I think I have said it before on this blog, but if not I’ll say it again: in an idea world where I could do anything I want, I’d write for a soap opera. I love soaps. I’ve grown up for them. Sure, they’re ridiculous. But they’re addictive which is sort of how I see Jen Calonita’s Belles series.
General Summary: After finding out that her uncle is really her dad and that her bratty cousin is really her sister, Izzie faces a bigger a horror story-cotillion (a.k.a. become a debutante–a.k.a. wear a marshmallow dress and get presented to “society”). Will she be able to handle the cotillion pledge that makes all those Lifetime hazing movies look laughable? Or will she be smart and burn her marshmallow dress?
This is a cute book. If you can’t handle ridiculously cute books this is not the book for you. Also, if you cannot handle melodrama or debutantes this is not the book for you.
I can handle pink books. I can handle melodrama when handled correctly (see the worst feature section for more details). But at this point, I’m pretty sure I can’t handle debutantes. Because after reading this book, I’m reminded how much debutantes are like sororities with their stupid pledges (better known as hazing). In fact, if you would’ve changed a few things about some of these pledges, made them a little bit more dramatic it would resemble a Lifetime movie I saw the other week about….
Wrong blog entry.
That being said, the pledge stuff got on my nerves. I honestly found it stupid. Maybe it’s because I’m older, attended a urban university where sororities weren’t really a big thing, and maybe it’s because I’m an antisocial law student who is constantly forced to stay in the law library all day but I didn’t find these pledges to be cute. I found them to be a waste of page space. And excuse me, if you’re going to force someone to go out on the football field dressed as Lady Gaga you have to do the diaper or meat outfit. Doing neither is just….well, it’s not right!
Pledges and other forms of debutante stupidity aside, this was a pretty cute book. I really like the soap opera flare Calonita tries to give to it even though at times it comes off unrealistic. Why is it unrealistic? Melodrama.
A lot of the character reactions and dialogue, just came out forced almost wooden. It reminded me a lot of a bad soap opera . Also, guessing the culprit was sort of predictable and sort of reminiscent of the past book. Still, it was enjoyable.
Also, while the main characters (Mira and Izzie) were fleshed out, I felt the supporting cast could’ve been a little bit more dimensional. I was interested in seeing some of the characters roles expanded, most notably Izzie and Mira’s dad, but there role was much more diminished than I would’ve liked.
I have to say though, despite the flaws I will be reading the next book. These books are fun. And since I’m pretty sure the next one isn’t going to be about cotillion I’ll probably enjoy it more.
Best Feature: Fluffy fun. If I have to give props to one thing that Calonita does right is that her books are always age appropriate and not annoyingly so. You can read this book at twelve or eighteen and be okay with it. Parents won’t have to have embarrassing conversations with their kids about topics talked about in this book, but at the same time teens will enjoy this book. And okay, as a twenty-five-year old there were some parts that had me rolling my eyes, but I think it was a result of me having an extremely long day.
Worst Feature: Melodrama. Yes, I get these books are suppose to be soapy, but they are beyond unrealistic. And I’m not just talking about family secrets and the things that are suppose to make them soapy. Emerald Cove makes Port Charles look tame. And it’s not because Emerald Cove is prone to more ludicrous plot lines than some guy wearing some guy’s face via mask. The difference is Port Charles dialogue and drama comes off more realistic. Oh, and Ron Carlivalti has a knack at making the melodramatic hilarious while Calonita’s melodrama is just about as melodramatic and as drab as The Young and the Restless (and yes, that soap has gotten so droll as of late).
Appropriateness: Clean as a whistle. Jen Calonita’s books are friendly for both older and younger teens. I can’t even remember if there’s any cussing in this book (I don’t think there was) and the characters barely even get to first base.
Blockbuster Worthy: ABC family should grab this in a heartbeat. It’s really up there ally. Of course, there’s no As, but there is long lost siblings, and unbelievably rich people. I think I’ve already done preliminary casting too when I read Belles.
Overall Rating: I’m giving this one six out of ten. It was good enjoyable fun, but I was glad I checked it out at the library rather than buying it. If you like fluffy books, can handle groan worthy dialogue and allow yourself to believe that a twenty-five year old can become a PR maven two years out of school then, well, this might be the book for you. I’ll stick to General Hospital though for my soap cravings. I hear that one of the characters is publishing a YA book (well, it was originally YA book until another character stole it and turned it to a Fifty Shades of Puke wannabe). So who knows, maybe it finally do justice for my cravings for soapy books.