rebel belle by rachel hawkins

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

                      

This book is a re-read for me, but I couldn’t resist doing a review on it. It’s a quick and easy read and really enjoyable. But beware, unsuspecting reader, there might be some slight spoilers ahead.

First of all, I love, love, love the southern setting. I’ve realized that it’s particularly hard to find good young adult books in the South of the U.S., so it’s an understatement to say I was super excited when I stumbled upon Rebel Belle. I wish the southern drawl had been a bit more present, but overall, I think the author did a great job entwining the culture into the story.

Okay, now let’s talk about the glorious Harper Jane Price. She’s girly, proper, slightly self-righteous and undoubtedly feminine. Sincerely, I am kind of in love with her character; she proved that being feminine and being tough are not two mutually exclusive ideas. She doesn’t stop being girly when she gets her badass Paladin powers, which in my opinion is very refreshing, since we seem to live in a world where femininity is a synonym for “weakness”. She literally won a fight against a grown man wielding a sword with nothing more than one pink, high-heeled shoe. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t change. She lost a lot of the things that she thought made her…well, Harper. She ends up going through some major character development, while remaining her PDA-and-F-word-hating self.

There are some pretty interesting characters in this book. David in all his hipster-Oracle glory is one mighty example, and another one would be the Aunts, who are unapologetically old, sarcastic and southern. The story and characters are witty and you can clearly tell the story is being told from the point of view of a seventeen year old girl who is Homecoming Queen, SGA president, head cheerleader, member of the Future Business Leaders of America organization and, many, many others. The style is informal, but very detailed and splattered with pop-culture references (hooray to David’s Doctor Who t-shirt!).

There are a lot of conflicts in the plot, mostly inner personal conflicts that the characters have to overcome to achieve a goal/accomplish something, and there some pretty cool fight scenes, that are easy to picture and strangely satisfying.

And we can’t forget about Harper and Ryan’s relationship, which even though it’s not the most important thing about the story, definitely played a part. Their relationship is a bit of a cliché, but it doesn’t seem out of place with the style of the story. Its course was run and when David comes around, it does not become a love triangle (*celebratory shimmy*), but I thoroughly appreciated that the relationship didn’t end just because another guy arrived, but because it honestly had gone flat and Harper really wasn’t invested in it (but that doesn’t mean the ending was completely smooth; the next book will be overflowing with awkward scenes).

Rebel Belle is different and so, so fun to read, and I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a book to get out of a reading slump. I’m jumpin’ up and down with excitement to read the next book, Miss Mayhem, and y’all should be too! (Let’s just pretend I can actually do a good southern accent)

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