Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Beautiful Malice
Author: Rebecca James
Publication: Bantam (July 13, 2010)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: This was a seriously disturbing book. It was emotionally wrenching. Katherine feels so guilty about the death of her sister that she has changed her name, changed schools, and changed her personality. When she meets Alice she is first fascinated by her. She seemed so bright and so funny. But quickly she sees things in Alice that she can't like and can't explain away.

Alice is manipulative, selfish and self-destructive. She is constantly reinforcing the guilt that Katherine feels. She is thoughtless and cruel. Her relationship with Robbie is a good example. He loves her but she runs hot and cold with him. Sometimes she is loving; sometimes she is absolutely indifferent to his feelings. After one particularly cruel occasion, Katherine is determined to break off her friendship. But Alice won't let go...

Katherine meets and falls in love with Mick. She is gradually able to accept the death of her sister and move on but Alice is still stalking her.

The book is has a number of time shifts. The retelling moves from the present to the near past to the time of Rachel's death. It is a compelling book and deals well with survivor guilt and the fear of taking any chances whether they are physical or emotional.

I recommend the book to YAs who are looking for a serious story. It is not so much a love story as it is a story of growth and recovery but the romance is there too.

Favorite Quote:
I've become very good at not thinking. I avoid making futile plans for an uncertain future, and even more than that, I want to avoid remembering the past.
The Trailer:

Challenges: 2010 YA Debut Author Challenge, 2010 YA Reading Challenge, RYOB Reading Challenge


  1. Oh my goodness! I can' believe I haven't heard of this one before. It sounds really great. For me usually the harder books to read are the best. Thanks for the truly wonderful review :D

    Here from the CEP!

  2. I have this on my TBR pile! Thanks to your review, it just got bumped up! Awesome review! The way you described the characters as well as the overall review really showed your feelings for this book! Nice job!

  3. I have this on my TBR. I won a signed copy :)
    I love how you talked about the growth and recovery-- sometimes I need a book like that. Thanks for the review.

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog (From CEP)


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