Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Belles

Author: Jen Calonita
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Pages: 356
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.

LC's Take:

Belles was one of those books that pulled me in and wouldn't let me go until the very last chapter. From the first couple of pages, I was completely sucked into Isabelle Scott's story and the world of Mira Monroe. I seriously could not get enough!

Isabelle "Izzie" Scott is just a down-to-earth kind of girl living in Harborside, a quaint although slightly run-down town full of surfers and pizza joints and not-so-well-off families. She loves to be out in the water, especially if it's with her hunky friend Braydon. But then everything changes-- her grandmother has to go live in a nursing home and Izzie finds out that her only surviving family is a rich uncle and his family who live in Emerald Cove. EC is the complete opposite of Harborside-- the wealthy, privileged families there spend more money on dinner than Izzie makes in a year. Learning how to fit into this new place is anything but easy, especially when Savannah, the Queen Bee of Emerald Prep, decides that Izzie is her most-loathed enemy.

Mira Monroe is Isabelle's cousin and she's been in the lap of luxury her entire life. One of the social elite at Emerald Prep, the only things Mira has to worry about is what expensive designer bag to buy next and where to hold the next fabulous Social Butterfly party. Having Izzie enter her life and live in her house is definitely not easy, but when her best friend Savannah decides to make Izzie's life a living hell, Mira has to decide between sticking up for her cousin or becoming a social outcast too.

The best thing about this book was the characters-- I pretty much loved each and every one of them, because they jumped right off the pages and came to life. I could totally feel Izzie's pain at having to be uprooted from her life in Harborside to go live in a place that doesn't welcome her and where she doesn't feel like she belongs. And I could also relate to Mira, Izzie's rich cousin who does want to do the right thing and help Izzie, but is afraid of losing everything that her society has taught her to care about. Heck, I even loved Savannah as a character-- yes she was downright horrible and I wanted to slap her into next Tuesday for being such a little brat, BUT she was interesting! The dynamics that played out between all the characters just had me dying to read more.

I also really loved the world that Jen created in this book-- it was vibrant, colorful, and I could picture every scene as I was reading it-- the sunny beach at Harborside, the pristine mansions in Emerald Cove, and the over-the-top, totally ridiculous Sweet 16 party that Savannah has-- it was all just so much fun to read and experience! On top of the settings, I really loved that the story was told from both Izzie's and Mira's points of view, alternating between each chapter. This didn't make the story confusing at all, and it allows the reader to get into the heads and see from the perspectives of two very different girls-- I loved that!

The ending was totally unexpected for me, and because I didn't read the summary on the back of my ARC before reading it (hint, hint, if you have the ARC DON'T read the back because it has a huge spoiler in it!) I was completely surprised by the major secret that is revealed. I only wish that the ending itself hadn't seemed quite so rushed, or like there were some strings that still needed to be tied... maybe this means there will be a sequel?! I'm hoping so!

Altogether, Belles was bright, funny, glamorous, and girly, not to mention totally addicting and perfect for the start of my summer-time reads. I thought the characters were awesome, the story was unique, and every chapter ended on some major cliff-hanger that just begged me to keep reading. Light and refreshing, Belles is definitely one you'll want to add to your TBR lists!

~Cover Talk~

This is such a lovely, girly-girl kind of cover! It also matches the tone of the story perfectly. I love the peachy-pink hues, the scroll details, and especially the picture of the girl at the top, her hair pulled back with a big, pink peony. Everything about this cover just screams pretty! I literally couldn't stop staring at it every once in awhile as I was reading it, haha :D

LC's Rating:
This book was absolutely un-put-down-able! From the very first page I was completely addicted to this story and it's characters. If you're looking for a light, refreshing break from the darker paranormal and dystopian genres, I would highly recommend picking this one up!


  1. >.< I saw this in one of your youtube videos, I need to get it.
    Nice review. :)

  2. Awesome! I have found myself in a reading funk lately because everything seems so dark. This sounds like the perfect book for the beach!

  3. Fantastic Review!! I'm definitely adding this book to TBR pile, Thanks for sharing :D

  4. I have seen this around a lot lately. This looks like a fantastic summer read! I love that feeling of not being able to put a book down!!

  5. This sounds great! I love the cover too...the girl reminds me of Leighton Meester!

  6. Awesome review!! I just seen this book for the first time today and don't know how I have missed it! It sounds absolutely wonderful!! Totally a sunny day read and the fact that it was one you couldn't put down makes it more exciting :)

  7. Great review. I've been seeing this book around a lot and I'm glad it's such a good read. I'll keep an eye on it in the future. :)

  8. One, I totally LOVE your review. I agree with you on so many points! The dual POV really worked for me, too! I was instantly drawn to Izzie, but I ended up really liking Mira, too.

    Two, there IS going to be a sequel. Thought you'd like to know.

    Three, yes, for the love of all things holy, that back cover is SO spoiler-y. UGH.

    Once Upon a Prologue

  9. I love contemporary books and this one sounds so awesome! I love alternating points of view so that's definitely a plus for me. Great review :)

  10. I am not a fan of contemporary anything, but your review has me ordering this for my seventeen year old daughter who i know will consume it like you!

  11. Great review. Will definitely put this on my TBR list...I really needed a break from dark stories too ^_^

  12. I saw this book at Barnes & Noble the other day and talk about a stunning cover. It's so pretty. Glad to see you liked it so much. Great review :)

    Jennifer @ Dream Reads

  13. YAY! I've been seeing this book everywhere now and the cover is so gorgeous. Heard it's being compared to Gossip Girl and it sounds just like my cup of tea!

    I can't wait to get my hands on this book when it's out! Awesome review, Lea! ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

    PS: I'm a new follower too! :) Thought I should mention here that I LOVE YOUR VLOGS. They are awesome. I just watched your recent IMM vlog and LOVE IT! ♥

    Celine @ Forget-Me-Not

  14. I have seen this around a lot lately. This looks like a fantastic summer read! I love that feeling of not being able to put a book down!!

    Hoc bong toan phan

  15. This books sounds really good. I have been hearing a lot of great things about it. What a wonderful review!!

  16. I love the cover, it's sooo pretty!
    And from your review, it sounds like a really good book as well! :)

  17. This one sounds so interesting! And I love the cover :) I love your tip about NOT reading the back of the ARC! (I try to avoid reading the backs more than once - if at all! Something about not really knowing what I'm getting. So yes, I judge most books entirely by their cover *lol* )

    Thanks for your review, I look forward to reading this one now!
    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  18. Wow, putting a huge spoiler on the back...for shame, publisher! Yeah, I also generally don't read the backs, flaps, blurbs, etc. Or, I only read the start of them.

  19. Thanks for the review, it sounds great! I love the cover too! I can't wait to read this. I hope I'll enjoy this book like you do.

  20. I've seen this around a lot, but haven't really read a summary on it. I thought, by the cover, that is was a historical type western fiction book. But wow, was I wrong! I really want to read this now. Thanks for such an honest review. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    I can't believe there is a spoiler on the back of the ARC! I'd be pissed!

  21. Fantastic review! I'm glad that Jen's new series is starting with a wonderful start! There are some characters that I find amazing even if they are mean antagonist! have you ever read the Ivy series by Lauren kunze? it has an amazing mean girl that I would strongly dislike the second i meet her but love her as a devious villain!
    The cover is beautiful!
    Old follower! :)

  22. Great review. Love your blog. New follower.

    Ali from Treasured Tales for Young Adults

  23. Okay, I just got this one in my mailbox two days ago and I'm glad that I skimmed this review because I like that you mentioned NOT TO READ the back of the book! I don't like spoilers!! Thanks so much for the heads-up!

    I was interested in this one because I live in NC, so I have high hopes for a great Southern read. Also I'm doing a Contemporary month in May/June so I'm preparing for it and this is one of my picks. Reading that it was unputdownable makes me really excited to read it, and I think it may be one of the first contemps that I read to prepare for my Contemporary Event!

    Thanks for this review!! Love reading your thoughts, even if I did skim this one. ;)

  24. I literally couldn't stop staring at it every once in awhile as I was reading it, lol

    rad review
    i heart cointemp

  25. The cover is so lovely, I want to read it! ><


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