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The Belles

Review

The Belles

THE BELLES is the latest release from Dhonielle Clayton, who is the co-author of the Tiny Pretty Things duology, and COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books. As Clayton dives into the young adult fantasy world, she produces a wonderfully written, diverse novel that will keep you questioning what you believe until the very end.

"THE BELLES is exquisitely written, with descriptions that easily make the world feel like you're a part of it….Even beyond the exquisite writing, the setting and plot progression…was meticulous and well-crafted."

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. Or rather, a young woman who lives in the world of Orléans, who also has the ability to give her customers the beauty they so desire --- because in the world of Orléans, the citizens are born gray and damned without the help of a Belle. An ambitious young lady, Camellia doesn't just want to be a Belle, she wants to be the best Belle, chosen to live in the palace with the Queen of Orléans. However, Camellia's wish soon begins to shift when she is given the opportunity she's always dreamed of, and it isn't quite what she or her Belle sisters expect.

THE BELLES is exquisitely written, with descriptions that easily make the world feel like you're a part of it. From the delicious food and drink described to the elegant fashions of Orléans, and even to the ghastly transformations the citizens undergo in order to obtain beauty, THE BELLES is exquisite. Aside from writing, this book has all the makings to provide a wonderful new hero for young women. Camellia is compassionate and recognizes her flaws, despite her attempts to be perfect. Not only that, but the subtle irony of beauty being power in such an evil and corrupted world provides some very fascinating parallels to the world today and our standards of beauty. Clayton gives readers insight to the possibility of a world where beauty is not only important, it is everything; she challenges society's standards of what it means to be beautiful and why we value it so much.

Even beyond the exquisite writing, the setting and plot progression of THE BELLES was meticulous and well-crafted. There were parts where I found myself getting frustrated because I couldn't read fast enough to ease my suspicion and intrigue. To say the very least, I will very much be anticipating the next book in the series following the ending, which absolutely took me by complete and utter surprise. Not only this, but the power of sisterhood engrained throughout this story made it such a joy to read, as even though there was a slight romantic plot progression, the bond between Camellia and her sisters had the makings of a wonderful connection not often seen in young adult. The sisters love each other, and to see scenes where they interact made me feel much honored to have not only a sister, but similar strong friendships of my own.

For fans of the world and whimsy of Disney's The Princess and the Frog, or for those who love the setting and style of The Selection series by Kiera Cass, THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton gives readers an insight into the dark future of a world where beauty is the only thing of value, and those with access are the only ones who can control it.

Reviewed by Savana W., Teen Board Member on February 14, 2018

The Belles
by Dhonielle Clayton