James, Rebecca Beautiful Malice
Bantam see Random 2010 260p 25.00
978-0-553-80805-6 hs Grief, friendship, revenge VG
Katie changes schools and her name after the murder of her younger sister, and tries to blend into the background for her senior year. When vivacious Alice befriends her and draws her out, it seems too good to be true. A first novel that rises above a fair amount above the majority of current chick lit. The portrayal of Katherine’s friendship with the mercurial Alice is believable and slighty disconcerting, keeping the reader on the edge of the seat, and eagerly reading to find out what makes Alice behave in the way she does. The reason, when revealed, seems almost contrived, but readers will look past that to the resolution of the frightening tale.
The subplot of the “love-at-first-sight” relationship between Katherine and Mick seems almost too easy, providing predictable angst in first the unwanted pregnancy and then the death of the too-perfect Mick. This said, the plot is riveting enough, and Katherine’s character development well-done enough, to reel in even reluctant readers and leave them hoping for a sequel.
The portrayal of drugs and alcohol, mention of rape, teen sex and pregnancy will make this a book for older teens. Conflict Naismith, Pat