Review Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins
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.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal Romance
Recommended for: fans of Starcrossed, Torched, Lola and The Boy Next Door, Hex Hall, Nightshade, Shadow Falls, The Ghost & The Goth.
Ahhh, this was the perfect summer read! I fully believed that Rebel Belle is just another light, fluffy and cute contemporary book. Awesome best friends, laugh out loud moments and a great new romance for the main character, you know the recipe. And in a way it is exactly that, but it’s my fault that I totally forgot there are also Greek Mythology, superhero powers and enemies-turned-lovers love involved. Huh. Surprise for me!
Rebel Belle focuses on perfectionist and workaholic southern belle Harper Jane Price and lemme tell you — she’s a mix of all things crazy. Crazy smart, crazy driven, crazy funny. And that combination alone is enough to make her kick-ass. But add some unexpected superhero powers to that personality and you’ll get a powerful and slightly stressed heroine.
“I’d been found guilty of Unladylike Behavior, Nephew Endangerment, and, if the look she shot my boots was any indication, Improper Footwear.”
Long story short (or at least the beginning), Harper is about to be crowned Homecoming Queen when her life turns upside down: a janitor kisses her right before he dies and then her history teacher tries to murder her. She gets superpowers and after she kills said teacher with her high-heel (I always wanted to do that, btw) she thinks she’s going crazy. She puts two and two together and she realizes she’s some sort of fantastic guardian called Paladin. So far, so good. But the one she has to protect, a very important Oracle, is the same person she’s hated forever: David Stark.
I totally connected with Harper, maybe because we are quite similar. For instance, there were countless times when I told myself I’d be considered a freak for loving school, but that’s basically the truth: I love it the way Harper does, because it brings kids together to socialize, learn some stuff, prepare for the future and just have a good time in-between. Plus, we both have the bossy attitude and the need to drown ourselves in sarcasm. Now I just need the Paladin mojo.
“I landed in our pool, which was kind of bad planning on my part. I’d jumped just a little too hard and overshot the small patch of grass between the fence and the ridiculously huge expanse of aqua water. Of course, on the bright side, I’d also missed slamming into the concrete patio.”
David was different from any other potential book boyfriends. For one, he’s incredibly smart. Second, he’s not a bad boy nor an alpha-male and he’s certainly got his wit with him wherever he’s going. Third, he actually blushes and he’s painfully adorable when he’s uncomfortable. David vaguely reminded me of Cricket Bell from Lola and The Boy Next-Door, but whereas I couldn’t fall in love with Cricket, David managed to make me swoon and laugh at his geeky attitude, sweet side and incurable fashion sense.
“I just . . . I don’t like crying girls, okay?”
We were quiet for a second while I took that in.
“That was very nice of you, David,” I finally said. “Now hold on because I’m about to drive into a fence.”
“Yeah, okay,” he muttered, his eyes still closed. “You do that.”
Then his eyes shot open. “Wait, what?”
David and Harper reminded me of Rose and Paxton from Torched by Andrea Colt. They’re the best example of the enemies-turned-couple description without going all the way with the enemies thing (like in Bully by Penelope Douglas); they simply can’t stand each other and the banter between the pairs is always grin-worthy. David and Harper are so cute in their awkwardness when they finally admit there’s something else going on besides the ongoing loathing and endless snarky dialogue. And to see them actually develop a friendship was also heartwarming. They’re refreshing, absolute otp material and definitely game for the following volumes. *happy dance*
No, I thought to myself. Near-death flutters of anxiety.”
Harper’s slow fall for David and her vehement denial of any romantic possibility were all kinds of awesome. Sure, it made me sad to see how overwhelmed and out of control our MC felt, but as some characters like to put it, she needs to chill. And by the end of the book, she manages to straighten out her priorities, to put some order in her life, to let go of some unnecessary burdens and to finally live a little and accept her destiny.
“Perhaps the most defining characteristic of the superhero is a willingness to sacrifice for the good of others, even to the point of laying down his or her own life.”
My only regret was Ryan, Harper’s boyfriend, because he got completely neglected, confused and hurt. He didn’t deserve how Harper pretty much lied and manipulated him into the next dimension. Ryan was really cute and caring and had the right to be sick of his girlfriend’s games. On top of that, in the end he really proved he’s a good guy and trust me — he’ll have a big role in the next installments.
Another character I loved was Bee, Harper’s best friend. May I say awesomesauce? Cause that’s exactly what Bee is. Supportive, understanding, witty — pretty much a tough chick. She also got neglected in this book and I hated to see how her friendship with Harper was making its descend, because these two were the perfect portrayal of BFFs. But no worries, she’ll also play a big part in the next books.
Now that I come to think about it, the characters might have been the best part of this story. Saylor Stark, mamma bear, secret witch and socialite queen of Pine Grove — she’s great! Then there were Harper’s parents whom I’m glad weren’t ignored or rendered idiots by most YA books. They were concerned, protective and caring parents. I’d like to get to know more about Harper’s sister who, unfortunately, died beforehand. And Harper’s Aunts, oh they were marvelous. You know the type, gossip-hungry, bickering and loving old ladies that pull on your heartstrings with their careless attitudes.
Blythe, on the other hand, never really felt like a true antagonist. She just didn’t give out the villain vibes. Maybe I’ve got that impression because she’s young and tiny and unimportant, but I never regarded her with enough interest. That also might be the reason why I think that Rebel Belle is actually just a contemporary romance with some fantasy stuff thrown into the mix, because I never got the feeling that we were on the verge of destroying the world hence my pretty relaxed way of reading it.
“Wait, are you two really a thing?” Blythe asked, making David’s grin disappear.
“No,” he said quickly, and I shook my head so hard it was a wonder I didn’t sprain something. “No,” I echoed. “No, no, no, no. Vast worlds of no.”
The plot and mythology Rebel Belle is based on was weird in the beginning, I’ll give you that, but then I realized it was just unique. Sure, I’ve heard of Oracles and they’re quite a hot topic in some YA books, but you have to admit that Paladins and Mages aren’t exactly common in our usual reads.
“Paladin: an honorable knight; defender of a noble cause.”
“Laaaaaame,” I whispered. I much preferred superhero.”
I need to talk about the humor: it knocked my socks off! I’d find myself giggling or laughing at Harper’s way of thinking and constantly having a goofy smile plastered on my face. Rachel Hawkins managed to effortlessly blend hilarious remarks into an interesting and engaging story and that made me appreciate light reads all over again, because they’re THE BEST.
“Scoot, scoot, SCOOT!” I yelled at David.
“I AM SCOOTING!” he shouted back.”
The ending of this book was off-the-charts! So many things I didn’t expect happened and there was an incredulous outcome tinged with a hint (or maybe buckets) of sadness. It set the path to the forthcoming sequel that I’m positive is going to be an amazing one.
Rebel Belle was exactly what I was looking for! It made me giggle, laugh out loud and cheer for the characters. I never felt like it was an action-driven book like, you know, keeping you at the edge of the seat just for the thrill of it. No, you read Rebel Belle for the characters, for the relationships and for the addictive writing style. It was definitely original when it came down to the twists and plot, not to mention the mythology. If you’re looking for something amusing, quirky and super cute, then Rebel Belle is the book for you.