The Belles

The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton

I love dressing up and putting on makeup, but I so seldom have the energy for it that I have to live vicariously through shows like Next Top Model and Project Runway. I bought this book thinking it would scratch that itch while also delivering a pretty strong message about how stupid and harmful arbitrary beauty standards are. And it did scratch that itch. It scratched and scratched and scratched and scratched until it stopped feeling good and started to irritate. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I thought the book spent too much time in wardrobes and beauty treatment salons and not enough time on the plot. I was so bored that I almost abandoned the book in the sagging middle, which would have been a shame because it’s a decent plot once it picks up momentum in the last hundred or so pages. I’m interested enough to read the sequel whenever I can get my hands on it (cliffhanger ending, ugh), but it was a slog. A decadent, beautifully-described slog.