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Beautiful Malice

Beautiful Malice Cover

ISBN13: 9780553808056
ISBN10: 0553808052
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An international sensation that The Wall Street Journal called a “publishing phenomenon,” this layered, poignant, and chilling novel of psychological suspense is the year’s most stunning American fiction debut. From its wrenching opening to its shocking climax, Beautiful Malice unfolds a haunting story in which people, motives, and circumstances are never what they seem.

Who is Katherine Patterson? It is a question she hopes no one can answer. To erase her past, Katherine has moved to a new city, enrolled in a new school, and even changed her name. She’s done the next best thing to disappearing altogether. Now, wary and alone, she seeks nothing more than anonymity. What she finds instead is the last thing she expected: a friend.

Even more unlikely, Katherine’s new friend is the most popular and magnetic girl in school. Extroverted, gorgeous, flirtatious, and unpredictable, she is everything that Katherine is not and doesn’t want to be: the center of attention. Yet Alice’s enthusiasm is infectious, her candor sometimes unsettling, and Katherine, in spite of her guarded caution, finds herself drawn into Alice’s private circle.

But Alice has secrets, too—darker than anyone can begin to imagine. And when she lets her guard down at last, Katherine discovers the darkest of them all. For there will be no escaping the past for Katherine Patterson—only a descent into a trap far more sinister . . . and infinitely more seductive.

Review:

"'I didn't go to Alice's funeral.' So opens Australian author James's impressive debut, a searing coming-of-age novel that deftly intertwines two violent backstories. Studious Katherine Patterson, who's reading a book under a tree during lunchtime at her Sydney high school, is surprised when Alice Parrie, 'beautiful, popular, impossible to miss,' hands Katherine an invitation to her 18th birthday party. Alice draws Katherine, who has her reasons for remaining aloof from others, into an addictive relationship that fatally sours as one disturbing secret after another comes to light. James, gifted with unusual insight into teenage agonies, probes Katherine's raw-nerve guilt over her sister Rachel's murder, Alice's self-destructive narcissism, and the healing power of young love. This unflinching exploration of psychological manipulation and the tragedies it creates introduces a promising new talent in literary suspense. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

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About the Author

Rebecca James was born in Sydney and spent her twenties teaching English in Indonesia and Japan. She currently lives in Armidale, Australia, with her partner and their four sons. She is at work on her next novel, to be published by Bantam.

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irisheyz_5, August 19, 2010 (view all comments by irisheyz_5)
As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere

Where to start...

There were just so many things about Beautiful Malice that did not work for me. First lets start with the setting. For the most part the setting is unclear, ambiguous but then the main characters all go for this weekend holiday in a town located in New South Wales, Australia. I was like...yes...finally a clear setting and one that makes the language of the book make sense. Australians just have a slightly different way of speaking than Americans - the cadences of words are just different. But then when the gang meets up with Ben - the author makes a point to say that he was Australian and that one reason why Alice dated him was for his accent. That just baffled me as by this point I thought they were all Australian. Then a few pages later Ben is telling a story and mentions when he first came to the state....and I just went huh? It didn't make sense since the only place that was ever mentioned was a place location in Australia - and living stateside you don't exactly make a weekend trip to Australia....especially when you're trying to keep things on the cheap.

Note: in talking with another blogger who read the Australian version of the book the setting was very clearly stated as Sydney, Australia...so it seems that for whatever reason the American publisher decided to try and remove those references.

But moving on...lets talk about sequence and the flow of time. This book has three distinct time periods in them and there is no real rhyme or reason to the authors jumping from one to another. The changes just became this jumbled mess for me which would knock me out of the story. I believe it was done as a way to try to heighten the suspense and make the thrills more thrilling as random bits and pieces of the past, present and future were revealed. But my suspense wasn't heightened the odd changes just annoyed me more than anything else. Especially during those times with the perspective of the book would change. For the bulk of the book the story was told in first person but every so often the I's would change to you's and it never really worked for me.

Then there is the plot.

The very first line tells you exactly what happens to Alice there is no suspense there. No shock. The story is just so flat and bland and I figured out what all the big reveals where before they were made official. The characters also all came across as flat and one dimensional. Alice was narcissistic and crazy and she appeared so form the start...she then just spirals out of control and it just doesn't ring true. Katherine is a girl trying to escape her past by forgetting it and when things get hard or rough she just turns her back on the darkness and tries to pretend it doesn't exist. This is not healthy behavior and not something that you want to do when the person you are trying to forget is crazy.

This book didn't work for me on so many levels and its not one that I can recommend. Beautiful Malice is also a book that is often billed as Young Adult but I don't get the YA vibe from it when I read it. The phrasing and the way the characters speak (in their bad dialogue scenes) is way more adult than teen. What about you...have you read Beautiful Malice? What did you think of it? Let me know if the comments below.

As originally posted on my blog Ticket to Anywhere
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780553808056
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Bantam
Author:
James, Rebecca
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Grief
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Publication Date:
20100713
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
9.52x6.48x1.03 in. 1.05 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

Beautiful Malice
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$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Bantam - English 9780553808056 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'I didn't go to Alice's funeral.' So opens Australian author James's impressive debut, a searing coming-of-age novel that deftly intertwines two violent backstories. Studious Katherine Patterson, who's reading a book under a tree during lunchtime at her Sydney high school, is surprised when Alice Parrie, 'beautiful, popular, impossible to miss,' hands Katherine an invitation to her 18th birthday party. Alice draws Katherine, who has her reasons for remaining aloof from others, into an addictive relationship that fatally sours as one disturbing secret after another comes to light. James, gifted with unusual insight into teenage agonies, probes Katherine's raw-nerve guilt over her sister Rachel's murder, Alice's self-destructive narcissism, and the healing power of young love. This unflinching exploration of psychological manipulation and the tragedies it creates introduces a promising new talent in literary suspense. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
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