Book: Belles by Jen Calonita
Summary: Since the death of her mother, Izzy has been living with her grandmother in the beach town of Haborside. But when her grandmother's mental health deteriorates, Izzy is sent to live with an Uncle she's never met, who is a wealthy state senator. His campaign manager spins it as a lovely rags to riches story for the press, but the new town of Emerald Cove is not welcoming and Izzy and her cousin Mira do not get along.
Characters: This is told from the perspective of both Izzy and Mira, which is perfect, because the two perspectives help make both characters a little bit more real. From Izzy's perspective, Mira is nothing but a spoiled mean girl who is out to get her, but through Mira's perspective we realize she is just scared about her own reputation and feels trapped by the sudden arrival of her cousin.
Most of the characters seemed real, but the mean girls were really mean and had no redeeming qualities. The campaign manager was villainized a bit, and the Uncle seemed incredibly naive, but it is easy to understand his actions. However, I loved the mom, Maureen, and Mira's two brothers. Mira's love interest was sexy and charming, but Izzy's love interest, Brayden, was annoying and has a stupid name.
Plot/Pacing: The book moves fast and I finished it quickly. There is definitely a LOT of drama, but I found myself frustrated and depressed more often than not. I love conflict, but I also like to giggle a lot while I read and the happy, flirty moments were few and far between here.
I mentioned this on goodreads as well, but the end felt abrupt. It felt more like the pilot episode of a series (an east coast OC), setting up future books, than a complete story on it's own. That is one of my biggest reading pet peeves. I love series, I can deal with cliff hangers, but each book needs to do its own thing and have some kind of resolution at the end. I didn't get that here.
Moments I Loved (potential spoilers): I loved when Mira and Izzy were finally able to come together at the end. I also love when the campaign manager is fired... totally redeemed Mira's dad... well, kind of.
WTF Moments: Savannah was CRAZY. Seriously, she does nothing but make Izzy miserable. I wanted to slap her and tell her to develop a hobby. All of these rich kids and their obsession with money and status was kind of sickening. I think that was the point, but still.
Overall: A cool concept and a fun read if you miss The OC and love stories about mean girls.
Reading Challenges: This book counts toward the following challenges: 356 pages toward the 15,000 page challenge. Track all my progress on my 2012 Challenges page (which I know, I really need to update).
EDIT: I forgot to add my rating. Belles gets a FakeSteph rating of...