Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Review: Belles by Jen Calonita
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.
Oooo la la! I loved this book! I'm not usually into books that explore the world of high fashion and privileged living, but this one was fabulous. The story focuses in on two girls from very opposite worlds. Izzie grew up impoverished and taking care of her grandmother. Mira comes from the elite 1% that we all hear about but never meet. Izzie is suddenly plucked from her beloved beach town and tossed to the stuck up sharks Mira swims with. Both girls have to learn to navigate the uncharted waters they find themselves swimming in.
It was full of deceit, secrets, and self-discovery. While I'm not entirely certain that teenage squabbles could have drastic effects on politics and land development, I felt like Jen Calonita captured the experience of growing up a teen girl in the modern world. She portrayed the uncertainty, peer pressure and social food chain with accuracy. The methods the girls used to humiliate and back-stab each other are both entertaining and horrifying at the same time. Some parts may be a little over the top compared to the real world, but I've never spent much time with the ultra-privileged, so I wouldn't really know.
Other than a couple of very minor curse words, the book was completely clean. The romance was minimal and took a backseat to the main focus of the relationship between the two girls. Each girl follows their own fire ringed path to self-discovery and come out as a better person in the end.
If you are looking for a refreshing and entertaining read, you will enjoy this book. This is the first book in a series of stories about the two "belles". I will definitely be reading the next ones.
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Poppy; 1 edition (April 10, 2012)
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