11 May 2012

Review: Belles by Jen Calonita

#1 in the Belles series
contemporary (YA)
published April 2012
bought my copy

Drama, intrigues and new beginnings - that's how to describe "Belles" with a few words. When I started the book I was hoping for a fresh, very entertaining and engagingly written contemporary novel and that's exactly what I got. "Belles" is a book that makes me excited for the next book in the series because I just have to know what will happen next.

"Belles" is told in alternating points of view and I loved that. It allowed me to get to know and to understand the actions of both Izzie and Mira. Both girls have a different way to tell their story, and I loved that both had the chance to tell how they experienced what was going on.

Izzie has been living with her sick grandma and is shocked when she is sent to live with relatives, relatives she has never heard of. Relatives who live a very different life. In the past Izzie has lived in very simple surroundings and there was never a lot of money. But her new family (an uncle of hers and his wife and their three children) is rich, posh and so different to everything that Izzie has known in the past. Mira is her uncle's daughter, and she and Lizzie are nearly in the same age (15). They could be friends but right from the start on things between them don't go so well. They don't understand each other and Mira fears losing her social status by becoming friends with a girl from the wrong side of a poor town. And then there's Mira's best friend who hates Lizzie right from the start on.

What follows is a story full of trying to fit in, of finding your own way, of dealing with mean girls at school, of dealing with politics and of finding out the truth. 

Izzie was from the first moment on a very likable and great character. It was easy to connect to her and to understand her doubts about her new life. I loved how strong she was and how she dealt with her new life. Mira on the other hand was at first not so likable. She seemed to be pretty spoiled and never stood up to defend her own opinion. But throughout the book I started to like reading about her, I started to hope that she would learn to be the way she wants to be. She had to decide if her mean circle of friends is really what is good for her, or if she should give the new member of her family a chance. And if she should speak up in tough situations.

Like I said before, the alternating points of few between Izzie and Mira made it possible to connect to both girls. I guess otherwise I wouldn't have enjoyed reading about Mira.
I enjoyed reading about Mira's family, especially her brothers and her mom. They were so lovely to Izzie and always trying to help her with the new situation. Izzie had to deal with a lot of conflicting feelings and needed all the help she could get. 

At the end of the story a big secret is revealed, but to be honest I already knew what would happen since chapter four. There were some hints that made it pretty easy to guess that some things were not as they looked at first glance. This revelation and its consequences will make the second book in the series very interesting and thrilling.

The story containes power plays on several levels. Izzie has to deal with mean girls (mean with a capital M) at school and she has to deal with the fact that her uncle is a senator. The whole family has to deal with being in the public eye and with always acting a certain way. Especially Mira feels constricted by this and the stress she is under made understanding her sometimes not so nice actions easier. Usually I'm not a big fan of reading about mean girls and the drama they create, but in "Belles" I really enjoyed it.

What I also liked is that possible romances for the girls are introduced slowly. It was nice that there is no love at first sight, because that wouldn't have fit to the girls, their age and their situation. I'm hoping that in the next book, Winter White, things will also progress slowly.

All in all I really enjoyed "Belles" a lot and I think that it's a great start into the series. It's a very entertaining book that makes me excited for more. I care about what will happen to Izzie and Mira, and that's always a sure sign that a book was great. 


  1. I love this. The book matches your blog. It looks soo girlie and pink. I want to read this book like yesterday.:)

    1. That was exactly my goal. :) I didn't even realize that the colours of the book match my blog, but they really do. Now I like the book even more.

  2. I've never heard of this one but sounds interesting. I might have to pick it up. Great review. Love all the pictures.

    1. Hope you will get the chance to read the book some day.
      This time I had trouble with picking only a few photos instead of all the ones I took. Pretty books are always a joy to photograph.

  3. Awesome review thingy. :) I've been excited for this one since I first heard of it. This book is just way too pretty, but I had my eye on it even before its cover reveal. The prettiness is just a perk. I wanted to get a pb, but I'm thinking they might not have that awesome cover design flap thing. That's genius! It reminds me a bit of Delirium (old edition). I have a feeling that I'll like this. It sounds similar to Rival (Sara Bennett Wealer) minus the music. We've got the alternating perspectives, power play and high school drama.

    1. I love the cover design flap, it makes the book so special and pretty. This time the hardcover version was really worth the money. And I think the second book in the series looks just as pretty.

      I haven't heard of Rival before, maybe I should check it out.

      Happy Reading!




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