Here's the summary from Goodreads: Fifteen-year-old Isabelle Scott loves her life by the boardwalk on the supposed wrong side of the tracks in North Carolina. But when tragedy strikes, a social worker sends her to live with a long-lost uncle and his preppy privileged family. Isabelle is taken away from everything she's ever known, and, unfortunately, inserting her into the glamorous lifestyle of Emerald Cove doesn't go so well. Her cousin Mirabelle Monroe isn't thrilled to share her life with an outsider, and, in addition to dealing with all the rumors and backstabbing that lurk beneath their classmates' Southern charm, a secret is unfolding that will change both girls' lives forever.
What I Liked: 1) I really liked Isabelle. I thought she was grounded and realistic, and very easy to like. Miz Calonita did a great job in building her up to be a likeable person who also grows as a person and tries, though struggles to keep her beliefs intact no matter how much her world changes. She captured a teen's struggle very well. 2) The setting. I don't just mean the physical places they are visiting. But I guess it was the details that made the setting jump off the page. Everything was described to an extent that it should have been too much, but it wasn't. In fact, it highlighted ever more succinctly the polar opposites from Isabelle and Mirabelle's worlds. 3) I loved hating Savannah. You're supposed to hate this girl, it's pretty obvious with the way that she's written. She's a witch, she knows it, and doesn't care. She was a well-written villain. She goes a little over the top sometimes, but because Isabelle was so normal, Savannah and even Mirabelle had to be over the top to counterbalance that. 4) The finale. I liked the big reveal at the end. It was what needed to happen, and I couldn't see it ending any other way. Of course, I also saw it coming.
What I Didn't Like: 1) I was disappointed in Mirabelle. She was just kind of wishy-washy. Not a leader, not the true opposite of Isabelle, and I think we needed to see more of that. Of course as one of the dual MCs, she had to come around and be likeable, but she was just kind of...plain. A mindless follower for most of the story. Not great in an MC. 2) There were also some love stories going on that never fully came to be. They were hinted at and then were all of a sudden happening. It wasn't even really like insta-love. It was more like, "did I miss a few pages, love."
Overall Thoughts: Belles was a predictable little contemporary story with one strong lead MC, and one meh MC. There are things to be enjoyed in this story by any lover of contemporary fiction, and the ending will leave you satisfied. Get immersed in the details of the polar opposite worlds these girls come from and watch as they try to navigate a new life. Belles is for anyone who likes fluffy contemporary fiction with little to no edge, and typical "mean girls" antics.
My Rating: 3 shots