This book is about The Belles, a group of young women who control beauty. The author starts the book describing the square in New Orleans where six girls are having a debut for their sixteenth birthday. All of the decorations are described perfectly and can easily paint a picture in your mind, transporting you into the book.
We find out that Camellia Beauregard (the main character) and her fellow debutantes will have to showcase the arcana. Arcana is the power to transform a regular person into looking fabulous. The girls have been practicing for years in order to perfect it. Camellia wants to be just like her mom who had been named the favorite.
During Camellia's showcase she must transform a dull and gray girl into a masterpiece. However the girl is not happy with being forced to transform and constantly attempts to get off stage. After much pleading, Camellia is finally able to coax this young girl into letting her transform her. The chapter ends with a haunting line of "Beauty is in the blood", which leaves readers wondering; how far are these ladies willing to go in order to become a belle?