Good Reads Summary
Belles by Jen Calonita
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
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Red. I see red.
That the Belles are both fifteen is made clear from the word go. Yet, their behavior in this was far from that. About the only thing I actually liked about this was the cover. Oh, beautiful cover, how you have mislead me again! Well, that AND page 270, (and I actually do mean it when I say just that page.) Frankly, just about any negative you could think of might just apply to this one.
Characters. What characters? Card board cut outs, more likely. I felt them ALL one dimensional, never stepping out of the role that had been carved out for them: Izzie is the good one. She’s got the rags to riches story. So unsurprisingly, she’s the tough one with mantras like “not guts, no glory.” Despite such good things, I still found myself feeling distanced from her, asking if the girl was for real. Because despite her being the sad and poor one and even if she was all tough (in the face of absolute bitchiness,) there really was nothing else that was stood out for her. Would I be making make sense in saying she was too good at being the good one? Just picture it: girl with grandmother who’s sick gets plucked out of what’s familiar then inserted into a life so foreign from her own. All very fish out of water, but not as well executed as I was hoping. Time and again there were allusions made to her princess makeover, but what’s disappointing is she just played that part to the hilt.
But wait! She was not alone in that respect. See, there’s Mira too, doing precisely that as the less likable one. I could almost feel sorry for the girl given how foolishly she behaved. Almost. The thoughts going through this girl’s head! Her thoughts! Being fifteen doesn’t equal stupid! But the saints preserve me from the way she connected the dots where she without fail found herself to be ‘poor old pitiful me.’ She had me wondering if she indeed was the exception to aforesaid rule. (Was that too harsh?)
So let’s see: we have the poor one, the misguided one… why don’t we move on to the mean one? Savannah was written to be detested. And boy did she fulfill her part quite effectively! I simply wish there was something more from her. Were she a machine there would be three modes to her: mean, vindictive and bitchy. Why did this girl even have friends?
The Love crap. I’d go into detail over the love interests but I can’t even muster up enough enthusiasm for any of them. There’s Brayden, poor little rich boy, who frankly was no prize. Still there was Kellen to consider. He might very well be one of three characters who were decent. Sadly, he had little to zero face time in this one. Suffice to say I liked him and wish there was more of him in this. He’s not the perfect character, and frankly he still was one note in presence but at least he a “decent” character.
The Secrets lives of the rich and the painfully shallow? For starters, the secret is not that hard to figure out. No, really! Unless you’re blind and manage to miss all those early hints of sudden change in topic and “…’s” in the dialogue well, you can pretty much tell what the “big” secret is. And while it’s not actually the focus of the book, I felt kind of shortchanged. By the time anything about it is said, I went,
“That’s it?! I’d put that together ages ago!” Actually, it’s not even that secret that’s the focus, BELLES is more about mean girls and figuring out which side they stood. Did they dish it out? Or did they stand at the receiving end? And what if they were neither? That’s it really. I really do wish that there was more depth in this one though. (I seriously do.)
Perhaps I was expecting too much out of this? Were this MG, maybe just, maybe everything would have been just so-so. But I dare you not to roll your eyes at a couple of moments in this one. Dear me, it is only now that I understand why people finish books they hate. I just had to see if there was something more to this than it’s pretty cover. I must hate myself. But you know what, book-with-intriguing-three-quarter-dust jacket-letting-pretty-girl-peek-through? I think… yes, I think that I just might hate you more.
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