Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins
I was so excited to find this available as a eARC, and so far ahead of the publication date! Rachel Hawkins is one of my favorite YA authors, and not just because she’s hysterically funny both in person and on Twitter. If you ever have the opportunity to see her in person, though, I highly recommend!
Rebel Belle is the story of the fall of Harper Jane Price’s junior year in high school. Harper is your classic overachiever: president of the Student Government Association, head cheerleader, Future Business Leader of America, and in possession of a seriously cute boyfriend. This is also Harper’s year to participate in the Cotillion, a debutant ball. Those of us who are second children might be perplexed by Harper’s I can do everything and do it well attitude, until we learn that she lost her older sister to a drunken car crash. Her perpetual busyness and obsession with perfection seem directly related.
On the night of the Homecoming Dance, Harper repairs to the ladies room to apply some last minute lipstick before her name is called for Homecoming Queen (of course!) She is interrupted by the school janitor and one of her teachers who appear to be…fighting to the death? In the girls’ bathroom? During the Homecoming Dance? Yep. The teacher kills the janitor, who with his dying breath imbues Harper with the sacred abilities and responsibility of the Paladin. Then the teacher tries to kill Harper and she takes him out with her heel of her shoe. To his carotid artery. That kind of ‘takes him out.’
The rest of the book is the story of Harper trying to juggle her already insanely busy life with her new responsibilities as Paladin. And, as a Paladin is charged to protect the defenseless, finding out who she is charged to protect with her life. Which is hilarious in itself.
Hawkins has a genuine talent for pinning down our most beloved stereotypes and then turning them on their heads, fleshing out her characters so that they become both real and integral to the story. The story takes on some of our most beloved tropes as well, most notably the ‘reluctant hero’ and turns them into intricately detailed pieces of the puzzle that fit together into a seamless whole.
I have been a fan of Hawkins’ Hex Hall books since they were published. And with Rebel Belle, I am thrilled to see the continued growth of her writing talents. This is definitely one to put on your list!
You can follow Hawkins on ‘the Twitters’ @LadyHawkins. Or, you can stalk her at her bookstore appearances like I do.
|Rachel Hawkins, Robin and Ally Carter|
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins has a publication date of April 8, 2014, and will be available here.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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