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. If you're still not convinced, you can read a free extract here, but don't read the blurb!
My rating = ****