Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
Having read (and loved) Hawkins’ Hex Hall series, I was already more than willing to try any book she decided to publish. I picked this one up without even reading the overview, and therefore had no idea what a wild ride I was in for! Just looking at the cover, I was expecting an angsty “I need to break all the rules to find myself” type of story. What I got instead was a delightful mix of paranormal magic, humor, and action – it was stellar! I can safely say I’ve never read anything quite like it. Rebel Belle is one of those books I wish had been a book club nomination because I’m so antsy to talk about it!
Hawkins has a unique voice, which is part of the reason I thought the Hex Hall books were so much fun. The writing, more specifically the ways she handled inner dialogue, provided a different light to the characters all on its own. It was cheeky without being immature, and she strikes that balance in Rebel Belle better than I’ve seen anywhere else. The amazing thing is, I’ve seen her do it well twice – Hex Hall’s Sophie had a charming sarcastic voice, while Harper has this delightful bluntness. I find them both equally fabulous and funny.
Which brings me to my next point – this book was hilarious. Everything from the way Harper thought about things to the way she reacted to the not so perfect situations had me laughing out loud. It’s not funny in a punchy trying-to-hard kind of way, but funny in a situational way (which I vastly prefer). Not only did it make for one highly entertaining book, but also made me love the characters even more.
And oh, the characters! I loved them all, especially the heroine. This is weird because I didn’t particularly relates to Harper’s background, high school experience, or love life, but I found her incredibly endearing nonetheless. Everything she did was just so earnest and, privileged social status aside, you could tell she was just trying her best to cope as one weird thing after another was sent her way. Her personal growth throughout the story is definitely one of its best elements. And David… Don’t even get me started on how much I loved David. There’s just something about that unfaltering intelligence, strong sense of self, and all-around compassion that had me hooked from the moment we met him. All I’m saying is I think I just found my next book boyfriend…
The only thing keeping this book from a solid 5 star review was the bad guys. Throughout the story, I just never bought in to their motivations or tactics. Hopefully, that will be cleared up in book 2 (which I am grabbing the moment it comes out… whenever that may be).
Overall, this was a fun book filled with mystery, humor, and love – it’s definitely one I plan to reread one day. This is a major yes for fans of Rachel Hawkins and an equally big yes for people trying her out for the first time. Rebel Belle contained everything I expect from a good teen novel, and just might make my favorites list this year. :-)
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