Book Review: Rebel Belle
By: Rachel Hawkins
Published By: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Page Count: 345
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Audience: Young Adult - Paranormal
I anticipated this book hard. I absolutely loved the Hex Hall series and was quite ready to read any old scrap Rachel Hawkins would see fit to toss my way. That made it a bit sad when I didn't love Rebel Belle. All the signs were there that I'd love it - it sounded very Buffy in some ways - cheerleader becomes secret guardian, deals with real life and secret life colliding, hopefully bunches of snark liberally sprinkled on the top.
Why didn't I love it? I suppose I found it pretty hard to connect with Harper. She is a girl who has everything, and it is all perfect. When life becomes more challenging, she sucks it up and integrates as much as she can - and that's admirable. I suppose I felt it came a little too easily to her. I also didn't connect with the love element of the book - she strings along a really sweet guy because she thinks he fits her image, and then ditches him when she starts to not-hate her nemesis of years, David, who coincidentally is the boy she has to protect with her new found super powers. I know there is a fine line between love and hate (so they say) but it didn't work for me this time.
I also felt the whole book was under-seasoned with snark. Perhaps the real problem was my anticipation of what I hoped Rebel Belle would be, and when it was something slightly different I felt a little let down. I think I would have found it easier to relate to Harper if she had struggled a little more, been a touch more angsty, or if she had even explained more why Cotillion was so important to her - I just don't know enough about that tradition. All in all, I had hoped that I might get more of a Southern flavor from Rebel Belle, and it was just a bit too bland to be anything other than an enjoyable but relatively unremarkable read.
Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.
Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more.