Rebel Belle goes down like a glass of cool, sweet tea on a hot summer’s day. As a big fan of both Hex Hall and School Spirits, I’m always excited when I hear there’s a new Rachel Hawkins book on the horizon, and this freaking cover had me panting with excitement. SO pretty! And full of potential kickassery! When Tonya sent me her copy from YAllFest, I was giddy with joy.
You’ll be happy to know that the contents are just as fun as the packaging. The book starts out with Harper Price, southern belle, all gussied up at a school dance–only to find that some guy has passed on his not-of-this-earth abilities to her after she witnesses his death in the girls’ bathroom. Eventually she finds out that she’s charged with protecting David Stark, a former childhood friend, but the problem is, David’s mission in life seems to be to make her life absolutely miserable. Oh, and she has to figure out what she can do with her new powers and also has a boyfriend who’s wondering why she has to spend all this time with this other guy. I mean, talk about awkward.
There are some similarities to the Hex Hall series for sure, but I always enjoy the author’s lighthearted, breezy tone. I also love the genteel southern setting here, as well as how Harper turns all that upside down as she tries to navigate her new duties as a guardian to a guy she doesn’t always get along with. The story isn’t enormously complicated, but it is funny and engaging, and it’s great to have YA that’s appealing to all ages, while still being appropriate content- and romance-wise to the younger readers in the spectrum.
Rebel Belle is a perfectly fluffy cake of a book…and I really, really enjoy cake.
Harper decides to make an “apology cake” at one point, and I had never heard of the one she whips up: hummingbird cake! Apparently it originated in the south, which makes sense given the author’s southern roots and since Rebel Belle is set in Alabama. I had no idea how this cake was supposed to taste, but I was fascinated by the idea of the bananas and pineapples in it. I did a ton of research to crib together a few recipes to make my own, adapting it to be gluten-free for Mr. Darling’s sake. I was a bit nervous about taking this on since I’m not the world’s most experienced cake baker, but I figured hey, cream cheese frosting would hide a lot of flaws if there were issues.
I’m happy to report that it turned out to be problem-free and pretty darned delicious, however, and everyone who tasted it was crazy about it. If you’d like to try out the recipe, feel free to download one of the two versions below. I promise, it’s a very easy cake to make, and the extra steps are worth the effort.
I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did! Best enjoyed, of course, while reading Rebel Belle.
Our friends at Putnam Juvenile are also kind enough to offer up an ARC to give away to our lovely readers. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you love Rachel Hawkins books OR which humorous YA books are your favorites!
Open to US and Canadian residents aged 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission. Good luck!