When there is a book about a boy that kicks ass and has super powers, we just call them comic books or science fiction with a nice vague title stuck on it.
When a girl has superpowers and suddenly has to protect a boy (what?), we call it Rebel Belle.
I bought the book fully expecting a nice chick-lit book a la gossip girl. But I was really wrong - again I could have read the back of the book or the goodreads summary but hey, I’ll never ever learn.
As someone who despises most supernatural stories, this book started off as a challenge for me. Harper Price is the main character - a Southern beauty queen-ish girl who is suddenly given the responsibility to protect David Stark. She’s his Paladin, an ancient protector who has supernatural powers.
Obviously, Harper can’t stand David - though for unexplainable reasons, they ALWAYS interact with each other. Harper is worried that this new “job” will ruin her relationship with her flat-charactered boyfriend Ryan and her friendship with her best friend. Instead of trusting people, and showing them that she has superpowers, she decides to hide everything from everyone (because that’s always a good idea?).
Rachel Hawkins, the author, knows how to write, which makes this book a pleasant read. It’s difficult enough to keep a reader interested while at the same time keeping a good, and quick, flow in the story. This is a skill - one that Rachel has managed to master. Action scenes are followed by conversations and there is enough diversity in this book to please any YA reader.
Harper is not an unpleasant main character, but she didn’t really do much for me. She makes a journey from average high school pretty girl to kickass protector of the most important person on earth. I would expect some major personality changes to accompany this transformation, but there really weren’t. She has some doubts about accepting her role, but she knows that David will die if she doesn’t help him, so it’s not a real surprise that she casts those doubts aside pretty soon.
David Stark is the cliché quiet guy who turns out to be pretty damn charming. Does he really change? No. But we do get to see more and more from him as the book progresses.
The real disappointment in this story comes from Ryan and his role in the story. He’s described as the perfect boyfriend - handsome, sporty, popular… Everything a teenage girl dreams of. BUT when he’s in scenes in the book, he just falls completely flat for me. He was boring, uninteresting and really, does he have nothing to say about anything at all? Ryan was also doomed from the being to end up in a love triangle with his complete opposite David.
Is that love triangle necessary? Not really, but teenage girls these days apparently love to read about a girl who has two guys drooling away after her (I don’t know why there are so many of these books anyway). Is the flat boyfriend and love story a reason to not read this book? No. There is enough action to please an anti-romance reader and the Paladin thing is original enough to keep a reader interested.
Overall, Rebel Belle is a good YA read and one of the more original ones I’ve read so far. It would have been totally perfect if some characters were less flat and just more… like teenagers.