Beautiful Malice Review


Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James
Published July 1, 2010 by Faber and Faber
ARC copy won through DaisyChainBooks

So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?

Following a terrible tragedy that leaves her once-perfect family shattered, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a new life of quiet anonymity.

But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice’s contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. Alice’s joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again.

But being friends with Alice is complicated – and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel.

And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice - she doesn’t like being cast off. 

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I won a copy of this book through a give away run by DaisyChainBooks. I knew I wanted to read it, but I guess I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from it-- it's obvious from the introduction that this girl Alice is going to cause a lot of trouble, but I honestly didn't think she could be so cruel.

The way the book is set up kinda reminded me of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Chronicles of a Death Foretold: we know from the beginning that Katherine has changed her name and moved to a city because of her sister's death, but events unfold later on, and the more the story continues, the more we find out about what really happened. One thing we know from the beginning is that Alice is bad news.

As I was reading about the horrible things she does, I found myself going, "Come on; who does that?" only to realize a second later that I actually do know people who are capable of that kind of cruelty. And then there were times when I wanted to grab Katherine and Robbie (the guy who's in love with Alice no matter how bad she treats him) by the shoulders and shake them, going, "She's evil! Run while you can!" But, of course, it doesn't always work that way and we're constantly pulled in by people whom we know are not good for us. And I think everyone knows the feeling of loving and hating someone both at the same time.

I think the book very well portrays how one bad decision can change your life, and that you don't usually realize it was a bad decision until you fall apart, and no matter how careful you try to be, you get caught up in things.

The ending felt kinda abrupt, and I was left wanting more, but it was a happy ending that felt warm and genuine.


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