Thursday, April 05, 2012

Review: Belles by Jen Calonita

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Jen Calonita
Release date: April 10th, 2012
by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Goodreads / Purchase

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.

*A copy was provided by Hachette Book Group Canada for review purposes*

This was a breath of fresh air for me. Just what I needed to get a nice breather from dark paranormals. Belles gives us a delightful read with loads of personalities and jaw dropping schemes. Imagine living a quiet life in a bad part of town, when you’re suddenly whisked away to live with your senator uncle and his glamorous Gossip Girl lifestyle. That’s what’s happening to Izzie, however, turning into a princess overnight is not as fun as it seems!

Belles is told in an alternating point-of-view between Izzie and her cousin Mira, which is fascinating because these two can’t be any more different. We really get to see – as they say – both sides of the track. On Izzie’s part, as you can guess, we have conniving queen bees who are not very accepting of this “poor” girl. Izzie has, unsurprisingly, a very hard time fitting in and her down-to-earth, don’t take any crap, personality is really easy to connect with. As for Mira, she has been leading this privilege life and just happens to be queen bee’s right hand, so it’s very difficult for her to relate to Mira even the slightest. Mira can seem heartless, even conceited at times, but getting to see her POV makes us actually understand that it’s equally hard for her to suddenly have a new family member. I truly enjoyed both characters: Getting two drastically opposite narratives really makes the story that much more entertaining.

With all the gossip and drama, we obviously have to have some romance. It’s not a big part of the story, but it’s there nonetheless. I loved how it was integrated in the plot lightly, giving it more of a romantic charm. The actual plot has an air of mystery – you know a twist is coming (and it’s a good one!) – but it’s essentially about Izzie having to adjust to this dazzling lifestyle she’s been thrown in while staying true to herself, and dealing with her less-than-charming classmates. If you’re a fan of the popular TV series Gossip Girl or 90210, you will greatly enjoy Jen Calonita’s Belles!

4 Hot Espressos
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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28 Responses to “Review: Belles by Jen Calonita”

  1. Jules

    It does sound good. I also love the super cute cover.

    I know what you mean I sometimes need a break from reading too much paranormal or dystopian books as well.

    Thanks for the recommendation πŸ˜€

  2. Amy

    This book sounds very charming. I need to read a lighter book. I have been reading a lot of darker stuff lately. I’m actually going to be reading Pretty Amy next week. That seems like a good pick me up book.

  3. Maji Bookshelf

    This sounds like such a great book! Me and juhina were pining for it since a long time!! Im really glad you liked it! Even though we arent HUGE fans of GG and 90210, I hope this will be a good read for us as well!


  4. Sam

    Gossip Girl is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, but I am definitely a fan and this sounds like something I might enjoy. I know lots of others have enjoyed this too! Great review, Giselle! I can’t wait to read this. πŸ™‚

  5. Jac

    This is popping up all over the place this week, and now I really REALLY want to read it! I’ve read so much paranormal lately that this could be a good break πŸ™‚

    Izzie sounds like my kind of character πŸ™‚

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  6. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I love Southern books. Even before I moved to South Carolina, I loved the ambiance and style of the Southerners. Southerners are crazy. In a good way, mostly. But crazy. And many are very into status and family (as in “Who are your people” history-type family). This sounds right up my alley!

  7. Lexie

    Lovely review! πŸ˜€ I really want to read this one. I wasn’t certain for a while, but people seem to be big fans of it, so I may have to check it out. I really like the concept, and I LOVE that the romance doesn’t take center-stage. I’d probably pick it up just for that.

  8. Giselle

    Thanks lovelies! It’s definitely a great summer/spring read! πŸ™‚

    @Rachel : No I haven’t read that series I’ll check it out on Goodreads!

  9. Aneeqah

    This book sounds interesting! To be honest, I haven’t heard much about it, but I think I’ll be picking it up! I love very different perspectives in a book, I think it adds so much to the story. Something lighter would also be great for me right now, I feel like I’ve been reading such dark book lately! Great review. =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  10. Rebecca (Kindle Fever)

    I’m very curious about this one after seeing so many good reviews for it. It definitely sounds like an interesting read… o: I’m glad you enjoyed it and I always love a good twist. πŸ˜‰ Great review!

  11. Reve @ YA Books

    Great review! I’ve been keeping an eye out for this one, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m loving the premise, and I like how charming it sounds. I’m looking forward to the release. Thanks for reccing!

  12. Carina

    I’ve been intrigued by BELLES ever since I first read the summary and your review just made me want to get a copy immediately. A lighter contemporary can really be a lovely diversion from too heavy / dark reads.

    Lovely review. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Tabitha

    This book sounds great! I’ve been seeing a lot of it for awhile, but haven’t actually read any reviews. I’m definitely going to be checking this book out! Thanks for the review.