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Buffy, Debutante Style | Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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rebel belle rachel hawkins book review

Title & Author: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Magic, Paranormal

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Series: Rebel Belle #1

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

How I Got the Book: Bought

“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.”

Southern, Butt-Kicking Barbie

I always seem to relate to overachiever type characters. And, let me tell you, Harper is a MEGA, SUPER, over-the-top overachiever. She’s the head of every club, at the top of her class (except for that annoying David Stark) and if that isn’t enough, she also practices every day after school for the upcoming cotillion.

Harper’s the type of girl to have a life plan and stick to it. But, the evening of homecoming, her life takes a turn she never could have imagined. She’s introduced to the world of mages and paladins. And she’s forced to protect the one person who she truly despises….David Stark.

Rebel Belle could have gone wrong. It’s set in the South, which can become a caricature if authors let it. But, Hawkins took a nice route, letting the setting and culture speak for itself without overlaying exaggerated accents or “Southern charm.”

Don’t get me wrong, the cotillions and hospitality is very real here, but it wasn’t over the top, you know? I didn’t feel like anyone was being made fun of.

I also appreciated the best friend situation in Rebel Belle. Harper and her bestie Bee have been friends forever, and I liked seeing that their relationship wasn’t compromised by boys. Harper does have to keep secrets from Bee, but she tries to tell her as much as she can without endangering her. But, I liked how Harper acknowledged that Bee knew something was up, as they’d known each other forever. The oblivious best friend situation can be irritating at times and was avoided here.

Love/Hate Relationships

I loved everything about the romance, too. It’s so sweet and slow and sassy (I love playful banter). There is a slight love triangle situation, but it gets resolved within this first book. Thank goodness.

Rebel Belle introduced a new type of magic and system that I haven’t read before. This new world that the author built was so refreshing. In fantasy books especially, the fantasy part can get repetitive. I mean, book magic is usually different enough to distinguish themselves from each other, but sometimes that’s not enough.

I liked the idea of a team of magic beings and guardians who have a common purpose and need each other. It was really inventive.

This is a fun book. I can’t say that about every YA fantasy, but this novel has great dialogue and crazy situations and twisting surprises and bumps along the way.


The standout quality of this story was Harper and the hidden depth behind her type-A personality and Southern all-American girl personality. The setting added to the story instead of taking away from it, as “the South” can be a stereotyped element in stories. I was definitely impressed with the humor, sass and magic in Rebel Bell, and I think other YA fantasy readers will really enjoy this story, too.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Anya E. J.

    It took me a while to realize that this one was fantasy, but I do now own a copy and am even more convinced it’ll be a perfect palate cleansing book when I need something fun and different than what I normally read 😀