Author: Jen Calonita
Publication Date: April 10th, 2012
Synopsis: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.
My Thoughts: First of all, I just have to say that I love the cover for this book, it's so pretty! It definitely caught my eye when I saw it. Secondly, I chewed through this book. I had an extremely hard time putting it down and probably would have finished it in one day had I not been busy. I really do enjoy reading contemporary novels and for some reason, reading this one about a prep school was a lot of fun.
This story revolves around Isabelle Scott and her cousin, Mirabelle Monroe. It is told from a third person point of view and is normally following one of the girls around. Both girls are likeable characters, in their own way. We have Isabelle (Izzie) who is suddenly thrown into this world of money, style and fame. Everyone thinks that she should love it, but she really despises it because she doesn't fit in with these people. She is truly living a rags to riches story, but it's not all it's cut out to be. Then we have Mirabelle (Mira) who is horrified that this person she has never even heard of before has be thrust into her life. Not only that but she has to play babysitter to her. I know, how can you like a character who is selfish and cares too much about other peoples opinions. Well for some reason she is still likeable. She is not all bad, she just feels under appreciated by Izzie.
Can Izzie survive in a world where everyone is suspisious of her because of her background? Will Mira be able to hold onto the status she has worked years to build? Belles is a great look into the world of prep schools. Where the rich feel they are above those who are only able to attend due to a scholarship. It's probably even a fairly accurate look into any high school drama, because there is a lot of it. I do like how Izzie tries not to let it get her down, but really, there is only so long a person can stand being a social outcast.
Overall, I feel this book is a must read for anyone who loves contemporary novels. If you are interested in reading the genre, but not sure you'll like it, this would be a great place to start. There is boy drama, girl drama and family drama. It's all mixed in there and I was unable to stop reading once I got started. It reads quickly, I was always stunned by how much I had finished when I would look at the page number. the story also flows along quite nicely. Belles is a cute and addicting read which needs to be read! Now I'm excited for the next book because the ending just left me wanting more.
Thank you to Hatchette Book Group Canada for the review copy!