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Belles  By  cover art

Belles

By: Jen Calonita
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
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Publisher's Summary

Isabelle Scott’s life may not be easy, but she loves it. She is a star swimmer and lifeguard, has great friends, and has been spending the summer with Brayden, a cute surfer—though they’re just friends. But her grandmother, with whom she’s lived since her mother died five years earlier, is declining quickly, and Izzie’s whole world is upended. She’s whisked away from the poor, rough neighborhood where she grew up to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in the exclusive Emerald Cove.

Mirabelle Monroe leads a charmed life: her father is a former baseball star about to run for the United States Senate. She’s popular and beautiful and has a super cute jock boyfriend. But when her cousin, Izzie, comes to live with her family, her well-ordered world starts to unravel. It doesn’t help that Mira’s best friend and queen bee, Savannah, hates Izzie from the start, maybe because Izzie seems to be so close to Savannah’s boyfriend, Brayden. And Mira doesn’t know whether to choose her friends and status at school or her family.

As Izzie and Mira try to navigate their new lives, family secrets are dug up and the girls learn what friends and family truly mean.

Jen Calonita certainly has the inside scoop on young Hollywood. A former senior entertainment editor at Teen People, she has interviewed everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Zac Efron. An entertainment journalist for the past 10 years, she has written for TV Guide, Glamour, and Marie Claire. She lives in New York with her husband, Mike, sons Tyler and Dylan, and their Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow.

©2012 Jen Calonita (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Belles

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Nice, mindless fiction

Would you listen to Belles again? Why?

I would listen again. I love to listen to audio books while I work, so I need a story that is interesting, but not too complicated. This fits the bill.

What does Julia Whelan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I love Julia Whelan as a narrator. Her voice is pleasant, and she doesn't fall into a lot of the pitfalls that other narrators of fiction aimed at young women/girls tend to (i.e. too whiny, valley girl sounding, etc). I found this series because I looked her up to find out other books she has narrated after listening to several. My only complaint is some of the accents were fairly lame sounding.

Any additional comments?

This is an easy listen. If you like to listen to books that make you think, or want something profound, eloquent, etc - skip this. If you want to be entertained and enjoy superficial, fun fiction with a nice story and great narrator - download!

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Annoying narration. Like fingers on a chalk ....

board to me. Bailed at chapter 6. Had no interest in the story that o found confusing.

Thank goodness it was a freebie.
Deleting it immediately.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great Characters!

I cannot believe how taken I am with Belles!

This is not a genre I enjoy at all - there is nothing more painful or vapid to me then pretty rich girls going to pretty rich girl parties and wallowing in pretty rich girl drama.

So why did I buy this book? I honestly have no idea! I think it was an expiring-credits impulse-purchase and it sat in my library for well over a year before I gave it a chance.

Then why the hell did I love it so much?!?! I think that all comes down to the characters.

Calontia has crafted related characters despite the over-the-top uber-wealthy prep-school world they inhabit.

They are all character you've seen before like the rags-to-riches girl out of her depth on a red carpet, the popular girl who feels out of place in the mean girl clique and begins to fancy the artsy scholarship student over her QB BF or the rich boy who doesn't want his parents lavish lifestyle and hides his love of surfing.

But Calonita has written them with all with real heart so I actually CARED about their otherwise 'champagne problems'.

She made them sympathetic and believable so I was completely invested in the story despite knowing exactly where it was going (including the 'twist' ending) from chapter one.

I loved it so much I have immediately purchased the next two books in the series and can't wait to spend more time in the characters lives!

I highly recommend this to YA readers who like luxe worlds and character dramas as it easily the best and most relatable I've ever read.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Wish it was the first in a series

Another one I really enjoyed, a good listen that doesn't need your full attention. I reached the end of the audiobook and was disappointed that it finished - I found myself wishing it was the beginning of a series. Julia Whelan did a great job narrating, really bring the characters alive with her narration.

1 person found this helpful

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Like a modern day Great Gatsby!

I was drawn to this series bc I love Jen Calonita’s writing. This is my first introduction to Julia Whelan who does an outstanding job with all of the voices. I particularly love the one she does for Mira. Even the men are convincing and easily distinguishable. Their accents are so charming that I found myself, a born and raised NYer mimicking the belles in my speech from time to time haha.

This book is aimed at teens but I’m in my 30s and loved it. I really wish books like this would be classified as young adult/adult and not just the former. This book has a sprawling list of characters but I found them all easy to follow. I def fell in love with Emerald Cove and its rich slew of characters!

(Spoilers) As an english major, avid reader and inspiring writer, I was able to spot the main twist from the very beginning but that did not make it any less enjoyable and I was of course still hungry for the specific details. I love how the story is told in third person from both Mira and Izzy, not just one or the other.

I am not much for politics but Bill’s career plays a much needed role in this intricate tale. I found Aunt Maureen to be amazing the way she welcomed Izzy into their home and family with such grace and sincerity. I wish they would have made Izzy and Mira more than 2 months apart, I’d say 4-6 would have been a little more believable and classy. But it was good groundwork that he and Maureen were high school sweethearts. Otherwise it would have seemed too convenient that he knocked up two different women in same year.

All of the plot points of the story are very compelling. We have our two protagonists trying to coexist together and then the villainous Savannah and love interests for the girls along with their mysterious family drama. Very exciting stuff! It is amazing how I was able to feel for both girls whose feelings are valid despite their drastically different upbringings.

My impatience and hatred for Savannah was palpable as the story went on after she put both girls through such hell in different ways. Glad she got hers in the end. It was amazing how many different plotlines were going on but they all flowed into each other nicely. I loved how Izzy helped Mira be more of herself and how Mira helped temper Izzy’s rough edges.

The toxic relationship of Savannah and Brayden was very well done. Ppl often forget how abusive women can be, it does not only come from men. Mira’s cute but doomed relationship with Taylor was also very interesting and highlighted well what happens when ppl want different things.

I loved the dynamic between Emerald Cove and Harborside. Was really like a modern day great gatsby for teens! It just goes to show that ppl can be different or the same from all walks of life. So many from Emerald Cove were ugly on the inside and while they had more money, did not contribute as much to society as Izzy did.

All in all, def a major recommend!

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I tried it, I liked it!

While browsing this freebie popped up and I must say I enjoyed it! It had a bit of a twist, while slightly predictable I enjoyed many of the characters.

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Ending needed work

The ending left me wanting more closure. It left some loose ends on how relationships would be mended.

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Great story. Tear jerker at times. I would read another by this author.

I loved Izzy character and felt for her so much. Mera on the the other hand frustrated me endlessly. She was not the worst in the book (savannah had that covered) but in my opinion she took way to long to become a decent human. I would have like one chapter to see Savannah get a set down or at least all her malicious evil plots revealed. I know these aren’t real characters but these situations are real every day. I don’t wish evil back at her just a little rightful justice.

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Enjoyable light listen

This was a really enjoyable story, the narrator did a great job of bringing the characters to life. I really enjoyed the plot and the characters.

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AMAZING

This book was so interesting. It led me on making me want to continue reading,never stopping.

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  • Rachel
  • 07-29-15

Wish it was the first in a series

Another one I really enjoyed, a good listen that doesn't need your full attention. I reached the end of the audiobook and was disappointed that it finished - I found myself wishing it was the beginning of a series. Julia Whelan did a great job narrating, really bring the characters alive with her narration.