Monday, January 7, 2013

Review: Belles by Jen Calonita

Belles by Jen Calonita
Series: Belles, Book #1
Published: April 10th, 2012
Publisher: Poppy
356 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From the library
Warning: May contain spoilers
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Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she's ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn't go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn't thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates' Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls' lives forever.

Belles is a rags-to-riches type story about Isabelle (or Izzy), a poor girl who suddenly finds herself living the high life with long-lost relatives she never knew, including her cousin of the same age, Mirabelle (or Mira).

While there was nothing necessarily wrong with Belles, it just didn’t do much for me. I found it to be really predictable from start to finish, and the story, while it had its moments, never really grabbed me and held on.

I appreciated that the story, while seemingly hard to relate to on the surface - I mean, how many of us all of a sudden find out we have rich relatives and go to live with them? - dealt with some real issues like bullying, prejudice, and the importance of family.

I didn’t think I was really connecting with either Izzy or Mira until about half- to three-quarters of the way through when the nasty antics of other people really started to make my blood boil and made me hope the girls got the upper hand in the end. I particularly enjoyed the progression of Mira’s character and thought it was the most realistic. Big changes in her life forced her to look at her life and her attitude and her friends, and made her realize she wasn’t happy with the way things were. I spent a lot of time wishing she’d grow a backbone, while at the same time sympathizing with her because it’s not always easy to stand up to people. She learned a lot about herself and about life, and had the most character growth, in my opinion.

Belles is a story about family, friendship, overcoming adversity, and learning to stand up for yourself and for what’s right. I would recommend it for younger readers, or fans of younger YA who enjoy stories mostly set around high school antics. 

Have you read Belles? What did you think?

1 comment:

  1. Slow moving, predictable books are driving me crazy lately. I think I'll pass on this one.


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