Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Posted November 26, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel HawkinsRebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
Genres: Urban Fantasy, YA
Published by Putnam Juvenile, Putnam Publishing Group on April 8, 2014
Pages: 345
Format: eBook
Source: the library


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.

First in the Rebel Belle urban fantasy series for young adults and revolving around Harper Price in Pine Grove, Alabama.

My Take
She spent a thousand dollars on her Homecoming dress!?? And she’s not even going to the dance until 30 minutes before the Homecoming queen is crowned? This girl needs to get her perspective adjusted; she’s too calculating. And too obsessed about Cotillion. Jesus.

Hawkins did an okay job of teasing about what her sister did to make Harper so determined to be overly perfect. Too bad it all backfires on Harper. Nor can I imagine she’s actually happy doing all this! Ryan certainly isn’t thrilled about being at the bottom of her checklist. I’d never believe a high school boyfriend could be this mature or patient, and I can totally see his point: “Why do you have to be queen of everything. Why can’t you just…chill?” He’s also protective and gets angry with David. After all this, I can’t really blame him for being attracted to Mary Beth. And that whole break-up scene? The timing? What was that about? It was irritating and lame.

Harper behaves like an old fart worried about what everyone will think of her, but she doesn’t worry about the people who are supposed to mean something to her. And she’s so immature about it. Partly, I think, because she’s involved in so much that she hasn’t time to think.

Nice job on the tension in that bathroom when Hall locked ’em both in!

It’ll crack you up as Harper realizes how right Ryan is about how she constantly contradicts him. Makes me wonder if I did that when I was married…?

There are things I dislike about David as well. That article he ran about Harper? Mean, with no real reason for it. Then when she reacts to it and threatens to complain formally, he whines about it. What a dweeb.

It gets a little World of Warcraft with a high school Southern edge to it. It’s high school angst coupled with newly acquired unexplained super powers, and a weird attraction to the boy she’s hated all her life.

I love the twist Hawkins introduces with Harper’s decision about being a Paladin. Too right. And her reasoning is good.

Which part of Blythe can poof out did these two miss?

There’s rather a lot of silliness in here: Harper’s “unnatural” attraction to David when she’s dating the man of her dreams; all the sneaking around she’s doing so no one knows about the time she has to spend with David and not let it get back to Ryan or Bee; the training she has to do with Saylor; her behavior on her date with Ryan…it feels as though it needs more work. It needs smoothing out and better tension.

That bit at the end? That it must always be three: an Oracle, a Paladin, and a Mage? Nice bit of tension to entice you into the next in the series, Miss Mayhem coming in 2015, if you’re that bored.

The Story
It’s all down to lip gloss. If Harper had remembered to put it on before leaving the house…she wouldn’t have encountered that surprising janitor who is not fat, balding, or old.

It’s just…there was something about that kiss…ugh, that kiss! From a fat, old janitor who’s not!! And suddenly Harper knows tactics, battle moves, and how useful her Anatomy and Physiology class ended up being.

It’s that scholarship offer that can’t be right that forces David and Harper into a temporary alliance. And a damned good thing.

The Characters
Harper Jane Price is the overachieving student policing everyone’s language and trying desperately to make up for her sister’s mistake. She’s the head cheerleader, the SGA president, she’s in charge of Homecoming decorations, on the Committee of Academic Honesty, a Future Business Leaders of America, in Key Club, and the Annual Christmas bake sale chairperson. Ryan Bradshaw is her basketball-playing boyfriend. Luke is Ryan’s older brother away at college. Leigh-Anne was the sister who screwed up. Hillary and Tom are her parents. The Aunts are Harper’s great-aunts: Aunt Jewel who makes that hideous punch and the twins — Aunt May, and Aunt Martha — who play cards together every Friday afternoon.

Bee Franklin is her best friend; Brandon is her boyfriend.

David Stark is probably her greatest enemy. She’s known him forever, and he’s been harassing her just as long. He’s also the nephew of Saylor Stark, president of the Pine Grove Junior League, head of the Pine Grove Betterment Society, chairwoman of the Grove Academy School Board, and the organizer of Pine Grove’s annual cotillion. She’s also a Mage. Christopher was the Paladin to Saylor’s Mage.

Cathy Foster used to run the Cotillion until Saylor showed up. Suzanne Perry used to run the Pine Grove Betterment Society. Miss Annemarie’s Tearoom is popular with the older crowd.

Fellow students at Grove Academy
Lucy McCarroll is the sophomore class president and Harper’s protégé. Amanda and Abigail Foster are identical twins on the cheerleading squad with Harper and Bee. Mary Beth Riley who can’t wear high heels without wobbling has a not-so-secret passion for Ryan. Liz Walker is one of the Jesus freaks. Matt Hampton was on the debate team and would have done what David wrote about. Matt Sheehan is a senior at the school. Lauren Roberts is in their math class.

Mrs Delacroix and Mr Schmidt are teachers. Mr Laurent is the newspaper advisor where David sneaks in nasty articles about Harper. Michael Goldberg and Chie Kurata are fellow newspaper staffers and students with David. Hall is one of the school janitors. Michael DuPont teaches world history — and wields a scimitar! Headmaster Dunn thinks Harper is doing too much. Mrs. Hillyard is a substitute teacher. Mrs. Ford.

…takes place at Magnolia House and is in the control of Miss Stark who’s got her own secrets. Elizabeth Adams, Mary Beth Riley, Amanda and Abigail, Bee, Harper, and Lindsay Harris are the girls taking part this year.

Dr. Greenbaum says Harper has an obsessive need to overachieve. Mrs. Green is the children’s librarian. Mrs. Catesby was Harper’s old Sunday school teacher.

Blythe is the Ephors’ very loyal and very powerful Mage. To the point of madness, and she has her eye on David. But not why you think.

Paladins are warriors and protectors charged with safeguarding a specific person or place. They first came to be as an elite guard for Charlemagne. Mages were empowered to protect the Oracle. The Ephors are the men who took charge of the Oracle. They’re quite traditional and insist on two Paladins and two Mages. An Oracle sees the future, male Oracles see it less clearly than females.

The Cover
The cover is all pretty and peachy with a feminine peach satin ribbon tied up in bows on the ends dangling a short strand of pearls while the more substantial bow in the middle marks the midpoint where it’s suspended from a serious-looking dagger of silver and brass.

The title is about a very determined Southern belle who has tried so desperately to conform only to find she’s a Rebel Belle.

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