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Short Description for Belles Fifteen-year-old Isabelle loves her impoverished North Carolina beach community, but when her grandmother must enter a nursing home, Izzie is placed with distant relatives she never knew--a state senator and his preppy wife and children.
- Published: 10 April 2012
- Format: Hardback 352 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780316091138 ISBN 10: 0316091138
- Sales rank: 416,408
Reviews for Belles
Review from Esther's Ever After
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.
Reasonst to Read:
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!
ARC received from Hachette Book Group Canada for review. by Brenna Staatsunder review
Gossip Girl Meets Mean Girl, Only Better!
I think it's a universal truth that 99.9% of all kids have a fantasy: One day they will be whisked away from their drab, parent-addled life into a world filled with clothes, money, new cars...you get the idea. Back when I was a kid, I hoped my "real parents" were a king and queen. These days, I think kids will settle for unlimited texting and a bottomless iTunes account.
But not Isabelle "Izzy" Scott. She's happy with her life on the wrong side of the tracks. She doesn't even mind the run down home she lives in, or the fact that her only family after her mother's death is her increasingly forgetful grandmother. She has her friends, including the adorable yet mysterious Brayden, her school, her beach. This life is her's and she wouldn't trade it for anything.
So when her grandmother, in a lucid state, has her sent to previously unknown family, Izzy's world is shattered. Who wants the glam life where people treat you like a charity case, act like your a criminal because of your upbringing, or act like you don't deserve to be there? Where your perfect new "cousin" is one of the mean girls trying to bring you down? And what will Izzy do when she finds a face from her old life and learns long-hidden truths about her background.
There was so much that I adored about BELLES.. I love the premise of a girl being offered the good life, and seeing how she responds. Izzy was determined, yet vulnerable. It would be so easy to slip like a warm glove into the new world she's offered. I mean, who doesn't want the best money can offer? But she is determined to remain the same girl she was before.
BELLES is also told from Izzy's new cousin, Mira's, point of view. The alternating points of view really helped keep me from completely hating Mira. Without knowing what she's actually feeling, she could have become a heartless, spineless brat. It was nice to see her vulnerabilites, even though I was never on her "side".
There are some nice dramatic bits to the story, usually courtesy of the Mean Girls, lead by the awful Savannah. This girl was a pill, without becoming a caricature. If I could have climbed into the story and throttle her myself, I would have. Thank goodness I never had to face girls like this back in school. I would have been in the principal's office, or at the police station, on a regular basis.
Another dramatic turn comes fairly soon after Izzy moves. In the interest of not spoiling the story, my lips are sealed. But it was a nice surprise I didn't see coming at all. It upped the "WTF Factor" in Izzy's world and totally made me love this story so, so much.
My only small complaint would be that the BIG revelation came too late in the story. This was something I figured out pretty quickly and waited the entire book for the bomb to drop. I would have liked to have seen more of the fallout, but with book two coming this Fall, I don't have to wait long to find out what happens next.
All in all, I really, really enjoyed this book. Author Jen Calonita's writing flows flawlessly, making it an easy, fast read. If you're a fan of Contemporary Young Adult with healthy doses of drama and heart, BELLES should be a great fit.
"She'd lived here for her whole life and she had half an hour to put her world in a duffel bag and say goodbye?" (pg. 29) by Andrea Thompson