Britta's Reviews > Belles

Belles by Jen Calonita
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Apr 12, 12

Read in April, 2012

There is something about a "mean girl" story that people just can't get enough of. There's the Southern Belle stories, and the NYC Gossip Girl types, but Belles by Jen Calonita is a new mix of the classic situation. Belles is a mix of the two, meeting in North Carolina; southern enough for class and old money, north enough for drama, flashiness and backstabbing.


Isabelle Scott, preferably called Izzie, loves her life in the unsavory part of town, as difficult as it is. With her mother's passing a few years back, she got used to living without much with her grandmother. Now that her grandma's mental lucidity is deteriorating fast, her social work decides to put a plan in action that would ship grandma to a nursing home and Izzie to live with a distant Uncle she has never met. She is transported to a glamourous town filled with more money then she could have ever imagined, a high profile family, an unwelcoming school, and to top it off, she quickly become's the queen bee's new target. When it all becomes too much to handle, a secret is revealed that will change her life forever - both new and old. But is it for the better?


Starting with the first glance at the cover, I was hooked. I mean, whoever designed that beautiful image deserves a raise. Moving on to the story, I was not disappointed. I was expecting more of the "southern belle" thing, but what I actually got was probably better. It took me forever to realize that "Belles" really came from "Isabelle" and her cousin "Mirabelle", both "...belles". Once I made that connection (give me a break, I'm slow sometimes) it all made more sense.


Speaking of those two girls, they were really great characters. Izzie is not afraid to be herself; she is proud of her controversial roots and doesn't like spending the money that was recently thrown at her. Mirabelle, Mira for short, is the opposite. She grew up iced with jewels, is afraid to reveal her true self and interests to her so called friends and will do whatever it takes to stay on top. However, when they meet, their influences really start to change the other (however reluctant they are to these changes). These changes don't happen immediately, or even quickly, which made the continual growth more realistic and interesting. The supporting characters were also quite likable - or maybe relatable is the better word, since not all of them are super cuddly (*cough* Savannah *cough*).


My only real criticism lies with a technicality. When the social worker moves Izzie, she says her grandmother "found" an uncle on her side. Wouldn't that be like "finding" her son? Then the uncle calls Izzie's mom a "distant relative", which is rephrased to "distant cousin". Which would mean that they weren't siblings. So the people Izzie called her aunt and uncle would really be her cousins. Right?


Other than that... I found the story very sweet and entertaining. I am really looking forward to the sequel coming this fall!
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