Monday, 26 April 2010

Book Review & Giveaway: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.

Product details:
Publisher: Faber & Faber.
Paperback, 368 pages.
Release date: July 1st 2010.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

Friendship can be deadly.

Who is Katherine Patterson? It is a question she hopes no one can answer. To erase her past, Katherine has moved to a new city, enrolled in a new school, and even changed her name. She’s done the next best thing to disappearing altogether. Now, wary and alone, she seeks nothing more than anonymity. What she finds instead is the last thing she expected: a friend.

Even more unlikely, Katherine’s new friend is the most popular and magnetic girl in school. Extroverted, gorgeous, flirtatious, and unpredictable, she is everything that Katherine is not and doesn’t want to be: the center of attention. Yet Alice’s enthusiasm is infectious, her candor sometimes unsettling, and Katherine, in spite of her guarded caution, finds herself drawn into Alice’s private circle.

But Alice has secrets, too—darker than anyone can begin to imagine. And when she lets her guard down at last, Katherine discovers the darkest of them all. For there will be no escaping the past for Katherine Patterson—only a descent into a trap far more sinister . . . and infinitely more seductive.

Let me start by saying that I haven’t been so impressed by a book in quite a while.   I was lucky enough to receive a copy for review and picked it up one day last week intending to read just a few chapters.  Two hours later I was totally engrossed in the story and couldn’t put it down. This rarely happens to me, but here James has written a psychological thriller that  will grab you from page one.  Seriously, the start of the book is excellent. What an opener!

When we are introduced to Katherine, she has suffered a great trauma in her life, and so when the beautiful and popular Alice insists on befriending her, she doesn’t resist, despite her reservations and the warning signs right from the start that Alice may come with more than a few problems of her own.  Having experienced a few toxic friendships myself, I found the depiction and the dynamics of their friendship fascinating and very believable.  Of course, this is not just a friendship gone wrong. This case is extreme and  there are very dark elements at work here.  Both girls have their secrets. Alice made me uncomfortable right from the start of the book.  I guessed her darkest secret about half way through the book, and when I did I knew she would stop at nothing to get revenge on Katherine.  She’s unpredictable and downright scary at times.  This is a friendship which never sits comfortably with the reader, and an ominous feeling pervades from the start of the book. Alice is very menacing, unhinged, and some of her actions from stalking to downright horror will give you chills.  I read an article about this book a while back in which it was said to contain elements of Single White Female, and having read it I thoroughly agree.

For me the book revolves around the concept that one bad decision can change your life, cost you the thing you love the most,  and define you forever if you let it.  Katherine has the courage to overcome this, while Alice doesn’t, with disastrous consequences. The writing is fast paced and addictive, jumping between different points in Katherine’s life.  Sometimes I find this style hard to follow, but that didn’t happen here.  I was so engaged with the characters and the relationships in the book that I just wanted to find out more. I connected with a lot of the relationships in the book, and I have to say the story evoked quite an emotional response from me.  I loved Robbie and Katherine’s friendship, and was pleased for her when Mick and Philippa entered her life, and she finally saw Alice’s true colours.

I generally review books without giving spoilers, but I had to try extra hard here as I know most people won’t have read the book yet, and I really wouldn‘t want to spoil the surprises for anyone. Overall I thought this was an excellent read. I felt sad when I finished the book because even though it’s brilliantly concluded, I was still left wanting more.   I can’t wait to read the next book from Rebecca James!

Win! One of Five ARC's of Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James!
Thanks to those kind people at Faber & Faber you can win one of five ARC's of Beautiful Malice.  In exchange they would like you to review the book and post it on your blog and/or book related websites.
- Contest is open INTERNATIONALLY
-Contest will end May 10th 2010
-You must  be a follower of the blog to enter.  Follow using Google Friend Connect at the right hand side of the page.
-I LOVE receiving comments, but a comment won't gain you entry to this contest, you'll have to fill out the form. :)
- Sorry for all the rules! In my Hex Hall contest there have been a bunch of incorrect entries, so I'm trying to make things clearer for you all. 



  1. Great review and giveaway!


  2. Thank you for your review and giveaway! ^O^

    Giada M.

  3. I think this book sounds really interesting and I'm excited to enter the giveaway. Thanks for hosting it!

  4. Great review and giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.

    I follow via GFC

    misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

  5. Awesome contest! This book sounds really good :)

  6. Ooo...5 stars? I'm impressed. This is probably a book I would have normally overlooked, but since you recommended it to me on Goodreads, I headed over to check out your review! I've added it to the TBR list and entered the contest! Thanks so much for hosting it! :)

  7. Great giveaway . Book sounds awesome.

  8. @Natalie! I loved it. I hope you love it too if you get around to reading it. I rarely give five star reviews. This book had better feel special now! ;-)

  9. I agree this was a good books. Amazing about how the choices made lead down such bad paths. Great review!

  10. I'm intrigued with this unhinged Alice! Great review. Deadly friends are always a favorite to read about too.

  11. This does sound good - thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.

  12. Great review, makes me want to hurry up and finish it. I'm around page 100 and I have all kinds of theories going on in my head. I can't wait to see how dark Alice really is.
    I'm not very far into it but I'd recommend it too. I love the writing style, it really does flow easily.

  13. Cool review. I haven't read a young adult book in a while but this one sounds worth a read.

  14. @Andrea - I'm glad you enjoyed it too. Link me your review if you have one.

    @GreenFairy - Can't wait to read your review!

    @Evelyn - The book has actually been marketed as an adult book in the US, but it's young adult in Australia, and in the UK they are aiming it at 15-30 year olds, so something for everyone. Personally I think that older teenagers and adults will love it. There are adult themes in the book, so it's not one for younger teens really.

  15. I write book reviews for our Sunday paper so it's really cool to find this blog :)

    Mine are available at if you're interested.

    In the meantime I'm heading over to fill in the form to win ;)

  16. Thanks Giselle! I'll check out your reviews for sure! :)

  17. This book sounds great! I will definitely go buy it if I don't win it;)

  18. such a great cover! glad the book lived up to it!

  19. Awesome review! I'm dropping in once again to say thanks for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

  20. Excellent review! I hadn't heard of this book before, but you have me very intrigued now! It sounds brilliant. I would love to win a copy. Great giveaway, thanks! :)

  21. I forgot if I already entered your contest. Is there a way to double check?

  22. I checked - doesn't look like your name is on the list, so enter away! If it's a double entry it's OK - I'll check it properly when I'm counting the votes.

  23. Great review!! I hadn't heard of this one before. It looks great though! Thanks for the contest!

  24. follower Sounds like a good reas
    diane Baum

  25. the book and review both sound great. am anxious to read if i win this book. thanks in advance.

  26. I've seen this book and it will probably be on the pile next time I go book shopping (I tend to buy in bulk every so often.) Thanks for the review, you've intrigued me even further.


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