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Beautiful Malice: A Novel Hardcover – July 13, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553808052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553808056
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Australian author James' U.S. debut speaks directly to older teens and twentysomethings. Katherine, a self-imposed outsider who narrates her own story, may be wrapped in guilt following the tragic death of her sister, but she is still recognizably 17—longing for friendship and fun, searching for love, committment, and sex. When charismatic classmate Alice befriends her, emotional baggage and all, she is surprised and enormously grateful. But as her self-confidence returns and she finds other friends and a sweet, gentle boyfriend, she begins to see her best friend in fresh light—and starts wondering if Alice is really a friend at all. A nail-biting thriller this isn't, and wouldn't be if the title wasn't an unfortunate giveaway. But the novel will be an easy sell as a beach book, and it's not hard to picture readers sympathizing with Katherine's deep-rooted need to make sense of the past and find satisfaction in the person she has become. --Stephanie Zvirin

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Customer Reviews

I'm not an overly gory person, but I felt that the ending was just such a cop-out.
Regina Niesen
I think the intention was to make Katherine seem like the kind of person always willing to forgive and try to move on, but it just came across as stupidity instead.
Merle
I kept getting angry and upset reading this book. but of course, all of this in a good way.
Savannah (Books With Bite)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Irish of Ticket to anywhere on August 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tamara J. Pratt on April 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of those books I can re-read -- I'm doing my review only now because I've just re-read it! As a reader who looks to learn from other authors, this is one story that taught me not only great lessons in writing technique, but also was a great read in weaving intense psych plotlines -- I couldn't put it down, I got lost in Katherine's world, as I did Alice, and the ending ultimately showed a character who had grown in ways that one only can when life springs from regret and tragedy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gaby on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Posted at: [...]

Katherine is a 17 years old girl who used to think only about her boyfriend and parties...until the day of her younger sister's death. She move out of her town, and now she's quite and wants to be alone.

But then she meets Alice and everything changes. She's so beautiful, popular and interesting, that they become friends very quickly. They are close and Katherine, slowly, starts to think of Alice as her best friend. She even shared her most deep secret...what happened the day her sister died. But Alice is mean, and sometimes acts like crazy. She hurts people for fun, and when Katherine decides she doesn't want to be friends with her, things start to get ugly.

The writing and the characters were amazing. I couldn't stop reading, and I felt as if Katherine was real, talking to me, telling me her story. I felt sad and angry for her, it was unfair. But life is unfair, and if she's teaching us something is that sometimes life is too hard, but you have to keep living.

And Alice is scary. She has some serious problems, besides being mean. I would freak out if she would start to follow me, threating me, calling my parents...It's scary because it's real. People sometimes acts like this, trying to scare you, hurt you or just bother you. You can't go anywhere because she's there, you have to turn off your phone, move out.

Sometimes sad, creepy, and shocking; it's a very intense story. At the first chapters you don't know what happened except that Rachel, Katherine's sister, is death. But then the story unfolds and in every chapter you learn something new. The story jumps from the present to the past and vice versa, so you know what's going to happen but you don't know how or why.

Overall, this book was amazing and I think you should definitely read it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carla on August 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
**contains spoilers**
I have mixed feelings about this book. I liked it, but I feel that the most important events in it lack in explanation, like I waited the whole book to be elucidated and then nothing happened. But let's start from the beginning shall we?

Beautiful Malice tells the story of Katherine, a seventeen-year-old who just moved to a new city and consequently to a new school. She's a loner until the day the exuberant, loud, kind-of-crazy, extremely beautiful, and that you know will do something really bad and die for it (this isn't an actual spoiler since the opening line of this book is I didn't go to Alice's funeral), (m)Alice invites her to her birthday party. After that they become close friends to the point Katherine trusts her with her demons: the family's tragedy concerning Katherine's baby sister Rachel. There's a lot of mystery around this subject since the beginning, and Katherine surely takes her time before sharing with the reader what the (hell) happened (for pity's sake!). Finally one discovers that it has to do with teenagers (and pre-teenagers, really) going wild with alcohol and getting a lift from strangers (you stupid, stupid, STUPID girls, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?), which makes needless to point out how bad this situation unfolds. But the mysteries don't end up here, (I have to admit the author knows how to keep you hooked...) and now that that one is unveiled, you just want to know what's the deal with Alice, what will that nutcase do, how will she die, and I'm betting all along it will be over the top tragic, chainsaw-messy, and that she'll totally deserve it. It wasn't.
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