Source- Review copy/ Allen & Unwin Australia
Synopsis: ‘Truth or dare?’ She asks.
I hesitate. ‘Truth,’ I say finally. ‘I can imagine one of your dares, and I don’t fancy running down Oxford Street naked tonight.’
‘Truth,’ Alice says slowly, drawing out the vowel sound as if she’s savouring the word. ‘Are you sure? Are you sure you can be completely honest?’
‘I think so. Try me.’
‘Okay.’ And then she looks at me curiously. ‘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?’
Katherine has moved away from her shattered family to start afresh in Sydney. There she keeps her head down until she is befriended by the charismatic, party-loving Alice, who brings her out of her shell. But there is a dark side to Alice, something seductive yet threatening. And as Katherine learns the truth about Alice, their tangled destinies spiral to an explosive and devastating finale.
An intense and addictive psychological thriller.
Review: Beautiful Malice is a great debut YA novel by Australian author, Rebecca James. Katherine is a seventeen year old girl in her final year of High School. It’s been more than a year since her sister died and she takes the opportunity to make a fresh start at a new school where she and her family are unknown. Katherine’s plan to keep her head down and finish school without forming any emotional ties gets thrown out the window when fun-loving, energetic Alice bounces on the scene. Their friendship becomes a rollercoaster ride that tests the boundaries of trust and intimacy.
Rebecca creates characters with depth, raw emotions and inner conflicts that anyone can relate to and because of this I don’t think this story strictly fits the YA genre. Alice is certainly a piece of work with some serious personality issues, stemming from a troublesome childhood, but the author presents Alice in a light that can ignite empathy from her on one page and complete hatred for her on another. Secondary characters such as Robbie, Philippa and Mick are also well created and everyone and everything in this story has a purpose.
Beautiful Malice is quick read, with real characters and an engaging storyline and I highly recommend it to readers of YA and psychological thrillers.
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