There is always a price to beauty

The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton

Want a smaller waist? A fuller bust or maybe a darker complexion. No longer do you have to go under the knife and have long recovery times. Instead of a surgeon doing alterations, the Belles are the artists. Every year there is a celebration to introduce all the coming of age Belles and to choose the Favorite, which will serve the royal family. Camellia is a Belle participating and hoping to become the Favorite. But be careful what you wish for because there is always a price for beauty and the standards are always moving. 

 

Pro: 

 

- Camellia is an amazing character. I loved her fierce determination and bold ideas. She wanted to create a path for herself that did not conform to others perspective. Even though sometimes these strong ideas and stubbornness would get her in trouble, she always tried to do whats best. Talking with others and checking her emotions to come to a clearer conclusion. Yet, she was made human by making mistakes and in turn trying to learn from her mistakes. I loved her resistance to the standards of beauty and the maintenance it required. She wanted to find the natural beauty in every person she tended to and met. 

 

- The idea of individuals manipulating features on a person was fascinating to me. How the Belles, through their gift, can change a person drastically in a small amount of time. They can change height, weight, skin color etc to what the person envisions. Clayton does a beautiful job of describing the process of manipulating beauty. Clayton also does an amazing job in displaying how the standards of beauty are constantly changing and the pressure of keeping up with the trends, the toll it takes on both the Belles, culture, and population. 

 

- This book I feel reflects the relationship we have with beauty presently. There is an impossible standard that is being set with the filters, social media and makeup that want to enhance, cover or correct. More is needed instead of less and the need to show the world how beautiful and perfect you are is reflected in the plot of this book. I have nothing against looking your best and wanting to put your best foot forward. It just seems instead of having conversations and learning we are replacing this with who has the most likes or the best contouring. 

 

_ I loved the mixture of relationships in the book. Although the alternative relationships were not accepted, Camellia had an open mind and saw past sexual preferences. This too reminded me of how our culture tends to be a don't ask don't tell society. The princesses ladies and the court had one life that was what the princess wanted but often that did not mirror their private lives. 

 

Con: 

 

-Some of the twist and surprises were anticipated and I could guess early on. Maybe I have read a lot of YA to know the clues. 

 

- I would have liked to learn more about what the Belles learned before they came to court and their history. So when they go to their coming out celebration a stronger bond with each character and really cheer for Camellia. 

 

Quotes:

 

- Dreams remind us of who we are and how we feel about the things around us

 

- Lies are as dangerous as a sword. They can cut to the bone.

 

- No one is a prisoner... Even you have the power to make your own choices

 

- Love is when hearts beat together