Today I recommend: The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton.

Born one of the revered Belles in the opulent world of Orleans, where people are naturally born gray and seek the talented Belles to transform themselves with beauty, Camellia dreams of being declared the queen’s favorite before her arrival at court exposes dark and dangerous realities within the palace walls.

I read this book all in one night, that’s how much I was enjoying it. The very idea of the whole world revolving around a group of young women with the power to change others appearances was fascinating. Camellia also struggles with issues that are familiar to us – the pressure to appear perfect and to conform to expectations, and struggles with a bully who manipulates her emotionally. There is a darker aspect to the book that I was not expecting from the brief description – readers may wish to be aware that there is an attempted sexual assault and a few graphic descriptions of violence and death. But for readers who like fantasy and dystopian books this is an excellent series starter – the cliffhanger will leave you waiting for the next book.

You can find this book in the Young Adult Fiction section at YA CLAYTON.