* This is the second book in a series so there are some spoilers for BELLES *I read and enjoyed Belles last year, and bought the follow-up novel shortly after it came out, hoping to have a repeat experience with Winter White. I really liked both our main characters, cousins Izzie and Mira, revealed to be half-sisters at the end of Belles, and I was looking forward to seeing how they and their family and peers were dealing with that revelation. Thankfully, although Winter White does become predictable at times, Jen Calonita's engaging writing style and fun story-telling ensures I'll stick around for the third book!
Both Mirabelle and Isabelle began to grow as characters in Belles, and even though Winter White picks up only a few weeks later, the changes in how they treat one another are already evident. I really liked seeing them stick together, and begin to develop not just a tolerance for one another, but a closer relationship. I worried that they wouldn't be able to get along, so it was a nice change from the first book to see them bonding. I also thought it was interesting seeing that, even as they changed for the better, both girls retained the quirks that made me fall for them in the beginning! Izzie is still stubborn yet likeable, and Mira is still flouncy, yet gaining in substance, even as cotillion nears.
The romance in Winter White is back, and although it doesn't overshadow the main plot of this sequel, it is a nice secondary storyline! Both Mira and Izzie are struggling with their feelings for their respective boys, and it's done in such a true to life way that it reminded me of being 15, head over heels for a boy, and wondering if it would all work out. There were times I wanted to shake not just the boys, but the girls, because of course we have some drama, but I was happy with how it all worked out in the end.
Winter White is a nice, fun story, that doesn't offer any ground-breaking revelations, and does make use of one or two slightly tired plot lines, but it's such an engaging story that I can overlook the tropes. It's just a cute, sweet story about a family trying to overcome the odds and come together, and I can't help but continue to cheer for the main characters. Teenage fans and adult readers alike will find their hearts softened by Mira and Izzie!
To see this review and enter a giveaway for both Belles/Winter White, visit my blog!