Release Date ~ April 10, 2012
Poppy ~ Hachette Book Group
ARC received from HBG Canada for review
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.
I picked up Belles when I was needing a fresh, fun contemporary read and it easily exceeded my expectations in this area! It's a surprisingly tender and stirring book, one that features a vibrant cast of characters and introduces its readers to a fun, new contemporary series that will leave you eager for the next book, Winter White.
- Charming characters:
Izzie quickly grew on me as a character, even though I was worried at first that she would be needy and whiny. Boy, was I ever wrong about her! Izzie is a survivor, one who refuses to let even the worst situations completely bring her down. She acts the way any other teenage girl would in her position, and that's one difficult position to be in. I loved her for that, and especially watching her grow and adapt to her new life. Mira, on the other hand, took a bit longer for me to get used to. Even though she was rather dense and unsympathetic most of the time, there was still something endearing about her and I think we'll see more maturity from her in the next books :)
- A beautiful story:
I expected Belles to be a lighter, more fun kind of read; and it definitely had its moments. But the story itself is so involved and very intense; there's a real meaning behind all of it, and a lot of painful history and tragedy in the characters' lives. It's truly touching, and adds a good amount of dimension to the story.
- A brave, remarkable heroine(s):
My favourite thing about Izzie is that she refuses to back down and give up. She is constantly fighting for what she feels is right and I really admire that about her. Even at risk to herself and her own situation, she's constantly thinking of others first and it's this kindness and bravery to stand out and alone that makes her such a memorable character. Also, I have to take a minute to praise Mira's mom for her willingness to "adopt" Izzie so openly into their family. She is such a wonderful, generous woman to have and I loved featuring her as a character in Belles.
Because of this, I have high hopes for the sequel and think I'll enjoy it even more than Belles. Fingers crossed!