Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins Hardcover, 384 pages April 8th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile Goodreads| Amazon| B & N| TBD
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.
I really had high expectations for this book, considering that Rachel Hawkins Hex Hall series was one of my all time favourites. But I'm guessing that it's hard to achieve the same level of success when you have such an amazing debut series. Rebel Belle first chapter is even set almost similar to Hex Hall first chapter. Both of the main characters are attending their high school dance and some last minute crisis drove them to the bathroom. And through fate and unexpected timing, just like in Hex Hall something happened to the main girl which sets the plot going. In this book, the main girl; Harper was an unwilling witness to the janitor's murder and just before he died he kissed her and voila! Instant superpowers! Apparently the janitor is a Paladin assigned to protect an Oracle. The Oracle in question is the school biggest geek and also Harper's long time nemesis; David Stark. And with that the popular girl and biggest nerd are thrown together into some unexpected situations as they navigate high school and their secret paranormal life while trying to find out what's really going on. Harper is likeable enough but she's not an underdog like Sophie in Hex Hall. She's rich and popular with the best looking jock as her boyfriend. And she's also not as funny as Sophie either. And while there's a lot of Southern attitude in her, I find her to be a bit shallow at times. But the saving grace of the book is the string of colourful characters that live in Pines Grove. From Harper's hilarious great aunts, to the domineering Saylor Stark, to Harper's circle of friends. Their antics and conversations made me laugh. Do check this out if you're into over the top Southern antics but those expecting another Hex Hall series might be a little disappointed.