Friday, July 20, 2012

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Title:  Belles
Author:  Jen Calonita
Narrator:  Julia Whelan
Series:  1st book in the Belles series
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date:  April 3, 2012
Source:  purchased audiobook
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

Okay, I had some reservations about this book, but then I read some great reviews, and I thought, "Why not give it a try?  You've liked every contemporary you've read so far this year..."  And Belles was fun.  It was a nice, light, fluffy read. 

And therein lies the problem for me.  It lacked depth...especially considering the issues that were being dealt with in the book.  But that's not to say that I didn't like it.  This storyline would be perfect for the CW...or a soap opera, but those are kind of one and the same.  Just when there's a lull in the story and things seem to be working themselves out -- BAM -- life throws another curveball at our belles.  It made for an entertaining story, but even so, it was terribly predictable.  Before I was even a third of the way through the book, I pretty much had the whole plot figured out.

The characters were terribly one dimensional and stereotypical, from the jocks on the football team to the cliquish best friends.  Even the unpopular kids -- the ones Izzy will inevitably befriend because of her less than stellar social status -- are as expected, scholarship kids who will never fit in with Mira and her "mean girl" friends.  Izzy and Mira do go through a metamorphosis of their own, but sadly, it was a product of circumstance, not actual character growth. 

But I'm hoping the character growth will come with the revelations at the end of Belles, and so, even though this isn't my favorite contemporary novel this year, I still enjoyed it enough to pick up Winter White when it's released in October.  This rags-to-riches story is full of promise and heartache and I can see why so many people have loved this book.  It just wasn't quite the book I was hoping for.  However, I will say that the narrator was perfect for this novel...her twang was dead-on, and I felt like I really was listening to some Southern Belles throwing hissy fits.  :)

Rating:  Photobucket


  1. I'm sorry this one wasn't a hit for you, Jen. I did love Belles, but I do sometimes enjoy a book that doesn't make me think too hard. And I'll say that I wasn't surprised at all w/the big revelation. But I did read the arc and I think the original blurb on the back cover practically spilled it.

    Anywayyyy...I'm glad you liked it enough to give Winter White a try. I can't wait to read it.

    Great review!

  2. I'm going to borrow this from Andrea. Looking forward to reading it. I'm almost more excited now, because you and Andrea had different feelings about it. :) Nice review!

  3. I kind of had the same feelings that you did about this book. I am going to read Winter White because I Thought the basis for the story had potential.

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  4. i know you didn't particularly LOVE this book, but you still got me interested. Adding it to the wishlist =D


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