Last night I finished reading (i.e. listening to the audiobook for) Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins. This book is the story of Harper Price, and let me first tell you that Harper is as southern as a Southern belle can be, or, at least, that is the way in which the narrator of the audiobook chose to portray her. To be honest, I almost stopped listening when I first heard Harper’s accent. I tried my hardest not to hold it against her, since I know that if I were reading the book on my own the accent wouldn’t have been as prominent of a character trait, but it was really really hard.
In Rebel Belle, Harper attends her Homecoming dance and, having forgot to put lip gloss on, must go to the bathroom to apply some. Then things get weird rather quickly. I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading hearing. I’m not going to try to explain what exactly happens, not because it’d be a spoiler, I mean, it’s within the first chapter of the book, but because I want you to experience it for yourself. Long/weird story short, Harper becomes a Paladin. What is a Paladin? A Paladin, in this universe, is basically a guardian for the Oracle. Who is the Oracle? David Stark, a boy who just so happens to be Harper’s “least favorite person.”
Now, this is where the book lost me. Yes, I was highly interested in her duties as a Paladin. Yes, I was highly interested in David’s character (because I love anyone with the last name Stark). But at the same time, I was extremely irritated with Harper’s immaturity. I was irritated so much that it had me questioning whether I would even finish the book. Harper, throughout the first two thirds of the novel, doesn’t want to be seen with David, because people might get the wrong idea. I understand, somewhat, that she doesn’t want people to think she likes him because Harper has a boyfriend, but I DO NOT accept the notion that she doesn’t want people to think she likes him because he’s “David Stark” and not worthy of being her potential boyfriend.
The petty nature of Harper’s mindset was too much for me. I understand that it may be realistic to how some teenagers act, I’m not knocking Rachel Hawkins, but it was just too much. I will forever read YA novels. I will probably still be reading YA when I’m on my deathbed. That being said, I think Harper was just too immature for me. I didn’t want to read about her or her so-called problems, which is problematic considering that’s what the entire book is about. I can only hope that Harper continues on her path to maturity, which we got glimpses of at the end of the book, in the next book, because yes, I will read the sequel, but this time on my own, with no Southern accent to distract me. I can only hope that that will help Harper’s appeal.