Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control beauty, and beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.
But it's not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite-the Belle chosen by the queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land.
But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie-that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.
With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.
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About the Author
Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton met while attending the New School's acclaimed Writing for Children MFA program. Sona is a journalist who has written for the New York Times, People, Parade, Cosmopolitan, and other major media. Dhonielle is a librarian at a middle school in Harlem, and taught English at a cutthroat ballet academy. Together, the pair cofounded CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent. Find them online at www.cakeliterary.com.
Rosie Jones is a voice talent and audiobook narrator.
A voluptuous, dazzling fairy tale of desire, ambition, and unrelenting beauty.-- "Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author"
Clayton creates a rich, luscious world, gripping plot, and strong characters that'll have you wanting the sequel ASAP.-- "BuzzFeed"
Decadent food, beautiful dresses, and a kick-ass girl that's gotta save the day...The Belles is a fantastic commentary on beauty and race, with female friendships.-- "BookRiot"
Introduces readers to a world in which magical Belles control the essence of beauty...This book kicks off a new series you absolutely won't want to miss.-- "Paste magazine"
Exciting and beautifully imagined...The page-turner factor is high with Clayton's lush descriptions, the perfect amount of intrigue and delicious mystery, and a surprising love story. Camellia is a strong heroine whose impulsive nature gets her in trouble, but it's her resilience, strong moral character, and firm sense of self that many readers will admire.-- "RT Book Reviews (4 1/2 stars, Top Pick!)"
Author Clayton's exotic world is perfectly matched to narrator Jones' breathy and silky-smooth voice. Her pronunciations of names and locations are simultaneously foreign and familiar. Her pitch and cadence flow like sweet honey-neither sharp nor rushed. Her character voices are crisp and flawless, refreshingly recognizable without being exaggerated.-- "Booklist (audio review)"
Narrator Rosie Jones introduces Camellia Beauregard and her sisters with a posh British accent...The large cast of characters is no obstacle for Jones, who comes with a full stock of voices. She routinely switches up her cadence and sometimes drops her accent entirely to bring variety to the courtiers who are vying to control Camellia's talents, including the benevolent Princess Sophia, whose sweet voice becomes utterly terrifying as the tale unfolds.-- "AudioFile"
With wonderfully descriptive language, Clayton builds a grand and lavish world, carefully chipping away at the veneer to reveal its dark, sinister interior...An undeniable page-turner.-- "Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"
The dual natures of ugliness and shame, the commodification of beauty and of women, the drive for perfection at any cost, the widening of one girl's moral landscape-all of it comes into play here. But even as it does, the action never slows.-- "Booklist (starred review)"
Strong themes are interwoven in this fantasy, including choice and envy. This work challenges readers to reflect on their notions of beauty. Through the actions of the characters, teens will understand what a beauty-obsessed world really looks like...A must-have addition to libraries.-- "School Library Journal"
Clayton creates a vivid island world...[and its] obsession with elegance, appearance, and luxury. Readers will be left with much to consider about morality, individuality, and the malleability and artificiality of beauty.-- "Publishers Weekly"
From the first page, this book completely mesmerized me. Dhonielle Clayton has written a lush, immersive tale about a world where nothing is as it seems.-- "Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath & the Dawn, The Rose & the Dagger, and Flame in the Mist"
A powerful discussion about the cost of beauty and what we are willing to do for it.-- "Zoraida Cordova, author of Labyrinth Lost"