Series: Rebel Belle #1
Published by Penguin Teen on April 8, 2014
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
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This book filled my head with all kinds of glittery, pastel, satin-y, sequined images punctuated with spiked heels and daggers. Not just because of the ballerina-pink cover but because of the bouncy, bubble gum like dialogue and scenes. Rachel Hawkins says she pitched this book to her agent as Legally Blonde meets Terminator but I would pitch it as Legally Blonde meets 1992’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Harper Price is a smart and sassy southern belle who becomes a bad-ass Paladin after one crazy night at her high-school dance. Up until the night the book starts on, Harper has been an over-achieving, popular and polite control freak. Her dreamy athlete boyfriend and bubbly group of friends are the poster for the ”small town America high-school experience”. Things like Charlemagne, oracles and magic all become part of Harper’s vocabulary and life in quick succession after having that messy run-in with destiny at the school dance. I LOVED the cool contrast of such deep, mystical/historical themes set against a southern high-school backdrop.
“So, what does all this mean?” I finally asked. My voice sounded dry and unused, and my mind was racing, trying to process all of this. Magic, and Greece, and stolen babies…it was like my life had suddenly turned into a really bad soap opera.
“It means that you’ve been given a sacred duty,” Saylor said. […] “From this day forward, you will be tasked with protecting the Oracle at all costs. He’ll be your sole focus until the day you have to lay down your life for him.”
Saylor reached for my hand, and I gave it to her without thinking. “So, Harper Jane Price. Are you ready to accept your destiny?”
David Stark is no dreamy star-athlete but he’ll work his way into your fantasies none the less. He’s the quirky Oracle that becomes Harper’s strange charge after she goes through ”the change”. David is on the school newspaper and debate team and Rachel Hawkins commits to full dorkiness with his character. He’s not the Screech from Saved By The Bell kind of dorky but the Matt Smith as Doctor Who kind of dorky. He just grows on you and gets hotter as the story progresses, lame fashion sense and all. Harper and David grew up despising each other but there’s a thin line between love and hate and Rachel Hawkins makes that line electric. The chemistry that builds between David and Harper throughout this novel is thicker than summertime in Alabama.
I thoroughly enjoyed the cast and unfolding of events in this novel. Fun, classic, cliched characters give this book a nostalgic feel of a movie or television show from the 90’s. The hip and sarcastic dialogue twanged with southern charm does it’s job making this book ”pop”. Harper’s world jumps off the pages and key scenes play out like you’re watching them instead of reading them. This book would be a cinch to adapt to a screen play. I would love to see it become a series or a movie.
Rebel Belle is enjoyable like Taylor Swift’s Red album. There’s just some kind of addictive magic to it. Rachel Hawkins just gets the mood and settings and characters so right.
Even though I could see most things coming in Rebel Belle, the ending totally caught me by surprise. And that’s what it’s all about, folks. I just love clever and complicated endings.
Well played, Rachel Hawkins. Well played.
Some images that came to mind while reading Rebel Belle: