Isabelle "Izzy" Scott lives with her grandmother in Harborside, a rundown beach town that outsiders view as dangerous and tacky. Izzy loves it, though: she's a star on the local swim team, extremely active at the Community Center, and appreciates the way the close-knit community has helped her deal with her grandmother's rapidly progressing dementia. Plus, she's just spent the entire summer with her new friend Brayden, a super-cute guy from out of town—he's a bit squirrely about where he's actually from—who's been teaching her to surf.
So it's a huge blow when her social worker informs her that A) her grandmother is no longer a fit guardian, so B) she's getting moved into a nursing home, while C) Izzy will be moving in with long-lost relatives who live in super-swanky Emerald Cove. Suddenly, she has to deal with the loss of her home, her grandmother, her friends and promising new romance, AS WELL AS new cousins, a completely new culture, and living in the public eye, because her new uncle? Is a politician in the midst of a run for a seat in the US Senate.
But, hey, surprise! Brayden lives in Emerald Cove. Well, at least she's going to the same school as him. That'll be cool, right? Oh, WAIT. He's dating the Queen Bee.
Who despises Izzy on sight.
And is best friends with Izzy's new cousin.
So, are you getting an O.C. vibe? Yeah, me too. Minus the grainy-cam, the juvie, and the bromance, and set in North Carolina instead of California, the basic premise of Belles has a whole lot in common with The O.C.
And now I'm craving a dose of the theme song, so let's indulge for a moment:
Anyway, Belles. There's really not a whole lot to say, as it's very what-you-see-is-what-you-get, with some super-sudsy entertaining soap-opera plot twists and a delightfully, bitchily evil adult antagonist. Fingers crossed that the CW picks it up, because with a good cast, it could be loads and loads of fun. AND OH MY GOD, THEY COULD CAST TAYLOR HANDLEY (BETTER KNOWN AS OLIVER TRASK) AS THE AFOREMENTIONED BITCHILY EVIL ADULT ANTAGONIST.
THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.
Especially highly recommended to fans of Sara Shepherd's Lying Game series, but it'll be an easy pick for any reader who likes the Mean Rich Girl subgenre.
Book source: ILLed through my library. This book was read for the 2012 Cybils season.