Rebel Belle, by Rachel Hawkins

Bestselling YA author Rachel Hawkins has a new iron in the fire. Her latest book Rebel Belle is the first installment in a projected trilogy, and thus far I'm pretty excited about it. It's action-packed, wryly funny, and romantic, and as long as it ends on a less irritating note than her Hex Hall series did, Ms. Hawkins should have an enormous hit on her hands.

Popular, hardworking, and overflowing with school spirit, Harper Price is the Queen Bee of her Southern prep school. She has a perfect boyfriend, an excellent academic record, and a gorgeous dress already picked out for her upcoming Cotillion. The only fly in her ointment is David Stark, the geeky school reporter who's been doing his best to annoy Harper since they were both in daycare. So when a dying school janitor forces Harper to take on the magical duties of a Paladin, her biggest problem isn't learning how to become a super-powered protector—it's accepting that David is the person she's fated to protect.

The weakest element of Rebel Belle is its romantic angst. Harper and David's squabbling practically crackles with chemistry, which means that most of Harper's many, many interactions with her boyfriend Ryan feel like wheel-spinning. Ryan's character is redeemed (well, mostly) by a plot twist at the end of the novel, but that wasn't enough to erase the impression of literary dead weight.

Boring romantic waffling aside, I can forgive almost anything of a fast-paced, snarky book that allows its heroine to kick ass and take names, and makes its hero the delicate “Chosen One” in need of protection. I'm still hoping Ms. Hawkins takes the time to write a sequel to last year's highly entertaining School Spirits, but Rebel Belle is a more than acceptable substitute. I'm already looking forward to the next installment, and wouldn't be at all surprised to see the CW eyeing the story as a possible TV adaptation.
Posted by: Julianka


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