Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Belles by Jen Calonita

Belles by Jen Calonita 
Goodreads Summary:
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.

My Review: 
This was a book I really wanted tor read- I've been bugging my library to order it for months. So, was the wait worth it? I guess, overall, yes. If that seems like I'm qualifying my answer, that's because I am. This is a very uneven book. One in which the good is greater than the bad. But, there's quite a lot of bad. For starters, the "secret" that's mentioned in the book summary. The answer to the "secret" is dragged out until the end of the book- even though it will be obvious to everyone what the secret is from the very beginning of the book. And they mention the "secret" a few times, then it's basically forgotten about until the big reveal. The plot? The plot that's there- Izzie (Isabelle) trying to fit in at her new, snobby private school- is kind of clichéd- like someone watched "Mean Girls" too many times in puberty.
So, what saves this book? Because it was good enough that I plan to continue reading the series. Well, the character of Izzie. That's pretty much it, but sometimes having one character you like makes a whole book. Because you care what happens to them, so you want to find out what happens to them. Yes, I think the author took a lot of shortcuts on creating a sympathetic character- Izzie's mom dies so she lives with her grandma, then her grandma ends up in a home. I mean, this kind of scenario has been done before- repeatedly. However, I still ended up liking Izzie, which saved the book for me.

Overall rating: 3 stars (hope the second book in the series is better)
Genre Rating: 3 school lockers
To me, the ratings make this a borrow from the library type book.

Jen Calonita's Website
Jen Calonita's Twitter
Belles (Belles, #1)


  1. I really want to read this book. It's a shame that it didn't live up to expectations, but I'm glad that it had some redeeming features to keep it going! Thanks for your honest review.

    Steph @ SteppingOutOfThePage.co.uk

    1. I had to put the book aside for a while. (Well, just a few hours.) I had to kind of adjust my attitude because being disappointed by the book bled into my feelings about the book. You know, where you start thinking a book is worse than it "objectively" really is because you're disappointed. Now, if I had bought the book...I don't think I could have overcome the disappointment. But, I love books set in the South and I love family drama type things. I hope the next book in the series is better- I've often found that a weak first book equals a good second book. And that a really good first book sometimes leads to a disappointing second book.


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