Book Talk: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

This review was originally posted here on May 14, 2014 

So I’m going through my old Tumblr and pulling up some old book reviews I’ve done in the past and thought I’d give them a make over and post them here while I work on getting some new ones up. First one on the list is…

Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Rebel Belle

 Young Adult Fantasy | 345 Pages | Borrowed | Goodreads

May 13, 2014 – May 14, 2014 | ✦✦✦

Goodreads Synopsis

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.

Review

This is my first Rachel Hawkins’ book and I can’t say that I’m disappointed but I’m not exactly blown away either. I really enjoyed Rebel Belle to the point of reading it all in one sitting. This book is fun, engaging, hilarious, and a lighthearted read. However, it also has some major flaws in editing/proofreading, flow, and overall feel that made it a little hard to read. It’s just one of those books where I’m curious as to what happens next in the series but I’m not chomping at the bit for the next book.

The characters in this story are phenomenal. Harper Price is the all American southern belle who can take on the world and not have a hair out of place. It appears she has everything; perfect parents, perfect boyfriend, perfect grades, and the only thing wrong is that she doesn’t have the right shade of lipstick (or was it gloss?) for the school dance. You know, she’s that girl. The one you would normally hate in a novel. However, her snarky attitude and private wounds give her an edge that makes her stand out from the other characters in the book. David Stark is my favorite. He’s mysterious and has this issue with Harper ever since they were little that gives all of their interactions an underlying tension that is absolutely entertaining. He also understands Harper in a way but he is also able to reign her in enough to see the bigger picture.

Best part about this book is that it’s funny. There is so much humor in the dialogue and action scenes that it’s almost impossible not to enjoy it. Also, I grew up in the South so I’m pretty good at doing a Southern drawl when I want to so reading this book aloud makes it 100x funnier. Rebel Belle has a lot of funny little quirks that make it a light and airy read and a great go to book for when you’re getting over a serious book or series.

I have three main issues with this novel. The first is in the editing/proofreading. It’s mainly continuity issues such as at the beginning of the book the teacher starts to say a word but Harper never finds out what it was. However, a sentence later she suddenly knows exactly what he was saying but then forgets the word later. This is an issue again in another early chapter when Harper is returning home and on one page it says she’s late for her midnight curfew but then it’s mentioned on another page that it’s before midnight on the same night.. And a minor one is when the school’s dress code is mentioned as not permitting jeans, but David is mentioned wearing jeans. Though it’s possible that he’s just being rebellious or something.

The second issue is that the story wasn’t believable. I understand that it’s fantasy but I expected to get drawn into this book and it just didn’t happen. It felt like there wasn’t a lot of world building, though this is supposedly taking place in a world somewhat similar to ours with magic thrown in. Reading this book didn’t feel like an immersive experience and I don’t know if it was due to the writing style or if it was because everything is presented very straightforwardly instead of with hints and build up.

My final issue is with the flow of the writing. It felt very choppy and strange to read. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t get into the book but I feel like it could have flowed a lot better with a bit more description, character interactions and world building. I know we’re limited to Harper’s perspective but it felt like there was a lot missing from it so I’m hoping that the next book has a bit more in the way of making us ‘see’ what is going on.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty good read. I really enjoyed it but again I wasn’t blown away by it. I do want to pick up the second book when it comes out and read it eventually but it’s not at the top of my to-read list.

3 out of 5 stars!

Just a reminder that I’m currently taking suggestions for books to review. You can either email them to me or leave them in the comments below! If you’ve read Rebel Belle let me know what you thought!

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