22 February 2011

Review: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James book coverBeautiful Malice was written by Australian author Rebecca James, and it caused an international sensation that The Wall Street Journal referred to as a 'publishing phenomenon'.

I was surprised to learn this is her first novel and that it sparked a significant bidding war, eventually being published in 2010. Despite all of the buzz and hype surrounding this Young Adult novel, I was pleased to discover that it's a terrific read.

Beautiful Malice is narrated by 17 year old Katherine, who has started at a new school after the murder of her sister and the subsequent media attention the family endured after the crime. Katherine is soon befriended by the charming and popular Alice, who instantly becomes a close friend, as does her on-again off-again boyfriend Robbie.

The book focusses on the growing friendship between the three friends and the increasingly disturbing behaviour displayed by Alice. Meanwhile we slowly learn more about Katherine's past and what actually happened the night her sister died.

I believe the blurb reveals way too much information about the characters, and I would have preferred much less so I could have been more surprised as events unfolded. I'm happy to admit the characters of Katherine and Alice completely lured me in, and I stayed up until the early hours of the morning to finish it, which earns the novel an extra star from me.

I would recommend Beautiful Malice to readers who enjoy Young Adult fiction, or an easy thriller without the blood and gore so reminiscent of the current crime genre.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. I can't wait to read this- I bet some of my older girls will enjoy it too.

  2. I'd love to hear what you think when you read it. I'm trying to read more up and coming Australian authors and Rebecca James is definitely one to watch.

    Can't wait to see what she writes next.

    By the way, I had a teacher called Mrs Mac when I was at school, I bet your students absolutely adore you :-)

  3. I got this out of the library on Monday arvo, and finished it Monday night. This was a fantastic read, although the title is a bit trite. I love the construction of the characters, and the duplicity of Alice's character. I am currently working with my Year 12s on Hamlet, and I thimk they should all read it. There are some parallels that were obvious to me, although it would make Hamlet into the baddie. PErhaps I am a little too devoted to Shakespeare, but I could totally appreciate Alice's motivations. The party scenes are heartbreaking though, aren't they?

  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!! Hope your girls decide to pick it up too and do a little extra curricular reading.

    It'd be interesting for them to see you highlight the parallels between Shakespeare's Hamlet and this Australian written contemporary fiction novel. I think it'd blow their minds.

  5. ok- I've created a monster! As promised I recomended the book to my classes and the girls are now fighting to get the book. I actually got in trouble for recommending it to too many people! Clearly you've got your finger on the pulse.

  6. Girls fighting to get a book? Now that is sublime.

    And getting into trouble for recommending a book to widely and generating too much interest? It must have made you smile.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!