nice enough story to make it readable and enjoyable.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Not great, not terrible.

By lizaleegrace

This is the second book in the series Confessions of April Grace. In this book, April Grace is 11 years old and starting 6th grade – the dreaded junior high years. As if that wasn’t bad enough, everything else in her life is falling apart. Their family friend is recovering from a car wreck. Her mama is sick. Her former best friend started her own clique, April not invited. Her sister is impossible to live with. Plus, the church has asked the youth group to act in the Christmas play. And who gets the lead part? April Grace. Which was not in her plans.

It was an ok book. I usually like books geared towards tween girls like this one is, but this one left me wanting something. April was hard to like. She complained about everything. While some things were valid complaints and some were simply what a tween girl would think, it got annoying after a while. You know she meant well in everything she did, but she still annoyed me. She definitely could have lived up to her name a little better.

I can’t say I liked the book (I didn’t dislike it, but I didn’t like it). Then again, I’m not the target audience. The thing is, when I was 5-6th grade (the age of the target audience), I’m not sure that I would have liked it then. It would be one to check out from the library, read, say “That’s a cute story”, and then promptly forget about.


By Emily

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks

Written by: K.D. McCrite
Published by: Thomas Nelson

I chose to read this book, despite the fact that it was written for children, just because it sounded like an interesting story to read.

This is the story of an eleven year old girl whose life is filled with little bits of craziness… such as a Grandma with multiple boyfriends, a good friend turned snobby, and a pregnant mother.

Who the book is for:

I don’t really know what age would enjoy this book the most… I don’t think kids who are in the same age group as the girl the book is about would have the attention span to read the book, but I don’t think those who are older than that (teens and adults) would enjoy it either.

What I liked:

The cover is cool

What I didn’t like:

Boring… I found it really hard to finish reading this book.

My conclusion:

This is a blah book.

I give Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks 2 out of 5 stars.

I received this book free to review from BookSneeze. The opinions expressed in this review are my true thoughts and feeling regarding this book. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.


Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks

By Mommy Does

I laughed so hard when I read this! I’m terrible at Algebra and find it the least bit interesting.
I really like the fun headers and transition pages for the chapters.
The book would be a great gift for a pre-teen and some teenagers.
If you are interested in buying the book, has it available.

I loved this book!

By Tiffany A. HarkleroadTOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE

This are a little cramped in April Grace’s house. She lives with her parents, and her snotty sister Myra Sue. Now the neighbors, Isabella St. James and her husband, have moved in while Isabella recovers from a car accident. And now, April Grace finds out there is going to be a new baby! On top of the troubles at home, April finds that one of her closest friends has turned on her, and has created a new clique which ridicules April and other kids. Growing up is never easy, but especially not for April Grace.

I just adored this book. I found the storyline sweet and honest, and April Grace is one of the most endearing characters I have ever met. She reminds me so much of myself as a middle schooler! This is the second book in a series, but it does a great job filling in the back story, so I never felt lost or confused with the storyline or the cast of characters.

The book is geared toward a middle grade reader, and I think the storylines are quite appropriate for that age group. However, the 1980’s setting will be foreign to a tween reader, more suited to adults like me who lived then. It would either work better as a tween book set in current times, or more developed into an adult book set in the 80s. As it is, it feels a little hit or miss with both demographics, though I personally loved the book.

This is classified as a Christian book, and while there were themes of faith and Christian messages in the book, they were not dominant, so the book can still appeal to a mainstream audience.

Five Stars

By mary c femrite

These stories are a joy to read, I have shared them with my daughter who also love them

Five Stars

By A.J.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book!



This book is really good and I LOVED it. I can’t wait too read the 3rd book. I also recommend to read the first book before this one.

Amazing book reminds me of my life

By emma

This book was absolutely wonderful. To understand some of it you have to read the first book In Front of God and Everybody. It really reminds me of my life because I have a little sister and a little brother but I highly doubt I am snooty like Myra Sue. I recommend this book for people who love adventure and mystery type books grades 3-5

Great clean read for teeny-boppers

By BeckyD

Purchased this whole series for Christmas break reading for my 11 year old daughter – she loved it. Read straight through. I could hear her chuckling at some of the characters and circumstances, so I knew it was a good find, even before she started staying up late to read “just one more chapter.”

Love and Laughter!

By Elaine LeDoux

This was the second of the trio of April Grace books I read, and it was as funny and poignant as the first and third. KD McCrite is a fabulous author who really captures the spirit of the 11 year old narrator and main character, as well as the area they live in. You will laugh as hard as you can, sometimes worry and definitely become a better human being for having met April Grace and her family. Please…..more April Grace!!!


By Darrell A Naeger

a great book for kids and helps you know how they felt when you were a having an other kid


Awesome book

By Tori Akins

I related a lot to this book. Mean big sister. Losing best friends. I recommend this book to kids who are just beginning junior high. I think you would enjoy this book.


By Amber Walter

This is an awesome book. I can’t wait to read the 3rd book. I bet it will be just as great. Or even better!

April Grace Series

By Amazon Customer

This book was good. I thought it was the slowest of the three books in the series. April Grace still reminds me of Junie B. Jones.
More books like this need to be written for kids.


By cinderellena on May 6, 2013

This is the sequel to In Front of God and Everybody…..a great book as well. You don’t have to read the first book to completely love this one, but i recommend reading it.

This book talks about April Grace starting middle school, and how different it is. Isabel has been in a wreck, and now can’t teach until second semester. April’s mom is acting strange, and her grandma had a million boyfriends! Myra sue is support than ever, and that is just the beginning to ask the problems!

Such an excellent book with a nice Christian message without being over the top with it! Super easy read…….you will love it! I can’t wait to read the third book.


By cfl on April 15, 2013

This is the second book and I couldn’t wait to read the third book. KD is a great writer and I will get all of her books that I can.

I love it!!! 🙂

By Tammy M. Hyde on January 9, 2013

I love this book!

The whole series of the April Grace book are just wonderful
Full of excitement and real feelings! I love how they always have this great twist to them that make you just want to keep on reading even if you know you need to stop!

Thank you Ms. McCrite for writing this wonderful book and series!!!!!


By BDenise

I loved this one as much as the first and can’t wait to read CHOCOLATE COVERED BALONEY. April Grace is an amazing young lady! Just love her!


By Laura Pol

I love April Grace and she comes back in the second novel with as much humor and smarts as she did in the first book! In this novel however things get pretty serious with her mother’s pregnancy and the baby! My heart went out to April Grace and Myra Sue because I knew things would be okay, but I didn’t know how bad it was going to get! Overall, it was a great read and I’m definitely looking forward to the third book!

Great for Middle School Girls!!!1

By AnnMarie F. Kolb on October 6, 2012

April Grace is starting Middle School. She believes in her heart that all will be the same as last year when she gets to school the first day. Anyone who has entered a new school for middle school will know that this is never the case! I enjoyed this book a lot and passed it along to a middle-schooler who is having a hard time adjusting to her new school.

Fun Title – story with humor and drama

By Sue Ford

Clicks, Hicks and Ugly Sticks (Thomas Nelson, 2011) by KD McCrite is the second in a series, but not having read the first isn’t a hindrance to enjoying this story. Look at the opening lines:

Isabel St. James is a recovering hypochondriac.
She once thought she had hoof-and-mouth disease just because she skittered through the barnyard while the cows were there waiting to be milked.

It makes me want to know more about 11-year-old April Grace who obviously must live on a farm. In the first chapter we learn so much about her–not just age, family, hair color–but that she has compassion, and is opinionated and funny. Here’s a brief introduction to the story:

April has had to move in with her sister, Myra Sue, to give up her room for Isabel (the drama queen) and Ian St. James. Her sister is trailing after dumb ol’ Isabel like she’s the best thing since sliced bread. If that’s not bad enough, April’s starting Junior High and discovering how friends change, and not in a good way. Then her mother starts being grouchy all the time. And then there’s that boy at school who keeps eyeing her… What’s a girl to do? Especially when she has to spend so much time helping Isabel and Myra Sue?

Preteen girls will enjoy April Grace. (It may be Christian, but it sure isn’t preachy!)

The first book in the “Confessions of April Grace” series is called In Front of God and Everybody. The third book, Chocolate Covered Baloney is coming out this fall.

Cute “Historical” Novel for Late Elementary-Age Girls

By Janet Reeves on April 12, 2012

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite is a really cute story for late-elementary-age girls. If you have a young daughter, I recommend this book, the second in a series, to her and to you. (I still remember loving it at that age when my mom read the books I was reading!)

April Grace is an 11-year-old girl entering her first semester of junior high. The story is set in the 80’s. (Does that make it a historical novel?! Oh, my! Can’t be.) Yet April Grace, her family, and her community reminded me of the Walton’s and their little town. So picture Elizabeth in 80’s attire, and you know what April Grace is like. (She even has the red hair!)

Along with the normal challenges of junior high, April Grace must deal with unwanted house guests who take her older sister’s room forcing her sister to move into hers, her mom’s surprise and difficult pregnancy, and her placement under protest in the church’s Christmas play. Life is hard for this spunky, little girl. And she very honestly shares all of her feelings!

Yet she survives and learns many valuable life lessons along the way. Themes regarding family, community, compassion, self-esteem, forgiveness, and living out one’s faith are subtly woven throughout this fun story.

I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary eCopy for my honest review.

Fun easy read

By Sarah

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace by KD McCrite
I didn’t realize until after I had finished downloading this ebook that Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace is actually a sequel to In Front of God and Everybody: Confessions of April Grace. But, the author KD McCrite did a great job incorporating the back story into this continuation so that the reader isn’t completely lost if they haven’t read the first book and so I was still able to read and follow along with the characters and their lives.
This is kind of different in that it is set back in the mid 1980’s and the intended audience today, preteens, may not understand some of the settings and situations or items included in the story. The things they may not understand though can be made up for in the many similarities that girls these ages are still experiencing now. It is a great story for girls and young teens to read because as April Grace is working through issues with her friends, crazy family, boys, etc., the readers can learn valuable life lessons and morals from the way April Grace handles the tough things in life all the while enjoying a fun novel. Even for older readers it is interesting to remember being a middle-schooler experiencing some of the same things as the main characters in this easy read.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com […] book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks

By P. Friedel

I recently finished the book, Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks – Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite. It chronicles the life of 11 year old April Grace and all the troubles she faces as she begins Junior High.

This book was extremely entertaining for me as a mom because the entire book was written from the perspective of April Grace. I could totally picture a tween expressing herself the way she does. She deals with a mean “friend,” an annoying older sister, a pregnant mom, and a grandma dating two different men. Through it all, there was a definite softness about the book and many life lessons learned.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when April Grace lost it and couldn’t take all the problems piling up any longer – the last one being her mom going into early labor and not knowing if mom or the baby would make it. She breaks down sobbing in front of her Pastor, asking him is God going to make her momma die? The dialogue that follows between the Pastor and April Grace is priceless.

All in all, I enjoyed the book once I got about a third of the way through it. My only problem was that it is recommended for ages 8 and up. I’m not sure I would let my 12 year old read it simply because there were a couple of mature elements in the beginning of the book for that age, in my opinion. However, it is definitely an honest and well written book that made me smile.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Handles life with Grace

By connie almony

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks, by K.D. Mc Crite is the second in the Confessions of April Grace series about a middle-school girl traversing the difficult years between elementary and high school. She must deal with a variety of challenges, including a snooty neighbor who moves in with April’s family, an old friend who is now the queen of the popular girls, a Christmas play she wants nothing to do with, and the coming of a new sibling. Oh brother, as if middle school wasn’t hard enough.
Yet April Grace does it with … well … grace. No, she is not some little Stepford child who behaves and never complains, but when the chips are down, those who know her best know they can count on her.
What I like best about this story is the main character, April Grace. I can relate to someone who wants to do what’s best. And yet, maybe complains a little along the way. The supporting cast is real and relatable, too. I recognize them in my own life.
My only wish it that there were more of a united theme to latch onto that carried throughout the story. But maybe that’s just how middle school life is, just a girl trying to make sense of it all.
I received this book for free from the Thomas Nelson Booksneeze program in return for an honest review.

Absolutely loved it, such a fun read!

By Latoya

April Grace has such a fun-tastic voice, it was so interesting seeing life from her perspective. She has this witty humor that you just can’t help to fall in love with. In this second installment in this series April Grace has begun junior high, and has to deal with the typical mean girls. Add to this her sister has an obsession with the family friend Isabel St.James, who is an absolute hot mess by the way, her grandmother has not one but two boyfriends, and something strange is going on with her mother that has her worried scared. Let’s just say April is very observant, and smart and she can sense when something is up. I couldn’t put this down, and there were many times I found myself laughing(well giggling) at some of her antics. She is very easy to relate to, as are all the characters, which were well-rounded, real, and quite comical. I absolutely loved the humor, love and faith in this book. Throughout everything that April and her family experienced their faith remains strong, which is so wonderful to see in characters. This book is realistic, sarcastic, witty and an overall great read. April Grace has a big heart and she has wormed her way right into mine, can’t wait for the next book.

April Grace is Hilarious!

By Gimme The Scoop on February 6, 2012

“A clique of mean girls, a grandma–yes, you heard it–a grandma stuck in a love triangle, a church pageant run by a dictator, and a mom who’s acting very mysterious–it all sounds like a disaster, but it’s just another day in the life of April Grace Reilly!”

I Loved Loved Loved this incredibly funny book! April Grace is a child after my own heart! This book was beaming with southern hospitality, charm, and good ole country living and being an good ole country gal myself I ate up every page.

The cover itself is just adorable before you ever begin reading the pages inside with little squiggles around it. Then you open it up and the pages are filled with more of the same little squiggles and designs, and across the top is “boxed off” sort of with the page numbers. Really super cute.

The story begins with Isabel, a house guest of April Grace’s family being in a car accident and boy is she a mouthy city gal who thinks everything should revolve around her! She is just so bossy and high & mighty I want to sock her one a couple of times. While everybody is trying to help Isabel, April begins to notice her mom is not really her usual self and begins to worry over her and her health which leads to a very scary ordeal for the family, and then there are The Lottie’s, a clique of bratty little girls who over the summer vacation decided they were somehow better than all the other school kids and April has to come to terms with them now as well. Oh and let’s not leave grandma out who is juggling three, yes I said three men! Good Lord have mercy on poor April as she has to run some interference for granny as well as deal with the rest of her crazy goings on!

If you need a break from the more serious and involved books then grab this one for some laugh out loud fun. April Grace is a quirky, fun, and tell it like it is young lady who will not disappoint you!

Adorable, funny book for tweens

By hippiemommy

While browsing to see which book I might want to review next, Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks by K.D. McCrite immediately caught my eye. It is the second book of “The Confessions of April Grace” series, although I didn’t realize that until I finished the book.

The story is told by April Grace, an 11-year-old in Arkansas in 1986. April Grace is starting junior high and her world seems to be falling apart. The new school year starts and one of her best friends is now snotty and mean to her at school, boys are starting to notice her (which makes her uncomfortable), and then her parents drop the bombshell that they have a new baby on the way. The book follows April Grace’s life through the first half of her school year as she tries to adjust to all of the changes in her life.

Reading this book was fun. I smiled at the descriptions of life in the 80’s. April Grace’s character has a great blend of innocence and spunk that translates well for the tween crowd. I think my daughter will really relate to her. I’m going to get the first book of the series and I plan on reading them aloud with my kids.

This book is published by Thomas Nelson, but the Christian message is very subtle in it and I think it would be an appropriate book regardless of a person’s faith. The overall tone of the book is positive without being syrupy. I’d definitely recommend this book and I look forward to checking out the rest of the series.

Written from the perspective of a junior high school girl. Loved it!

By Starla M. Ross

April Grace is trying to maneuver through her first year of junior high school, but she’s finding it a whole lot more difficult than she imagined.

Everything about junior high is different than elementary school. How has so much changed over the short period of one summer? Her friends are no longer her friends, and suddenly silly things like clothes and hair have become important. Myrna Sue, April’s high school sister, is acting strange and, to make matters worse, Myrna Sue has become obsessed with Isabel St. James, the overly-dramatic houseguest April Grace’s family has taken in.

April Grace’s first year of junior high is filled with surprises, from the Christmas pageant to the unexpected and surprising birth of a new little brother. Somehow, April Grace makes it through those first confusing months of her teenage years.

Author K.D. McCrite does a great job of telling the story from the perspective of a junior high girl. The style in which the book is written makes the story believable and, as a reader, I found myself cheering for April Grace.

This book is appropriate for all ages, but would be highly recommended for girls ages 10 through 14. Loved it!

Great Book for Pre-Teens

By OrganicShoes

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks: The Confessions of April Grace

By: KD McCrite

Just when April Grace believed that the drama was over she had no idea what would be happen once she entered into Junior High School. After Isabel St. James and is injured in an accident, her job at the school is placed on hold. In the meantime Mama hasn’t been feeling very well and is unable to be a part of the Christmas show at church. April Grace has a brilliant idea to get Isabel to direct the Christmas show. Only Isabel has her own ideas and expects April Grace to help out.

Will April Grace be able to stop worrying about her mom and help Isabel with the show? Will she figure out how to deal with Myra Sue and her snottiness?

This book is a great read for pre-teens that is wholesome, girls will love the stories of April Grace’s confessions.

I was provided this book complimentary from the publisher through the BookSneeze book reviewer program. I am not required to write a positive review, all opinions are my own.

Great Book

By Beanshappy

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks by KD McCrite

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks is about an eleven year old girl, April Grace, from Arkansas. She is starting Junior High and doesn’t understand how one of her friends from last has turned out to be rotten over the summer. This book reminds me of Junie B. Jones. It is written as April Grace telling about her daily life, how she learns of her mother expecting a child and overcoming stage fright. She gets to help with the church Christmas play and learns a pretty neat lesson in life.

I loved this book. It was well written. One of the things that made me want to read this book is that she is from Arkansas in 1986 and I could relate to many of the accounts she wrote about. Reading these accounts made me feel like I was reliving my childhood. I did not want to put the book down. I would certainly recommend this to not only teenage girls but those who lived in Arkansas and can relive their childhood through this book. This is a good book for teenage girls to show them that they do have a voice and can show their faith to anyone.

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace

By Amazon Customer

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace by KD McCrite is the second book in the Confessions of April Grace series. After a car accident, Isabel St. James–a very self-centered drama queen that is temporarily staying at the Reilly family’s home–is in the hospital. Eleven-year-old April Grace Reilly and her family are visiting Isabel, (even though April Grace would rather not) and she is grumpier and more selfish than ever! While at the hospital, April notices something different about her mother, and she soon finds out that she is going to be a big sister! Because of the pregnancy, her mother can’t direct the church’s Christmas play…and unfortunately, no one else but Isabel St. James can be the substitute! Along with all of that mess, April’s former best friend, Lottie Fuhrman, has become part of a clique (unnecessarily called “The Lotties”) and she’s treating everyone in school like garbage! What will April do about that terrible Christmas play disaster? And can she stop “The Lotties” from being tyrants to everyone at school?

This book was a really interesting and amusing read! I can relate to a lot of April Grace’s thoughts, probably because I’m 10 and she’s 11. I like the book because there’s a lot of humor in the story, too. I also like that it takes place in 1986, because I always love learning about the past. I would recommend this book for ages 9 or older. Although this book is from an eleven-year-old’s perspective, it does talk about some trends from the 80s, so you might have to look up some stuff, like me. (e.g. Trapper Keeper)

The author, KD McCrite, did a great job of writing from an eleven year old’s point of view even though she’s an adult. For more information about the author, visit […]

Kristina Cardoza
Children’s Book Author

Great book, would recommend for younger kids

By Ashley T of And The little Ones Too on January 10, 2012

I never read the first book in the series but you don’t need to. You get a good sense of who the characters are in the beginning of the book so you can just jump in and not feel like your missing out of anything. The target age was 9-12 years old and I think it would be good for my niece to read. I couldn’t get into it right away but its made for younger kids so its out of my age range. I did like how they handled the news of April having a younger sibling. It sounds exactly like how I would act in the same situation at that age. I think this book is a great book for children and would recommend it to any parent.

Cliques, Hicks & Ugly Sticks by K.D. McCrite

By BamaKit

I just finished reading the second book in the April Grace series by K.D. McCrite. This book was titled Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks. This book series is geared toward a middle school reader (tween/teen), but given that it is set in 1986, it reminded me of how I grew up. I am 30 years old (so I would have been 5 and starting kindergarten in 1986), but I grew up in a small country town in Alabama that reminds me of April Grace’s hometown in rural Arkansas.

This book shows how April Grace is dealing with many problems: a crowded house that includes her mother, father, older sister, and new neighbors (Ian and Isabel), who are living with them while they work on their house; starting junior high and finding a new enemy, Lottie, who used to be April Grace’s friend and has now started a clique called the “Lotties”; her mom’s strange behavior; her snotty older sister, Myra Sue; and having a lead part in the church Christmas play, directed by Isabel. This book has a lot of great moments, just like the first book and it was really a great, quick read. It shows the tween/teen reader how to deal with all of these problems in a Christian way, but also shows that everyone makes mistakes and not to worry and dwell on them. Even though this book is a “Christian” book, it is not overbearing and really does have a great story that should appeal to any mainstream tween/teen audience. Please don’t let the Christian reference throw you off of reading this book.

Funny and so easy to relate too

By klecwes on January 3, 2012

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks is the second book in the “Confessions of April Grace” series by KD McCrite and now I feel like I need to go and buy the first one.
First of all I have to say I love reading tween and teen books. This book is about an 11 year old girl who is starting junior high and dealing with changes in her family and you can really relate to what she is saying and feeling about all the struggles of school and family. This girl is so darn funny I couldn’t help but really laugh out loud in a few parts. I told my daughter what this book was about so I’m going to start her off with the first one and I know she is going to love it being an 11 year old herself and starting 6th grade next year and dealing with her siblings. This book is an excellent book and there is no worry about what your kids may be reading about its Christian based.

I Have a Confession….I loved this book!!!

By king617

Book Review: Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks, Confessions of April Grace by KD McCrite

“I received this book for free from BookSneeze for this review”.

Book Review: A clique of mean girls, a grandma–yes, you heard it–a grandma stuck in a love triangle, a church pageant run by a dictator, and a mom who’s acting very mysterious–it all sounds like a disaster, but it’s just another day in the super funny life of April Grace Reilly.

Here are just a couple of April’s confessions–

On the Clique at her school: “There are four other girls in her little group and they call themselves ‘the Lotties’. Melissa and I call them ‘the Snotties”

On Doing Algebra Homework: “I have to say, my friend and I would probably have had more fun if we’d had out teeth extracted by the dog dentist.”

Junior High can be rough, but April Grace will help you laugh your way through!!

My Review: What a gorgeous book cover that really drew me in…April Grace, with her fiery red hair, in her farm boots sitting in a wheelbarrow of leaves in front of a barn. You know already by the cover what April Grace’s personality consists of 🙂 She is living in a home with her mother (who has been acting strangely lately), a father (who is running their farm) a sister (who has to be everyone’s boss) a couple; Isabel and Ian St. James (Ian works on the farm and they are waiting to finish their own home) and a Grandmother who lives just across the field, but is in and out. When Grace’s mother starts to look and feel ill, everyone does what they can to make her feel more comfortable. People moving out, people moving in etc…While Grace is dealing with life at home, she is also dealing with the pressures of school; grades, friends and bullies. Will Grace be able to keep everything together in her life and keep her sense of humor while doing it all?!!!! A great book that I couldn’t put down 🙂

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks

By JJJessa

I recently received a free ebook copy of Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks from in exchange for an honest review. Booksneaze description:

Just when April Grace thought the drama was over …

After an automobile accident, Isabel St. James–resident drama coach and drama queen–needs help putting together the church play. Mama insists April Grace and Myra Sue will help. April’s fall is now devoted to spending every afternoon with Isabel and Myra Sue–if anyone is as big of a drama queen as Isabel, it’s Myra Sue. Plus, she’s dumb. (Okay, not dumb, but “older sister dumb.”) If that’s not enough, Isabel is wreaking havoc in the community trying to get Rough Creek Road paved, the new boy at school will not leave her alone, and then Mama drops the biggest bombshell of all … April Grace is no longer going to be the baby of the family …

Girls will completely relate to April and love her sense of humor as she deals with siblings, boys, and the many changes that come with growing up.

This book was labeled “children’s,” but it was definitely a book I would have enjoyed at the junior high level. That being said, it was a fun, very easy read. If you are looking for a good book for your 6/7/8th grade daughter, this would be the one. April Grace gives a hilarious account of her family’s life that I very much enjoyed reading!

Even better than the first in the series!

By Jeff

On the recommendation of a friend, I got the first April Grace book for a Christmas gift for a young relative. I read it and really enjoyed it, so it seemed to make perfect sense to get the sequel, Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks for the same little girl’s birthday in January. And, like her Christmas gift, I decided to read this one, too. There were several places where it’s laugh-out-loud funny. K.D. McCrite created some great characters when she dreamed up April Grace and her family and friends. The characters are likeable, with the exception of two or three that are meant to be antagonistic. One, Isabel St. James, has some redeeming qualities and she’s a bit nicer this go ’round. I just hope she doesn’t get too likeable because she’s so much fun to hate! Word has it there’s to be a third April Grace book next fall. I think I’ve got my Christmas shopping done for one little relative when “Chocolate Covered Baloney” comes out. I can’t wait to read it, too. If it’s as good as the first two April Grace books, it’s going to be a hit.

Still lovin’ April Grace

By bassgiraffe on December 28, 2011

I was so very excited to hear the second installment of the April Grace books had come out. I read the first book, In Front of God and Everybody, back in April and fell in love with all the characters. I especially connect well with April Grace, the main character. I may not be as “out there” as she is but when I was a pre-teen I was awkward, sort of out-cast and just had a quirky personality.
In the second book, Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks, we get to know April Grace, her whole family and the friends around her much better. In fact someone that was easy to hate in the first book, Isabel, you come to sort of love in this book. She is also connecting more to the country folk more and isn’t as stuck up. She still has her bad times, but I think the fact she started to have to think of someone else in need helped her get out of her little bubble.
April Grace’s mom is pregnant. But it’s a troubled pregnancy and she is forced on bed rest. April Grace isn’t too happy about this and is always afraid that something bad is going to happen to her mom. Isabel, steps in to help out with the church’s Christmas pageant and even starts to attend church. A.G. is then forced to be a lead in the play, something she DID NOT want to do. But for her mama, she’d do anything.
In the end April Grace learns about trusting God with her worries and how to pray for them.
I love this book series and can’t wait for the next book to come out. They even posted a teaser at the end of my book, making me want it to come out very soon.

Great Read

By Amy

I really enjoyed this book. I think it is classified as young adult fiction, but would recommend it to tweens as well. The story is about the adventures of a 6th grade girl named, April Grace Reilly, who is working through the growing pains of moving on to Junior High School and all that entails. She also has lots of interesting adventures involving many of the quirky characters that surround her (which I will not go into here in the event of spoiling the fun for anyone who might read it.) One of the many reasons that I would recommend this book, particularly to young girls, is that while April is wrestling with the issues of 6th grade she seems to have a good sense of who she is and what she stands for.

I did find this book a little bit hard to get into at first. However, I discovered after I finished the book that this was the 2nd book in a series. I am guessing I would have jumped right in had I read the first book. All that being said, I was still able to enjoy the book without having read the first one (although I do plan to read it at some point.)

I enjoyed this book and if you are fan of young adult fiction or have a child of that age, I would definitely recommend it.

Funny, in the vein of Junie B Jones

By Shashasha

April grace s a funny, insightful young lady. Tis book was a fun and quick read, full of a lot of laughs. I enjoyed reading about April and her life. I didn’t realize this was a sequel, but I felt like. Still understood what went on. I am interested in reading the first one. I am a little older an tithe targeted age group, but still found this to be an enjoyable book with a good message at the end.

I received this book for free from booksneeze in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Funny and touching – Recommended!

By KrazyBookLady

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks is about April Grace and her life growing up in a small town in Arkansas during 1986. April’s mom announces there is going to be a new addition to the family, and she has complications that force her to take it easy. Since her mom can no longer run the church play like she usually does, Isabel St. James, drama queen, is asked to help put on the church play. When April had the idea, she had no idea she would be recruited to help Isabel. She isn’t happy as it means she has to spend so much time with her older sister, Myra Sue, and Isabel. On top of all of that, she has to deal with the cliques in her new junior high. The main leader of one clique is her former friend, Lottie, who suddenly changed over the summer break.

I really enjoyed reading this. K.D. McCrite stayed true to character and created a funny but touching story. Many of the characters are called by their first and middle names, such as April Grace, Myra Sue, Melissa Kay. This was common practice in the South back then, especially in the smaller towns. I think this is one of few books I have read that effectively shows language in the South but is still written grammatically correct. Phrases such as “lick of sense,” “bought more yarn than you can shake a stick at,” “like cow doodie over the vegetable garden,” “happier than two pigs in slop,” and “put on the dog” may not be considered proper English but they are true Southern slang. Children who are in the recommended age range will still easily relate to some of April’s difficulties with a new school, problems with cliques, new baby, and dealing with her older sister. I think anyone who was raised in the South will easily relate to April Grace. Anyone who wasn’t should enjoy getting a glimpse of what it was like to grow up in the South.

This book is recommended for ages 9-12, but I think it is a good read for anyone 9 and above.

(A copy was provided by the publisher for review. I was not required to post a positive review.)

Always glad to find appropriate books for tweens/young teens


Who wouldn’t want to read a book with such an intriguing title Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace? This is book 2 in a series by KD McCrite but I didn’t feel background information was missing having not read the first book. April Grace is a middle school girl living in Arkansas in 1986 but it could easily be set today but for a few changes in hairstyles and clothing. April is dealing with the usual things like friends turned snooty, a difficult big sister and the annual church Christmas play as well as a pregnant mom and a dating grandma.

I have to admit the first time I picked up this book, I got distracted and was not able to enjoy it. I’m glad I gave the book a second chance as it’s very enjoyable reading and I’m sure most upper elementary and middle school girls will enjoy reading of the antics of April Grace. Pre-teens will be able to relate to her difficulties with her sister, a former friend and having to participate in the church play against her wishes. They will commiserate with her dealing with her pregnant mother and dating grandmother – both embarrassing situations for a tween girl.

Although promoted as Christian fiction, it’s not the in-your-face writing that some authors use as their style. There is of course talk about church and God but not specific beliefs that could turn off some readers. I will be passing this book along to my own middle school daughter for her reading enjoyment.

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks


About the Book: Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks is about a young girl, April Grace, and her life growing up in small town Arkansas during the 1980’s. April’s mom drops a bombshell that there is going to be a new addition to the family, and she then has complications that force her to take it easy. Since her mom can no longer run the church play like she usually does, Isabel St. James, drama queen, is asked to help put on the church play.
My Thoughts: As a high school teacher with some lower functioning students I thought this was a rather enjoyable read. Since it is written for tweeners it was an easy read. I told several of my students who love to read about the book and they went straight out and got it for their Kindles. K.D. McCrite created vivid characters, and a sweet touching story. Most of her characters are called by their first and middle names, such as April Grace, Myra Sue, Melissa Kay….a very southernesque practice. The book is grammatically spot on…..but the language is all southern. Southern idioms, such as “lick of sense, happier than a pig in slop,” abound in the story. Her masterful use of southern slang make this a delightful story. This book is written for readers between the ages of 9-12. Although, anyone raised in the south can relate to this story and those not raised in the south can dream.
About the Author: K.D. McCrite has “been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She’s always loved to read, and books became her best friends. She grew up on an Ozarks dairy farm and that meant that most of her time was taken up by farm work. When she wasn’t taking care of the calves, or mucking out the barn, or helping her dad in the hayfield, she’d tuck a book under one arm and hoist herself into the hayloft, where the scent of the hay was warm and sweet. Or she’d scoot up her favorite tree in the backyard where the breeze swung the branches gently. When she began writing stories, she’d sneak off into the woods, or down to the pond with her notebook and pen and hope her mother didn’t call her to come help cook supper. These days she spend most of her time at the computer spinning tales that she hope will entertain the readers.” April Grace Reilly, the spitfire heroine of the “Confessions of April Grace” series, shares a lot of things with her, from their love of books to their red hair. But, April Grace sticks her foot in her mouth a lot more than McCrite ever did. And she has a lot more adventures.”
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze blogging review program . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Fun and entertaining

By showmegirl

What a great story! This book was absolutely adorable. April Grace kept me entertained with her funny comments and antics. The story grabs hold from the very start and will keep you smiling right up to the last page.

April Grace is in a pickle. Part of the youngest class in the junior high and being on the outside of the “Lotties” group is making her crazy. Not only does she think it is ridiculous but also makes her question where she is supposed to fit in. At home, she is surrounded by drama from both her Aunt and her older sister while she worries about her Mother’s seemingly declining health. Add in a dose of fun-lovin’ Grandma, southern slang and mix it all together for this witty and charming book.

Supported by a cast of well-developed characters and believable situations, Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks is a splendid story that had me laughing out loud on several occasions? Having a daughter of my own in junior high; I had to laugh at some of the common personality traits that she and April Grace share. This was my first time reading this author and I would definitely love to read more about the confessions of April Grace. It well deserves its 4 stars!

Highly recommended.

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks – Mom approved!

By Momreviews

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace by K.D. McCrite is a masterful following of the stream of consciousness of a young girl in middle school through the unique challenges faced by her family. Living in a primarily Christian town in rural America, the community befriends a couple who recently moved into the area. This couple is portrayed as decidedly non-Christian. The wife (Isabel), in particular, is portrayed as self-absorbed. Although the family of April Grace allows the couple to move into their home, Isabel has an attitude of wanting to be served. The lack of gratefulness and the sense of entitlement she exhibits is in sharp contrast to that of the community where she has found herself. McCrite shares April Grace’s opinions of this woman with such childlike emotion that, if it weren’t for the skill of writing, I would believe a tween girl actually wrote this book. The sharp contrast of the attitudes of the world versus the attitudes that we are supposed to have a Christians is startling raw, but the message is well made. I found myself examining my own attitudes as I read this book. In the end of the book, the couple finds themselves becoming a part of the community. The reader sees Isabel becoming more malleable as she finds that she can play an important part in the community and as she realizes how much the community has done for her. The reader sees changes take place in Isabel, that although an acceptance of Christ is not indicated, a change of her heart condition has taken place. This book illustrates an excellent example of how Christians should be the “salt” and “light” to those with which we come into contact. I would recommend this book to tween readers with the caveat that, although not detailed, subjects such as pregnancy and issues surrounding pregnancy are discussed
As I read this book I kept in mind the audience for which is was written and I wondered why there are so few book of this caliber available for the tween set. The issues surrounding pregnancy in the book involve a married couple and are very focused on April Grace’s concern for her mother’s health and her fear that her mother could die. April Grace’s mother experiences fatigue, paleness, and nausea, but because April Grace has not been told of her mother’s condition in the beginning, the writing revolves around her fears that something is very wrong. Sometime after April Grace is told that she is going to be a big sister, her mother is diagnosed with preeclampsia and requires bed rest. The artful way this is handled should not present a problem for most tween girls. Girls who have younger siblings can probably relate to April Grace’s fears during her mother’s pregnancy. The author handles this issue by showing how April Grace’s mother retains the heart of a servant even though she needs to be served. It is a fine portrayal of humility that is inspired by reality. In every issue that April Grace encounters, the reader sees that emotion is not wrong, but that our responses, our decisions, are crucial.

I am allowing my own 11 year old daughter to read this book. She read up to chapter 7 in one sitting and was so involved in the book that I had difficulty getting her to put it down. I intend to add this book to her reading library as well. If you are looking for a fiction for your tween daughter that deals with real life issues such as relationships and attitudes and shows the response that Christians should have, this is the book.

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks by KD McCrite

By Deyna

The book Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks by KD McCrite starts off by introducing us to April Grace Reilly, an eleven year old girl from the Arkansas countryside. She is presented with many new experiences: she starts middle school for the first time, her Mama is not feeling well, and she has to deal with good-for-nothing Isabel St. James and her husband Ian, who happen to be living with the Reillys at the moment. The book tells the story of how April Grace copes with the new things life throws at her, all the while learning that trusting God is the best thing to do in a new situation.

I really enjoyed this book. It kept me laughing throughout with the hilarious narrative of April Grace and the funny antics of the middle school girl and her sister. I was very pleased with how McCrite developed the characters over the course of the book, and the lessons they learn will stick with everyone. The characters were well planned, with the perfect traits for what the author was trying to do with the story. The plot sped along at a good speed, and it didn’t take me long to finish. Overall, I was very pleased with the book, and I think it would appeal to an audience of all ages, but particularly to the tween age, for whom it seems the story was aimed. It shows the presence of God without being overwhelmingly religious. I recommend anyone should get a copy of the book and read it over the weekend.

Also, thanks to BookSneeze for providing me with a free copy in return for this review.

Multi-Age Appeal

By JudyAnn Lorenz

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks is an easy read. The book is well prepared without typos and consistent in content.

Because of the scenarios where there are young people in social conflict, the message rings clear for the insecure at that age. The characters feel pain and overcome their personal discomfort that make them do and say things that they ordinarily wouldn’t. Times that kids can learn to laugh about and realize these days of feeling like your skin doesn’t fit aren’t all there is. They learn that kids have more strength than they expect and they can have honor and loyalty as well as value family. They can be tolerant of differences.

The book has appeal to the parents of kids who are almost at that ‘tight skin’ age so they can learn how to listen to their kids and keep balance through all the growing pains.

The book has appeal to grownups who remember the eighties and remember what it was like to be young. For that group, the real hilarity sets in.

I found tender teary moments in the book — you just get caring about the people in the story.

A young girl’s perspective on life

By J:-)mi

This is second in the Confessions of April Grace series. It’s a story about a young girl and her opinions about life, told from her perspective. She seeks to follow God and be the kind of person she knows He wants her to be, but has a tendency to let her own fears or opinions get in the way. There isn’t much spiritual content, mostly just April’s opinions on life. There is definitely religious content though. April’s family attends Church and is very involved there. And the Church reaches out and shows kindness to a couple who has been staying with April’s family.
Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Love it

By Tami J Chiapuzio

a very good humorous book! Can’t wait for the next adventures.

Funny and Sweet

By myrtille

I just LOVED the teenager, April Grace.
Her voice is so unique, quirky and funny and sarcastic and surprising. I laughed out loud while reading this book more than five times, which is extremely rare for me, except when I’m reading Georgette Heyer (but that’s another thing altogether).
I loved to see her struggle and see her grow, I loved her disarming honesty to herself (and the reader) and I loved what she learned about family and relationships with God.
I didn’t care about how her mother was portrayed, it left me feeling cold and I am sure that was not the intent of the author, and also I tought there were many things going exceptionally wrong with the church and everyone’s conceptions of God and what is right in His eyes. I would not recommend this book if that’s what you are interested in reading about, because it is a very minor if at all part of the whole thing.
Otherwise, it was a sweet and funny coming-of-age story, and only if the ‘church’ element was missing, it would make a wonderful young adult or middle grade novel.


I Love this Kid!

By Suzanne M. Waltner

April Grace Reilly is a spitfire. She is funny, speaks her mind, has strong opinions and loves her family fiercely. If the great name of this book, Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks: Confessions of April Grace, isn’t enough to grab your attention, then this red-headed girl from Arkansas is sure to draw you in.

In the second book of the Confessions of April Grace series, April Grace finds herself starting Jr. High school and seeing changes in her friends that she does not like. On top of this, she is also dealing with her mom not feeling well due to the new baby on its way and having to help the snooty Isabel St James put on the church Christmas play.

If you are looking for good, clean, funny, engaging books for girls from the fourth grade to the eight grade, I highly recommend the April Grace series written by K. D. McCrite. When I first looked at the book I thought to myself that it seemed pretty long for that age group but McCrite does a wonderful job of weaving an engaging story that has you rooting for April Grace.

Good pre-teen reading…

By Jennifer J

Categorized as a children’s book, this story truly belongs to middle school girls. It follows young April Grace Reilly through the many of adventures of being a pre-teen girl; from cliques at school and an annoying older sister, to worrying about her momma and trying to help a family friend put a Christmas pageant together.

Although I believe the first few chapters were difficult to get into, I very much enjoyed the rest of the book. This is probably due to the fact that this is book two of the series. Those who have read book one will probably have a much smoother time transitioning into book two. The character of April Grace was quite entertaining and engaging. She is more of a leader instead of a follower, and I often found her take on things quite amusing. The author shows a family that is very giving and loving, whose faith in God is ever present. The rural setting of the story also played a large part in my enjoyment as I can somewhat relate. All in all, I believe girls of middle school age would greatly enjoy this book and following the confessions of April Grace.

I love love love April Grace!

By dSavannah George-JonesVINE VOICE

I absolutely adore April Grace, and this is a nice follow-up to her first In Front of God and Everybody (The Confessions of April Grace). April has grown up a little – she’s more patient and understanding, and she’s entering junior high (6th grade) in the fall of 1986 – but then things conspire to bewilder her all over again, and of course teach her more lessons.

First, one of her close friends, Lottie, starts a clique at school and is down-right mean to April and her classmates. Then, her mama starts acting sick and peculiar, worrying April to no end. And, to top it all off, the snooty St. James couple (Isabel having improved since the last book) are still living with them while their house renovations are completed. To add to the mayhem, April’s grandma is in a love triangle – with truly hilarious results! Throw in a Christmas play directed by Isabel, an unexpected arrival, and April’s best friend, Melissa… and you’ve got a wonderful, well-rounded story.

A note about the writing: the author is a wonderful, descriptive writer. She has the perfect balance of description and dialogue, and wonderful character development. You can ‘see’ April Grace and the farm and the school and her house and the family, and the descriptions don’t bop you over the head. I love the language and turns of phrase; for instance, near the end, April Grace is praying for her mama, and says “that prayer just kept running through my mind like a long ribbon sewn together at the ends.” Lovely!

A note about the faith: another reviewer said they didn’t get a strong Christian message – I disagree. Again, the author doesn’t bop you over the head with faith and Christianity – it is shown in the everyday actions of the characters, who are kind, giving, and lead by example. This one actually has a more overt Christian message than the first book, with lots more prayers and messages of faith.

Some books just make you feel good, and this is one of them. Highly highly recommended, and you don’t have to be a tween to like it!

Great for young adults…

By Shondra

Geared toward young adults (classified as Juvenile Fiction/Religious/Christian/Humorous), I wasn’t sure what type of a read this would be for me, but I decided to review it none the less!

While the beginning was a slow start for me, I did manage my way through after taking breaks to read more age appropriate material for myself! April Grace is a young lady in 6th grade, so at times it was a tad hard to relate to her, after all, my middle school days are long past!

The author does a great job of writing through the eyes of April, and if I were a young adult, this would be a book I would enjoy reading! So if you are looking for a Christmas gift for your teen girl, make sure to add this item to your cart!

I am going to give this book two different ratings:

3 stars for the adult reader, and 4 stars for the juvenile reader (ranking it 4 stars overall since it is a juvenile book)

Liked it

By Brenda Casto on December 4, 2011

This book takes place during the fall of 1986. April Grace Reilly is eleven and just starting sixth grade at Cedar Ridge Junior High. She had been looking forward to junior high for quite a while and thought her first day would be a memorable experience but boy was she wrong! Turns out there is a new clique in school and April Grace is being excluded, thing is the leader is or was a friend of hers. Not only that her mother is sick and when April Grace learns what’s wrong with her mother things are going to change dramatically. Add to the fact that their new neighbors are remodeling their house and are staying with the Reilly’s temporary only adds to the many things going on in April Grace’s life.
Once I started reading this book I realized that it was actually the second book in a series but actually it didn’t matter because there was enough background information to keep me from feeling lost. Geared toward tween girls this is a quick read about the ups and downs of growing up as we follow April Grace thru several months of her sixth grade year. I really enjoyed seeing things thru the eyes of April Grace, she seemed like such a grounded person, she was easy to connect with and was often very funny. I loved the country feel of the book and some of the references to things in the eighties really took me back in time, but these references also made the book feel a bit outdated as well. Overall a middle of the road read for me, while I liked it I just didn’t love it.

Sweet book..

By NFMommyRN

April Grace is a sixth grader living in the rural South in the mid-eighties. She is just starting junior high. One of her best friends has started a clique that excludes just about everyone – including her. Her sister is being a snot most of the time. Her mom isn’t feeling well and it turns out that she is expecting a baby! So many changes so quickly for the heroine of the story! April Grace tells us her story in first person.

I actually liked (but not loved) the book. Of course, my only liking it is probably due to the fact I am in my 30s and not a tween, which is this book’s intended audience. Still, I gave it 5 stars as I am sure I would have LOVED the book at that age level.

April Grace is mild mannered and sweet. She does not react overly to all the changes in her life. That is not to say she does not whine, or feel sorry for herself. It is evident that she does at times. However, that is a normal response to what she is going through. Still, she lets her Christianity shine through. (For instance, she is never mean to anyone but will stick up for people. She does not return the mean actions of her former friend, but chooses to try and be nice to her anyway or when she cannot bear to do that, she just walks away.) She is a good example for girls. My own girls are young for this book right now (ages 7 and 2), but it is a book I would let them read (or read to them) in the future.

One thing I enjoyed about the book was the setting. I did not grow up in the Ozarks, but I did grow up in the rural South. I would have been 10 when the story takes place, so only a grade or so behind April Grace. I remember trapper keepers, shoulder pads, the Reagan Administration, and so many other things the book mentions. I also LOVED the use of Southern slang in the book such as “Good Gravy”. I remember hearing people say things like that. It was a nice trip back to the past.

I was given an e-book copy of this book for free in exchange for this honest review.

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks

By Monica on November 24, 2011

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks is the second book in the “Confessions of April Grace” series by KD McCrite. This time, readers join April Grace as she starts middle school and prepares for a big change in her family.

April Grace is as funny as ever, and there were frequently points in the story where I laughed out loud. I thought that April Grace seemed older than 11 in the first book, but I don’t know that I think that in this book. There were spots when I did, but also quite a few instances where she seemed very much 11-years old.

Middle school proves to be a confusing adventure for April Grace as she deals with cliques for the first time, struggles with Algebra and wonders why all the girls are fussing over their hair, their outfits and boys. April Grace still considers boys nothing but a nuisance, so it will be interesting to see if her opinions start to change in book 3.

There is also a big change coming to the Reilly household. April Grace and Myra Sue know something is wrong with their mother, but are shocked to learn that a new baby will be joining the family. I really liked this subplot in the book, as April Grace slowly begins to accept this change. I thought her feelings were very real and very age appropriate.

With her mother on near bed rest, direction of the annual Christmas pageant falls to Isabel St. James. Isabel is making improvements in her behavior, but still frequently lapses into spoiled, cranky fits. She surprises everyone, most of all herself, when she realizes that she can command the attention and respect of a group of middle schoolers who would rather be almost anywhere else.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read. I think it would be appropriate for almost any age group. It’s geared toward Tweens, but I enjoyed it as a light read as an adult.

Note: I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks

By Jettie

April Grace Reilly and her family live in Northwestern Arkansas, on aptly named Rough Creek Road.
New neighbors from California bought the house just down the road, which needed lots of work to be livable, so her parents ask them to stay with them, until the house is fixed.
The first day of school, the new neighbor, Isabel has an accident on the rough road, which means that they’ll be living with them even longer.
Soon April’s mother becomes ill, and scares her to distraction, she is afraid her mother is dying. And Lily, April’s mother, won’t be able to direct the Christmas play at their church. Isabel is recruited to direct the play.

Even though this book is directed toward young teens, I found it very interesting, and it kept my attention all the way through. It has a great message about tolerance and acceptance. When I first started reading, being from the northern part of Arkansas, I have to say I was a little disconcerted to find that the book was set in Arkansas, and was afraid it would portray us as ‘Hicks’, but it does not, and for that I am very glad.

I received this book to read and review, from Booksneeze. No other compensation was received. I am not required to give a positive review, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Cliques, Hicks and Ugly Sticks

By My Favorite Pastime

Eleven-year-old April Grace Reilly is starting Jr. High. She thinks that all will be the same. She is mistaken. One of her best friends is now the leader of a Clique of girls and won’t even speak to April Grace.

At home April Grace notices that her mother is not looking the same. She instantly starts worrying about her. But all of the adults in her life tell her that there is nothing to worry about.

Circumstances prevent April Grace’s mother from directing the church pageant this year. So April Grace recommends Isabel to be the director. Isabel is not a church member and she also has a demanding spirit about her that concerns the pastor. But April Grace and her sister volunteer to help Isabel direct so that she won’t go too overboard.

The story is being told by April Grace who happens to be a hoot! I love the way April Grace just tells it like it is. She is outspoken as only an 11 year old can be. Yet her character has a love for family and friends and a diplomacy about her that seems mature beyond her years. I really enjoyed this story.

April Grace

By Jodi

I received a complimentary copy of Cliques, Hicks, and Ugly Sticks Confessions of April Grace by KD McCrite through the Thomas Nelson Publishing Booksneeze blogger program in exchange for a review. I am not required to provide a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

I feel like a dork admitting it, but I tend to enjoy teen and preteen fiction. There, I said it. I like that the stories are easy to read, and usually quick reads that I can complete in a day or two even with a busy schedule. Sometimes I just don’t want a heavy storyline. I thought that this would be one of those quick, cute books, but I was wrong. I was a little confused that it was set in the ’80s, as most kids reading it wouldn’t understand any of the ’80s references. Many of the characters went by their first and middle names~maybe that’s more common in Arkansas, where the story is set, but I don’t know anyone that does that personally. The flow of the story was a little slow moving, but it certainly wasn’t a bad story by any stretch of the imagination. All in all, I give it three stars. Take it or leave it.