The Belles (The Belles series, Book 1) (Hardcover)
Spring 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List
“In a world where people are born gray and sallow, only a Belle and her powers can bring forth beauty. But being a Belle may prove dangerous for Camellia Beauregard, as she discovers in the royal court of Orleans, where secrets and danger lurk behind every sparkling facade. The Belles is a rich, opulent, intoxicating book - reading it feels like eating the most decadent cupcake you've ever tasted in your life. The atmosphere Clayton creates is sumptuous, and her characters are compelling, ambitious, and beautiful, though some only on the outside. I was blown away by this novel and can't wait for the author's next gorgeous book.”
— Emily Hall, Main Street Books, St.Charles, MO
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.
"A lush and intoxicating world where beauty equals power and darkness lurks in every glittering shadow."—Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Creatures & author of The Lovely
"Clayton has created a world of lush colors, beautiful people, and delicious desserts. Strong themes are interwoven in this fantasy, including choice and envy... Through the actions of the characters, teens will understand what a beauty-obsessed world really looks like and that possessing conviction and selflessness is just as beautiful as outward appearances."—School Library Journal
"Clayton... creates a vivid island world in this enticing series opener, saturating the narration with lush descriptions... that reflect the culture's 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. Where beauty and the magic behind it are painted in sinisterly sexy tones. Her characters are complex, yet relatable. This is a book where you will savor every word."—Renee Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn, The Rose and the Dagger, and the forthcoming The Fla
"I fell head-over-heels with the darkly lush world of The Belles. A book to read when you want to be transported somewhere dangerous and beautiful, where nothing is as it seems, and secrets abound."—Megan Shepherd, New York Times bestselling author of The Madman's Daughter series, The Cage series,
"The fast clip of the pace and the increasing suspense makes the hefty page count well worth it."—BCCB
"The tension and danger mounts quickly... The lore is interesting and unique... Fans of fantasy who enjoy royal intrigue, where the weak and powerless are trying to break the oppression of the powerful, will find it easy to root for the characters in this book."—School Library Connection
"Told in gorgeous prose, Dhonielle Clayton's novel sweeps readers away into an alluring and dangerous fantasy world that shrewdly examines our obsession with beauty... Don't miss out."—Bookish.com
*"Clayton impressively offers up a series starter that, despite its broad commercial appeal, doesn't shy away from facing uncomfortable truths in our own society. 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, and the rich, rotting world never wavers. Readers may be almost grateful for that cliff-hanger ending--it means there's more to come."—Booklist, starred review
*"With wonderfully descriptive language, Clayton builds a grand and lavish world, carefully chipping away at the veneer to reveal its dark, sinister interior... A refreshingly original concept, this substantial fantasy, the first in a duology, is an undeniable page-turner."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults List2018-2019 Florida Teens Read Award, finalistKirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2018, selection2018 Goodreads Choice Awards: Young Adult, NomineeBooklist 2018 Editors' ChoiceSeventeen.com: The 20 Best YA Books of 2018, selection2019 Carnegie Medal, NomineeBank Street Children's Book Committee Best Children's Books of the Year 2019 list2018 Cybils Award, Young Adult Speculative Fiction Nominee2019 Tayshas List, selectionChicago Public Library: Best Books of 2018, selectionBNTeen: Favorite YA Books of 2018, selectionThe Boston Globe: The Best Children's Books of 2018, selectionIndigo: Best Diverse Teen Books of 2018, selectionNerdy Book Club: 2018 Nerdy Award winnerEpicReads: Best Young Adult Books of 2018, selectionBuzzfeed: Best YA of 2018, selectionBrightly Teen: 18 of the Most Exciting YA Books to Read in 2018Booklist: Editor's Choice Best Books for Youth 2018Paste Magazine: 30 Best YA Novels of 2018Den of Geek!: Most Anticipated Young Adult Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2018, selection
Bustle: The 17 Best YA Books Coming in February 2018 That Make the Perfect Valentine's Day Dates, selectionTeenVogue: 10 Books to Help Young Readers Better Understand and Fight Injustice, selection (2018)The New York Times Book Review: New Y.A. Books by Women of Color Rewrite Old Cultural Scripts, selection (2018)BookRiot: Best Books of 2018 So Far, selectionRefinery29: The Ultimate YA Beach Reads of 2018, selectionBNTeen: 35 Summer Reads for Reluctant Readers (2018), selectionPennGSE Newsroom: The Best Books of 2018 for Young Readers, selectionTeenreads: Teen Choice Book Award 2019, NomineeEpicReads: 22 YA Romance Books for the Perfect New Year's Eve, selection (2018)BNTeen: 6 More Feminist Fantasy Epics for Fans of Priory of the Orange Tree, selection (2019)BookBub: The Best Book Series for Teens: An Ultimate List, selection (2019)
"The Belles is absolutely enthralling. Rich with detail and fascinating characters, this book shows us a masterfully crafted world that is both desirable and frightening. I flew through the pages and loved everything they had to offer: an intelligent and talented heroine, mysterious romance, and enduring friendships."—Marie Rutkoski, New York Times best-selling author of The Winner's Trilogy
"Clayton conjures a world both breathtakingly beautiful and deeply unsettling, populated by characters full of strengths and complexities. This is a thought-provoking story that lingers."—Marie Lu, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Young Elites
"Clayton dances between the fine lines of glittering, glamorous and gruesome. The Belles is a dazzling exploration of body power and identity, and a must-read for anyone looking for a lot more bite when it comes to beauty."— Roshani Chokshi, New York Times best-selling author of The Star Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes
"The Belles is full of political drama, palace intrigue, complex and corrupt characters, and deadly betrayals--what better tale for our modern day? Get wrapped up and swept away in this wild and unpredictable new world of fashion, magic, and murder."—Daniel Jose Older, New York Times best-selling author of Salsa Nocturna
"The Belles is a powerful discussion about the cost of beauty and what we are willing to do for it. Dhonielle Clayton creates a world both lush and dark, with prose so delectable you will savor every word."—Zoraida Cordova, author of Labyrinth Lost, The Circle Unbroken, and The Vicious Deep series