Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: WINTER WHITE by Jen Calonita

Isabelle Scott and Mirabelle Monroe are still reeling from the revelation that they share more than just the roof over their heads. The media has pounced on their story and the girls are caught up in a flurry of talk-show appearances and newspaper interviews. They've put on a happy public face, but someone is leaking their true feelings to the press, and while it seems like the world is watching their every move, at least they have each other.

But with cotillion season right around the corner, Izzie and Mira have barely had time to process their newfound sisterhood. Mira has dreamed of making her debut in a gorgeous white gown forever-now, if only she could find an escort. Izzie, meanwhile, is still struggling to find her place in Emerald Cove and it's seeming ever more impossible with EC mean-girls, young and old, doing their best to keep her down. As cotillion preparations heat up, though, there are dance steps to learn, manners to perfect... and secret initiations to complete? As if sophomore year wasn't hard enough!

It's time for the gowns to go on and the gloves to come off.

*WARNING* This is a sequel. If you have not read the first book, you might not want to read this review. So go buy it/borrow it/get it from the library/steal it (okay, don’t do that one!). Then come back here.

First off, I adore Jen Calonita. I've read every one of her books, own a few, and get them from the library constantly. Her books are ones that I love to just curl up and relax with. Her characters feel real and amazing and I want to be like them. I stinking love her books.

Her first book in the series, Belles, was great. I loved the plot and how she created the characters. I didn't have just one main girl character to enjoy, I had two. When you have two main characters, it’s easy to not feel connected with them, especially in third person. But I didn't feel that way at all with Izzie and Mira. I read it once then got it for my birthday a couple months ago. Right when I found out there was a sequel, I pre-ordered it. My day got even better when it arrived early. Who doesn't love getting books in the mail? Finally, I dove in.

Mira and Izzie found out about their true relationship with each other at the end of the last book. Their father is one and the same. In this book, they’re trying to deal with it all. Since their father Bill is running for Senate, he’s trying to clear away the “scandal” while others are popping up all over the place. Both girls don’t want to talk to him, much less be in the same room as him. Added on to all of that, they’re also participating in the famous cotillion. Mira has been dreaming about it for her whole life, while Izzie is only sticking with it for two reasons: to please Aunt Maureen and Mira and to do the initiation while watching Savannah Ingram suffer.

Along with the scandals and cotillion, both girls are having boy trouble–of course. Mira is confused about her relationship/friendship with Kellen while Izzie wants Brayden to step up and be a man. He couldn't stand up to his mommy, but he did yell at his sister a couple of times. His sister was another character that was introduced this book. Dylan is the black sheep of the family and dislikes her parents greatly. She even has a few problems with her brother. She manipulates him which then causes him to lose it with her. He tells her to stop, even though he can’t even do that to his mother where evil Savannah is concerned. I was with Izzie on this one. If he liked her so much, why couldn't he defend her and their relationship?

Mira did start creeping up on my nerves in one area. I felt that Mira was angrier and more unforgiving toward her father than Izzie was. That didn't settle right with me. In my mind, Mira had some right but not all. Her brothers forgave him. Why not her? I know it’s wrong, but Izzie was the one who had the most right to be angry. She didn't know who her father was! Mira did. So Mira and her “poor me” act grated on me in pieces of the book. I did sympathize with her in some aspects, but Izzie will always be my favorite by far.

"A person's a person no matter how small."
Horton Hears a Who
Now, if you are like my sister, I don’t recommend this book for you. She doesn't like contemporary and she would be very annoyed at the mysteries since they were easily figured out. It is also not a dystopian, mystery, action, or historic novel. This is a contemporary YA fiction book. Got that? And I personally love that there’s no cursing or sexual innuendo. And it still felt realistic. Not every contemporary book has to be a Sarah Dessen novel. Not every YA book has to have a PG-13 rating. Jen Calonita does a great job of being herself and writing amazing books. Books with enjoyable characters and dynamics. Every problem is a problem, no matter what it is.

I felt as if I could be friends with these characters. I could picture their world. It might not have been dystopian, but their world was different than mine. These teenage girls might not have undermined a government, but they do go against some pretty mean people.

The great part of this book was that it was very light and easy. There were conflicts, but I had a great time reading it. Jen Calonita even mentioned a character from her other series! That made me extremely giddy. It’s great when a character you love is mentioned somewhere else.

Did I mention how much I love Jen Calonita?

Word to Parents: I really don’t see why it wouldn't be fine, it was clean.


  1. You just put this on my TBR list! I love contemporary books and enjoyed Jen's 'Secrets of my Hollywood Life' series (my favorite one was the New York/Broadway one) and 'Sleepaway Girls'. I also love how you said there’s no cursing or sexual innuendo. That's a major selling point for me. :)

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    1. Oh, yay! I'm glad :) Ah, finally! I LOVED Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Sleepaway Girls but when I recommended "Secrets" to one friend, she didn't like it. I was shocked. Yes, I was REALLY pleased about that.