Author: Jen Calonita
Series: Belles #2
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Source: Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tours
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
I was really hoping Winter White would redeem the Belles series for me. But it’s books like these that had me believing for so long that I wouldn’t ever enjoy a contemporary novel. Sure, I now know that isn’t true, that there are some really superb YA contemporary novels to be had. I’ve even reviewed some of them here. But the Belles series simply continues to fall short for me.
First of all, it feels like these books lay on the Southern drawl just a tad too much. I’m from Texas. We have a bit of twang and drawl in our regional dialect, but there are only a few of us who sound anything remotely similar to the characters in these books. I thought that maybe it was a fluke with Belles because I listened to the audio for that novel, but it’s still ever-present in Winter White and therefore not the product of whimsical narration on the audiobook. It was cute at first, but after awhile, it begins to wear on one’s soul.
Also, I understand that these girls lead privileged lives and money is no matter, etc., etc. But all of the brand name-dropping and product shilling is reminiscent of the House of Night series, and it’s just too much. I read the first book in that series and the first chapter of the second book before I called it quits. So, I guess that says something for the Belles books…that even though so much of the story perturbed me, I was able to read till the end of the second novel and not throw the book across the room.
So, on to the actual story. It mostly focuses on the family’s troubles after the revelations at the end of Belles and how it all affects their father’s campaign and vice versa. I think what troubled me the most was the fact that what Bill Monroe did, what information he withheld from the family, he did so at the behest of his imprudent campaign manager and out of his own misguided belief that he was doing the right thing. And yet the girls simply can’t forgive him. He’s been a pretty great father and uncle up to this point, and yet they just can’t let it go, can’t see it from his perspective. Ah, to be an arrogant, selfish teenager again. Well, I guess when I look at it like that, maybe the author did get that particular outlook correct.
I wanted to read Winter White because Belles left me curious at the end. But just like Belles, Winter White was terribly predictable. I had already anticipated the twist and how it would all turn out by the time I was a third of the way into the book. And just like in Belles, just as everything seems to be wrapping up nicely at the end…blammo! There are a couple of curveballs thrown in the last chapter, just enough to make you curious for the next installment.
There’s quite a bit more I could say, most of it of a derogatory nature, but I don’t want to rag on this novel any more than I have since I know plenty of people who enjoy this type of book. Pretty much, this book wasn’t for me, but it might be more your style. Regardless, I contemplated giving this novel only two stars, but the fact that I still kinda want to read more (assuming there is another book -- couldn’t find anything on Goodreads or on the author’s website) of Izzie and Mira’s story forced me to tack on another star. Damn my curiosity!