Belle Says No – A Novel Review

“Ellieleen is a 16-year-old straight from the streets of Brooklyn, who is too shy to join her older brother’s group. She thinks that her family is too poor to afford her anything even though her father is a millionaire. She has a secret crush on a boy named Jordan, but doesn’t have the heart to tell him what it is.” This is an honest and tender coming-of-age story about how a young adult struggles with coming of age and peer pressure. The author captures the maturation of this girl’s character in short, engaging chapters that keep the reader engaged.

A few years ago, I ran across “Ellieleen’s World” which was about the author’s own mother. Like “Ellieleen’s World,” this novel is written in first person and tells the story of an aging senior with a secret past. The book was inspired by real life events, for which the family has become the victims. This was a very sad and moving read.

Ellieleen was another who didn’t speak much in these books. Her voice is that of a child, and there is a pronounced lack of emotion expressed. She speaks mostly in baby talk and seems to prefer writing as her medium of communication. One of her unnameable friends seems to be more of an online friend than a real one, and she is always trying to get her to meet other kids through chat rooms. This is done mainly for the benefit of her imaginary friend, who seems to have become her closest ally.

Ellieleen and her friend Jordan are out to find others just like them who share their common interests. They spend a lot of time discussing online games and video games. They discuss their adventures in chat rooms and board games.

When asked why she likes to play online games so much, Ellieleen responds that it gives her a chance to pretend to be someone else. She says that she likes to be someone else because it lets her explore different personalities. It also forces her to question herself. These internal questions are what make her truly unique.

This book is a great picture of friendship. The two girls are always willing to lend a helping hand to each other. Their bond is tenacious and they never give up on their quest to be best friends. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a gentle, yet inspirational read about two young women facing the challenges of adolescence.