Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Rebel Belle

Author: Rachel Hawkins
Info: Putnam Juvenile, copyright 2014, 345 pages

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.

~Goodreads Description

So I lead the Indy chapter of the ForeverYoungAdult book club and this is our selection for December.  (If you're in the Indy area, you should join us!)  I'm not sure I would have picked this up on my own, but it was a very pleasant surprise, and I genuinely mean surprise because the premise is a little off the wall.

The setup of the story had me worrying it was going to be a fantastical, Southern version of Mean Girls.  Harper has that presence.  She's smart, driven, and people want to be around her.  But Harper isn't mean, vindictive, or cruel.  She's a really sweet girl who believes in hard work and like any dedicated Southern belle, has her future planned out.  That future did not include becoming a Paladin, an ancient guardian of an oracle, and that future most certainly did not include spending extended periods of time with David Stark, her mortal enemy.

This book falls nicely in-between good literature and fluff.  It's not a mind-bending, thought-provoking story that makes you change your outlook on life.  It's fun and entertains, just as I suspect it was intended to do.  Harper is likable (her friends and family equally so), and the plot is interesting and quick paced.  It might certainly encourage any Greek myth loving teen reader to investigate the concepts of Paladins and oracles a bit more.  And it has a certain Southern charm that is always agreeable as far as I'm concerned.

The audiobook, by the way, is excellent.  I think it was the reader's Southern accent that had me at hello.  All of the guy characters sound confusingly similar, but Harper's drawl is fantastic.  I'm pretty sure I'll be picking up the sequel.

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