Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thirty-five: Beautiful Malice - Rebecca James

***Full disclosure: This book was provided for free by Harper Collins at their Book Buzz session part of ALA Annual Conference ***

"I didn't go to Alice's funeral." This sentence opens the book and captures the reader's attention right away.  Who is Alice and why didn't the narrator go to her funeral? 

After her sister Rachel is raped and killed one night, Katherine moves to a new school and changes her name.  She meets Alice one day after school and they become fast friends.  Katherine, Alice and Alice's "boyfriend" become close friends and hang out all the time.  Even though Alice is dating someone she does not call him her boyfriend.  She verbally abuses him and leaves him hanging all the time.  Katherine - while attracted to him - sympathizes and ends up becoming close friends with him as well.

One night they run into one of Alice's old boyfriends in a bar.  Alice ends up alienating the old boyfriends current date.  Katherine and this girl run into each other in the bathroom and bond over how rude and possessive Alice can be sometimes.  Katherine and her new friend meet up later in the week to see the friend's brother play with his band.  Katherine and the brother have an instant connection and end up becoming lovers.

Alice becomes jealous and tries to break up Katherine and her boyfriend.  No matter how much they ignore her, Alice is determined to mess up Katherine's life.  She tells Katherine's parents that she is doing drugs when she isn't.  Alice lures Katherine's boyfriend to the beach and fakes drowning so that he jumps in to save her.  Alice ends up dying - but so does Katherine's boyfriend even after Katherine - who is 5 months pregnant at the time - tries to save him.  Katherine finds out shortly later that Alice's brother was one of the boys that raped her sister and has been in jail this whole time. Everything that Alice has said or done over the past couple of months suddenly makes sense.

This book is an interesting look into how teenagers sometimes befriend each other not always in a positive way.  The plot seemed very much like Gossip Girl meets General Hospital.

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