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The Belle With The Balls (Metaphorically Speaking)

Feeling re-BELLE-ious? Well even that terrible pun can't stop you from enjoying the awesomeness that is Rachel Hawkins's Rebel Belle.

The Belle With The Balls (Metaphorically Speaking)

BOOK REPORT for Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Cover Story: Girliest Badass on the Block
BFF Charm: Yay!!!
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Charming, Ya’ll
Bonus Factors: Madame Badass, Fantasy Refresh
Anti-Bonus Factor: No Diversity
Relationship Status: BFFs

Cover Story: Girliest Badass on the Block

Ok, I know it’s super girly - it’s pink, first of all, and those ubiquitous pearls*. But then that KNIFE! This is definitely not one of those YA books I would say could be mistaken for an Adult Novel**. But you know what? It IS a young adult novel, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And hey, it’s not a Big Face!

*Personally, I don’t know why it’s kind of a stereotype that Southern Girls Wear Pearls, but whatever. Ya’ll, pearls have been a thing for a LONG TIME. Like, totally a thing.

**Wow, calling it that really makes it sound like an adult novel - like that time 6 years ago when my mom said she didn’t like kid movies, she liked Adult Movies. And I have no plans to let her forget that any time soon.

The Deal:

Harper Price has pretty much nailed the whole high school thing, and is famous for having her ish together. She’s got the perfect boyfriend, an awesome best friend, and she’s well on her way to being crowned Homecoming Queen when Destiny is thrust upon her - by a janitor in the high school girl’s bathroom. Gross.

Now Harper has to balance her real life with having, essentially, superpowers - as well as a super secret mission. If anyone could manage it, it’s Harper, but her new abilities come with a catch: she has to spend a lot of time protecting her bitterest rival, David. Extra gross.

BFF Charm: Yay!!!

You guys. I love Harper Jane Price - and it’s not just because she’s from the fictional version of the same area of Alabama as me. She’s one of those girls that does everything - SGA President, head cheerleader, runs the church bake sale, Homecoming Queen, and heads like a million committees that were created specifically to look good on college applications - BUT somehow, you don't want to punch her in the nose for being an obnoxious overacheiver. She’s funny, smart, and really cares about the people in her life. Lots of YA heroines can kick ass and save the world, but it takes a really special multitask-er to do all that and keep up good relationships. Harper can handle pretty much anything the universe throws at her - including some super sticky romantical-type situations - and you still like her. Coming from someone who hates overachievers on principle, this is a strong endorsement.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

At first I was afraid this was going to be a Love Triangle book - after all, Harper is dating adorable Ryan when she’s sort of magically obligated to start hanging around obnoxious David. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say that her chemistry with one of these guys is so awesomely palpable that by the time some actual action happens, I yelled out a retro-Herbal-Essences-commercial-style “YES!” while reading it at work. Which was difficult to explain to my boss.

Talky Talk: Charming, Ya’ll

So I had a legitimate fear - that I bet a lot of people from a region with a distinct accent have from time to time - that this was going to be one of those books with "regional flavor." It seems like a lot of books that happen in the South go off the deep end with the droppin’ of Gs and the Highly Belabored Exclamations and Sayings. I declare ya’ll, I’m madder than a sweaty June bug on an ice chest at the Fourth of Ju-ly picnic when that happens. It’s like my mamma always said, you usually just can’t trust a book with regional flavor father’n you can throw a bale of sweet summer hay. If you know what I mean.

So what with the title and all - playing into the belle thing - and the pearls, and the setting, I was prepared for the worst. And you know what? It was great! Harper’s voice is genuine and really funny, but still rang regionally authentic for this Southern reader. No June bugs, no declare'n, and no general cheesiness in sight.

Bonus Factors: Madame Badass

It made me SO happy that Harper was such a badass. She acquires her badassery through supernatural means, so she goes from selecting decorations for the prom committee to running around flipping grown men like pancakes - without even breaking a sweat. This is extra awesome because technically, the role she has - um - acquired - was traditionally held only by men. She’s basically a magically enhanced Honor Guard Warrior, entrusted with protecting the life of another at any cost, and holy jeez does she rock it. All the rescuing going on in this book is 100% thanks to Harper.

Bonus Factor: Fantasy Refresh

Ok, I love fantasy callbacks as much as the next person - like when your dad is actually Poseidon, or whoops! you're descended from one of the Round Table knights and that explains why you have these great new supernatural abilities. But after around 17 books in a row about either ancient Greek or Arthurian legends, I found it very refreshing that the mythology in this book is from a totally unusual angle: Charlemagne, and the Paladin Knights!

Anti-bonus Factor: No Diversity

Ah, book, I was so proud of you - you nailed the natural beauty of Alabama, you totally channeled the syntax, you even got the whole polite/passive aggressive thing down pat. But dude, everyone in this book is white. Where’s everybody else? Come on.

Casting Call:

Georgie Henley as Harper

Young Richard Madden as Ryan

Austin Butler as David

Relationship Status: BFFs

Book, I just met you but I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. I’m pretty sure we went to the same preschool class - and hey, didn’t your mother go to school with my uncle? No? Well, I’m sure we’re related somewhere down the line, because we TOTALLY get each other.

FTC Full Disclosure: I got this book from my local public library and only incurred $.50 in fines for lateness. I received neither money nor adoration for this review, even though I asked really nicely and said please. Rebel Belle is available now.

Rebel Belle is the FYA Book Club selection for December 2014!

Savannah Kitchens's photo About the Author: Savannah Kitchens is doing the Lord’s work spreading YA lit to the masses as the head (and only member - but who’s really counting?) of the YA department at her library near Birmingham, Alabama. When she’s not disappointing her parents, she’s bottle drinking wine and playing board games with her husband.