Review: Belles

Belles (Belles #1) by Jen Calonita
Release Date ~ April 10, 2012
Poppy ~ Hachette Book Group
ISBN13: 9780316091138
ARC received from HBG Canada for review
Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

  1. 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 :)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Belles is a very quick, easy read. It's enjoyable and it's fun, but it's also lacking in one large area, which is complexity. I was actually surprised that Belles charmed me so much, because normally I don't enjoy books that feature fairly one-dimensional characters, but it wasn't that much of a problem for me in Belles. And when I found out that there would be more books coming out soon to accompany Belles and continue the story- well I was just THRILLED because I think we'll really get to know more about some of these secondary characters in Belles. I'd really love to find out more about Savannah's motivations, and even Mira and her family as well.
Because of this, I have high hopes for the sequel and think I'll enjoy it even more than Belles. Fingers crossed!
Purchase Links

United States

10% Discount / APMA12 Coupon Code / Book Depository


Christina Kit. said...

I love contemp and with a cover like that, it really pulls you in.

I love that Izzie is such a strong character. It's good to see how characters grow when they're already strong.

Thanks for the review!

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

franchie15 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
franchie15 said...

I like this book! The cover is beautiful and the story is interesting for me. I'm gonna love Izzie. I love heroines like that! Nice review. :)


Angkarina said...

The story indeed doesn't sound very complex, it reminds me of several other teen chick-flick books. So I think I'll skip this one too.
I would have loved the cover if it was covered in that peachypink pattern, I don't understand why they added (half) a girl's face.
Thanks for the review!

angkarina_angkasuwan at hotmail dot com

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

wow, sounds like the heroine is awesome!

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