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The Belles
Contributor(s): Clayton, Dhonielle
ISBN: 1484728491     ISBN-13: 9781484728499
Publisher: Freeform
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: February 2018
Annotation: "In a world where Beauty is a commodity only a few control, one Belle will learn the dark secrets behind her powers, and rise up to change the world"--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Beauty, Personal; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2016054241
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Series: Belles
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 9.00" H x 6.50" W x 1.75" (1.40 lbs) 434 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q72585
Reading Level: 4.7   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 25.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #3)
In the fantastical courtly society of Orléans, everyone is born ugly—"skin pallid, gray, and shriveled, eyes cherry red, hair like straw—as if all the color was leeched out of them." Everyone, that is, except the Belles, the few girls in each generation blessed by the Goddess of Beauty with innate loveliness (of diverse skin tones and body shapes) and the supernatural ability to manipulate the appearance and personality traits of others. The Belles' gifts require long study and discipline to refine; the treatments are exhausting for the Belles and often excruciatingly painful for their clients. As the Queen's Favorite Belle, Camille moves into the palace to provide beauty services to royals and aristocrats. Her primary client, Princess Sophia, soon reveals her sociopathic obsession with becoming the most beautiful in all of Orléans—as well as her insatiable thirst for power. In this deceit-filled and dangerous environment, Camille must make alliances and decide whether to use her gifts to intervene in Sophia's schemes. In an immediate present tense, Clayton vividly describes dazzling fashion and lavish galas in profound contrast to gruesome, invasive treatments and extreme class disparity. And while Clayton's primary theme is the destructiveness wrought by societally imposed beauty ideals, she also touches upon other systems of exploitation, including slavery, racism and colorism, rape culture, and forced labor. The (slightly rushed) ending leaves many questions to be explored in projected further installments. katie bircher Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 November #3)

Sixteen-year-old sisters Camellia, Edelweiss, Ambrosia, Padma, Valeria, and Hana are the new generation of Belles, young women who are responsible for keeping the citizens of Orléans beautiful, magically transforming their appearances to align with the latest trends. Descendants of the Goddess of Beauty, the Belles are paid to perform their magic to prevent their people from reverting to pallid, red-eyed creatures, their natural state. Talented Camellia believes that she will be selected as the Queen's favorite, a role the sisters covet deeply. But when another Belle is chosen, and Camellia is assigned to a teahouse to perform beauty rituals on the wealthy, she begins to wonder if what she has always believed about the Belles is true. Clayton (coauthor of Tiny Pretty Things) creates a vivid island world in this enticing series opener, saturating the narration with lush descriptions ("Carts hold tiers of pastries frosted in rose-petal pinks and pearly whites and apple reds, flutes overflow with jewel-tone liquids") that reflect the culture's obsession with elegance, appearance, and luxury. Readers will be left with much to consider about morality, individuality, and the malleability and artificiality of beauty. Ages 14–up. Agent: Victoria Marini, Irene Goodman Literary. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 January)

POPGr 8 Up—When the Goddess paid more attention to her children, the humans, the God of the Sky became jealous and cursed them to have skin of colorless sky. Never one to abandon her children, Beauty created The Belles to bring beauty back to the damned. Camillia Beauregard and her sisters are Belles, vessels of beauty, and their time has come to save Orleans from a life of unbearable sameness, but they must first be placed in houses. The coveted position is The Favorite, and to serve the royal family. Camillia desires to be chosen Favorite like her mother and when her time comes to shine, she is unforgettable. Sophia the Queen Regent does not forget her. As Camillia begins her life of royal servitude, she starts to see the underbelly of her world—mysterious cries within the walls, veiled Belles of a time passed, and people who risk their lives to be beautiful. The grandest realization is the volatile temperament of Sophia. Camillia must make a choice—be the vessel of beauty and follow every command or use her powers to save her world from Sophia. Clayton has created a world full of lush colors, beautiful people, and delicious desserts. Strong themes are interwoven in this fantasy, including choice and envy. This work challenges readers to reflect on their notions of beauty. Through the actions of the characters, teens will understand what a beauty-obsessed world really looks like and that possessing conviction and selflessness is just as beautiful as outward appearances. VERDICT A must-have addition to libraries with fans of The Selection by Kiera Cass.—Dawn Abron, Zion-Benton Public Library, IL

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.