A Little Bit Country (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

From debut author Brian D Kennedy, A Little Bit Country not only gives us a sweet-as-can-be love story that will rival any ballad on the radio but also a much-needed look into what it means to love country. The book is set in Wanda World, a country music theme park owned by one of the biggest superstars in the industry. Emmett, an openly gay country singer is working there for the summer in the hopes that he will leave with a record deal. Luke, who comes from a struggling home with bad ties to country music, is only there for the paycheck. When the two meet, sparks will fly, and unexpected family secrets will come out of the closet. The characters are well written - they care for and accept the other even when they are unable to relate and struggle to make good decisions despite the tough situations they are put in. With an ending that left me elated and wondering how I didn't see that coming, I couldn't put this book down. To all those who are gay and love country music, an industry that doesn't always love you back for that, A Little Bit Country gives a nice sense of hope for the future.

— Margaret Kennedy


Dumplin' meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this heartfelt and funny contemporary romance inspired by Dollywood, about two boys who fall in love against the backdrop of a country music-themed amusement park, from debut author Brian D. Kennedy. Perfect for fans of Erin Hahn, Phil Stamper, and David Levithan.

Emmett Maguire wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar—a far reach when you’re seventeen and living in Illinois. But for now, he’s happy to do the next best thing: Stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, for the summer and perform at the amusement park owned by his idol, country legend Wanda Jean Stubbs.

Luke Barnes hates country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, Luke knows how much pain country music has brought his family. But when his mom’s medical bills start piling up, he takes a job at the last place he wants: a restaurant at Wanda World.

Neither boy is looking for romance, but sparks fly when they meet—and soon they’re inseparable. Until a long-lost secret about Verna and Wanda comes to light, threatening to unravel everything.

Will Emmett and Luke be able get past the truths they discover…or will their relationship go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song? 

About the Author

Brian D. Kennedy was born and raised in Minnesota and now lives in New York City with his husband and their miniature Schnauzer. When not writing, he can be found working at an LGBTQ nonprofit. His slightly unhealthy obsessions include: seeing as many Broadway shows as possible, buying weird trinkets off eBay, and all things Dolly Parton. Brian is the author of the YA novels A Little Bit Country and My Fair Brady. You can visit Brian online at briandkennedybooks.com.

Praise For…

"Emmett and Luke's love story is pure joy in book form. Absolutely stunning!" — Mason Deaver, award-winning author of I Wish You All the Best and The Ghosts We Keep

“Equal parts emotional, earnest, and entertaining, A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY made my heart sing from the very first line. Emmett and Luke’s joyful, tender story left me swooning, while Kennedy’s lyrical writing captured the beauty and humor perfectly on every page. This impressive debut should be moved to the top of everyone’s TBR immediately!" — Jennifer Dugan, author of Hot Dog Girl and Some Girls Do

“I devoured this heartfelt and honest LGBT+ romance in a single sitting, unable to tear myself away from Luke and Emmett’s story. With sweet original lyrics, a heaping serving of comfort food, and the heart-stopping aches and flutterings of first love, A Little Bit Country is a glittering love song of a debut.” — Erin Hahn, author of You’d Be Mine and Never Saw You Coming

“Sweetly romantic and completely charming, A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY is a heartfelt celebration of finding out who you are and doing it on purpose. Just as Emmett and Luke fall for each other, you’ll fall head-over-heels in love with Brian D. Kennedy’s fresh, funny new voice. This is a stunning debut, and it shines from start to finish." — Katie Henry, author of This Will Be Funny Someday

"Like the best country songs, Brian D. Kennedy hits every emotional note! I found myself remembering the first time I fell in love, the anxieties of when and how to come out, my hopes for the future that I could be out and proud and thriving in the career field I was most passionate about. I immediately wanted to hit repeat like with my favorite music. I'll be singing the praises of A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY everywhere I go!" — Jason June, author of Jay's Gay Agenda and Out of the Blue

"Kennedy’s dual first-person perspectives earnestly showcase Emmett’s irrepressible passion for his dreams and Luke’s courage in the face of vulnerability, making for a light and hopeful debut." — Publishers Weekly

"Fans of Jennifer Dugan will devour this ode to music, summer love, and being true to your own desires." — Booklist

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063085657
ISBN-10: 0063085658
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: June 7th, 2022
Pages: 352
Language: English