Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Winter White by Jen Calonita

Thursday, September 27, 2012 with 5 comments
Add to Goodreads
Title:  Winter White
Author:  Jen Calonita
Series:  Belles #2
Publisher:  Poppy
Publication Date:  October 9, 2012
Source:  Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tours
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Isabelle Scott and Mirabelle Monroe are still reeling from the revelation that they share more than just the roof over their heads. The media has pounced on their story and the girls are caught up in a flurry of talk-show appearances and newspaper interviews. They've put on a happy public face, but someone is leaking their true feelings to the press, and while it seems like the world is watching their every move, at least they have each other.

But with cotillion season right around the corner, Izzie and Mira have barely had time to process their newfound sisterhood. Mira has dreamed of making her debut in a gorgeous white gown forever-now, if only she could find an escort. Izzie, meanwhile, is still struggling to find her place in Emerald Cove and it's seeming ever more impossible with EC mean-girls, young and old, doing their best to keep her down. As cotillion preparations heat up, though, there are dance steps to learn, manners to perfect... and secret initiations to complete? As if sophomore year wasn't hard enough!

It's time for the gowns to go on and the gloves to come off.

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!

Rating:  Photobucket


  1. I agree it's tough when the novel takes place where you live, or somewhere that you know very well, and you feel like things just aren't right. I've never read a book that took place in Connecticut, though I have one coming up on my TBR list that I'm very excited to read mainly because of that!! But I have read many that take place in NY... and since it's so close and I've been there so many times, I feel like it's as close to "home" as I will get in a book. And when things don't seem right, but rather are just sterotypical, that bothers me as well.

    Great review! That's too bad that you didn't love it more.

    BTW - Thanks for the advice... I did join and downloaded my first audiobook last night! I'm looking forward to giving "listening" a try! :)

    1. Awesome! I can't wait to see what you think. Which audiobook did you get?

      Yeah, I don't think I've EVER read a book set in Connecticut. But in one of my recent reads -- can't remember which one -- one of the characters was from Connecticut or pretending to be, anyway, and another character is like, "Who's from Connecticut? No one is ever from Connecticut." It made me laugh because it does seem so rare. :P

    2. My first audiobook... City of Bones. :)

      Yeah, we're definitely considered in the "boonies" in CT! ;)

    3. Oh, awesome! I haven't listened to any of TMI on audio, but I've listened to TID, and they are awesome...Ed Westwick as the voice of Will Herondale...YUMMY! :D can't be any more in the boonies than I am. I'm about 45 minutes outside of Dallas, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a more rural setting. 8-)

  2. Haven't read this series -- sorry that it wasn't for you.
    But thanks so much for linking up your review ;)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...