Belles

Paperback | September 11, 2012

byJen Calonita

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Raised in a run-down house on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina, Isabelle "Izzie" Scott has always loved her less-than-charmed life by the beach. But when the grandmother she lives with needs to move into a nursing home, a social worker places Izzie with a politically prominent long-lost uncle and his preppy, privileged family, taking her away from everything she's ever known.

Unfortunately, inserting Izzie into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove isn't going 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 Izzie's and Mira's lives forever.

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From the Publisher

Raised in a run-down house on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina, Isabelle "Izzie" Scott has always loved her less-than-charmed life by the beach. But when the grandmother she lives with needs to move into a nursing home, a social worker places Izzie with a politically prominent long-lost uncle and his preppy, priv...

Jen Calonita is a former magazine editor who has interviewed everyone from Justin Timberlake to Reese Witherspoon. She lives in New York with her husband, Mike; sons, Dylan and Tyler; and their Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow. She invites you to visit her online at www.jencalonitaonline.com.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:September 11, 2012Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031609112X

ISBN - 13:9780316091121

Customer Reviews of Belles

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!! (****SPOILER ALERT ******) Belles was great!!!!!!! Isabelle Scott is loving her summer when suddenly her grandma who she lives with needs to live in a nursery home and needs to live with her cousin, Mirabelle. I Couldn't believe that Mira and Izzie are sisters!!!!!! Loved it!!
Date published: 2012-07-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Drama, Southern Charm and a Touch of Romance! It's a lot more difficult to find fun contemporary novels which offer its readers pure entertainment, so when I first heard about Jen Calonita's Belles, I jumped at the chance to read it. And you know what? Belles completely delivered. It's a wonderful summer read filled with family drama and spoiled rich girls you would just love to slap in the face, or you know, have the satisfaction of seeing them completely humiliated. I immediately sympathized with Izzie's character and took a liking to her right away. Raised in Harborside her entire life, Izzie has always loved her supportive friends and community, despite the town's reputation as one of the sketchier areas in North Carolina. She's a hard-working, sensible girl who cares for elderly grandmother and dedicates her extra time to her swim team and lifeguarding on the beach. When a social worker tells Izzie that her grandmother's Alzheimer's condition has progressed too far for her to handle on her own anymore, and that she'll be moving in to live with a long-lost uncle and his family, Izzie knows her life will never be the same. On the other hand, Mira has always had everything handed to her and takes her privileged lifestyle in Emerald Cove for granted. She's never had to worry about money the same way her new cousin, Izzie, has always had to. Mira is also once of the most popular girls at her private school, partly because of her friendship to Savannah, who's the perfect definition of a mean girl. Savannah is one of those girls who can be sweet to your face one moment, and then stab you once your back is turned the next. But even though Mira knows Savannah can go too far in hurting others, she's still more content being a follower than growing a spine and speaking up for herself. If Mira had come to her senses sooner and tried to atone for some of her actions against Izzie in making her life more difficult, I would have probably liked her character more. I did love how her older brother, Hayden, wasn't afraid to call her out for acting like a clone of Savannah though! If you're looking for a light contemporary read with Southern charm, a touch of cute romance, and a lot of heart, then I'm sure you'll definitely be interested in reading Jen Calonita's Belles! And did I mention there's a shocking revelation that will leave you gasping aloud by the end? I cannot wait to see how Izzie and Mira's story will continue in Winter White, the second novel in the Belles series! You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.ca/2012/06/belles-by-jen-calonita.html
Date published: 2012-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The gorgeous cover will pull you in and the story will make you fall head over heels in love. *Copy provided by publisher for review* There was one thing and one thing only that I was terrified of before diving into Belles by Jen Calonita - that it would turn into another "The Magnolia League". I have to admit that I wasn't the greatest fan of The Magnolia League, a novel who's premise somewhat resembles that of Belles. Luckily Jen Calonita did not disappoint, in fact she wound up pulling me deeply into her world and left me in anticipation for it's companion "Winter White". Belles by Jen Calonita, the first in her Belles series, features the story of Isabelle Scott, a girl who loves her life back in North Carolina. However, Isabelle quickly finds herself being pulled away from what she loves and is sent to Emerald Cove, a place where glamor prevails. Meeting her cousin Mirabelle is an absolute disaster. You see, Mirabelle isn't Isabelle's biggest fan and when the rumours and backstabbing commences, Isabelle begins to feel like the worst has yet to happen. Mira and Izzie were two very different characters that I couldn't help absolutely adoring in Belles! As obviously flawed characters, they were both completely enticing and pulling, allowing me to experience first hand their struggles through their point of views. In fact, Jen Calonita was fairly real in that aspect - I loved it! With two fun and exciting main characters came an array of equally exciting, and sometimes very curious-like, secondary characters. Each one added to the fun mystery lying beneath Belles' pages, and I was pleased to discover how dramatic this title was! The romance was sweet, the drama completely ruthless, and the characters realistic and compelling. Readers with a passion for contemporary reads with all of the above are highly advised to pick up a gorgeous hardcover copy of Belles by Jen Calonita. If the gorgeous cover isn't enough to pull you in, then the story within it's pages certainly is!
Date published: 2012-06-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After I picked up Belles when I was needing a fresh, fun contemporary read and it easily exceeded my expectations in this area! It's a surprisingly tender and stirring book, one that features a vibrant cast of characters and introduces its readers to a fun, new contemporary series that will leave you eager for the next book, Winter White. Reasonst to Read: 1.Charming characters: Izzie quickly grew on me as a character, even though I was worried at first that she would be needy and whiny. Boy, was I ever wrong about her! Izzie is a survivor, one who refuses to let even the worst situations completely bring her down. She acts the way any other teenage girl would in her position, and that's one difficult position to be in. I loved her for that, and especially watching her grow and adapt to her new life. Mira, on the other hand, took a bit longer for me to get used to. Even though she was rather dense and unsympathetic most of the time, there was still something endearing about her and I think we'll see more maturity from her in the next books :) 2.A beautiful story: I expected Belles to be a lighter, more fun kind of read; and it definitely had its moments. But the story itself is so involved and very intense; there's a real meaning behind all of it, and a lot of painful history and tragedy in the characters' lives. It's truly touching, and adds a good amount of dimension to the story. 3.A brave, remarkable heroine(s): My favourite thing about Izzie is that she refuses to back down and give up. She is constantly fighting for what she feels is right and I really admire that about her. Even at risk to herself and her own situation, she's constantly thinking of others first and it's this kindness and bravery to stand out and alone that makes her such a memorable character. Also, I have to take a minute to praise Mira's mom for her willingness to "adopt" Izzie so openly into their family. She is such a wonderful, generous woman to have and I loved featuring her as a character in Belles. Belles is a very quick, easy read. It's enjoyable and it's fun, but it's also lacking in one large area, which is complexity. I was actually surprised that Belles charmed me so much, because normally I don't enjoy books that feature fairly one-dimensional characters, but it wasn't that much of a problem for me in Belles. And when I found out that there would be more books coming out soon to accompany Belles and continue the story- well I was just THRILLED because I think we'll really get to know more about some of these secondary characters in Belles. I'd really love to find out more about Savannah's motivations, and even Mira and her family as well. Because of this, I have high hopes for the sequel and think I'll enjoy it even more than Belles. Fingers crossed! ARC received from Hachette Book Group Canada for review.
Date published: 2012-05-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Great! 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. [http://owl-read-it.blogspot.ca]
Date published: 2012-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A sweet, fun, and refreshing summer read! I've always been more of a paranormal or fantasy girl (preferring made up worlds to our boring old realistic one), but I think that this was exactly the kind of contemporary book that I've been looking for to get me back into the genre — and I kind of want to hug it for that! Belles zeroes on the lives of two completely different girls who are inexplicably linked: Isabelle (Izzie), the spunky swimmer who comes from the "wrong side of town," and Mirabelle (Mira), the privileged social butterfly who's still finding out who she is. Set in a beachy Southern town, it may not be a fantasy book but it's still kind of magical in its own way. I loved both of these girls from beginning to end! Even when they made mistakes and trusted the wrong people, they were realistic and fun and easy to relate to. Izzie didn't take crap from anybody, and Mira surprised me by being more artistic and confident than I expected. And of course no good contemporary is complete without its sweet boys (one of which is a surfer)! The romance was adorable, but it also didn't take away from the surprisingly touching plot. You get to grow to love each of the characters just like you do with Izzie and Mira, and the benefit of this being a standalone is that you get a nicely wrapped up ending. Filled with a fun cast of characters and one life-changing secret, Belles is a book you'll want to read while sitting by the seaside and burying your feet in the sand. It finds the balance flawlessly between sweet but not too fluffy, drama-filled but not a soap opera, and inspiring but not preaching. I just loved it! :) BUY or BORROW?: On top of having such a beautiful cover (I probably had to stare at it in my hands for a few minutes — it's even prettier in person!), I'm definitely taking this book with me the next time I suntan on the beach. Can't do that with a library book, right? ;)
Date published: 2012-04-03

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Editorial Reviews

"Belles is a near-perfect girly contemporary YA.... there's plenty of action and glamour to keep the pages turning."-iheartmylibrary.com