Jen Calonita. Belles. New York: Poppy, 2012.

Fifteen-year-old Isabelle “Izzie” Scott loves her life in Harborside, North Carolina: working as a life guard at the beach, hanging with her friend Kylie at the local ice cream shop, and swimming laps at the pool in her beloved community center. Orphaned at ten when her single mother was killed in a car crash, Izzie lives with her aging grandmother, and it’s a daily battle to convince her concerned social worker that Grams is a good enough guardian.

Grams is slowly losing her grip on reality, and one day Izzie arrives home to find that a decision has been made without her: Grams is moving to an assisted living facility, and Izzie is sure she’s destined for foster care. But Grams has been hiding a secret from her. Unbeknownst to Izzie, she has a long-lost uncle: a wealthy state senator who lives with his wife and children in nearby Emerald Cove. Her uncle and aunt have agreed to take Izzie and raise her with their children, offering her all the best love and care and a first-rate education at the prestigious Emerald Prep.

Harborside and Emerald Cove are only a few miles apart on the scenic North Carolina coast, but they might as well be on separate planets. Emerald Cove is home to some of the wealthiest families in the state, sporting boutique shops, sprawling mansions, and a refined country club, while Harborside is barely above a slum with its low-income housing, gang violence, and seedy boardwalk. Izzie’s aunt and uncle Monroe are welcoming, but her cousin Mirabelle, nearly the same age, is one of the most popular girls in school, and Izzie definitely doesn’t fit in her with her crowd. Worst of all, the gorgeous Savannah Ingram (Mirabelle’s best friend and the queen bee of Emerald Prep) takes a particular dislike to Izzie, and stirs up plenty of trouble for the new girl. Soon Izzie isn’t sure if she’s fighting to fit in or fighting to get out, but the true drama and scandal haven’t even begun.

Reminiscent of Gossip Girl with a southern twist, Belles is the beginning of a fantastic new series about family, community, and fashion for young adults.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Calonita, Jen, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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