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Beautiful Malice: A Novel Hardcover – July 13, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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The Trap by Melanie Raabe
"The Trap" by Melanie Raabe
In this twisted debut thriller, a reclusive author sets the perfect trap for her sister's murderer—but is he really the killer? Learn more | See related books
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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.
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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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; First Edition edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553808052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553808056
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,942,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A massive disappointment.

The good stuff first so that you guys don't think I'm nasty giving it a poor rating because I was in some kind of bad mood. But honestly I couldn't see what the fuss was all about.

I guess it was a compelling read. Although I'm not quite sure why -- I can't say that I cared very much about the plot and, although I love psychological thrillers I couldn't say that there was any massive driving questions that had me chewing my nails. I read it in a couple of hours and there were some points in the book that I felt the tension that readers should feel but the feeling didn't last long, which was a major disappointment. This really could have been much better.

The character who had the most appeal to me was Robbie, a young man who has lost his mother and who finds no support or comfort from his emotionally wrecked father. One who is willing to succumb to the poison that is Alice so as to feel even an iota of happiness that she able to give him despite the destruction she brings to his heart and mind.

However, this is where I have to bridge the gap between praise and criticism. I relished the Alice parts because James showed elements of Alice's character, and the depth of her narcissism, with fairly subtle stuff like Alice not wanting to travel because no-one would know her abroad. However, James isn't satisfied until she has beaten that horse to a bloody pulp. James, you are wrtiing for a YA adult, but YAs are not morons. They know a narcissist when they see it even if they don't know the psychological term. The reader doesn't need a psychology master's student (Philippa) running around telling us that Alice has "issues.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book and couldn't put it down. It was well written with great characters and a realistic story.
I've already read her second one and can't wait for her third books.
I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this book. Brilliant.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Extremely disturbing but in a good way. I was grabbed from the very first line, wondering what had Alice done that was so bad that her friend refused to go to her funeral and hated her for destroying her life. As the story unfolds, in drips of horror and terror, I started looking around every corner, suspecting bad things to come for Katherine, the survivor, and wondering what other tragedies would happen to her.

Rebecca James weaves a hypnotizing tale, one that has you almost believing in a happy ending, tempted to ignore the warning signs, yet knowing all along that whatever happiness that can be retrieved blossomed out of depth-less grief.

Well done and masterful. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and often peeked ahead, unable to sustain the tension.
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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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Format: Hardcover
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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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