Hollywood Ending
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Hollywood Ending

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  271 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Set in a glamorous and seedy Los Angeles, Hollywood Ending is a story that will make your heart skip a beat.

Pink-haired Hilda and endearing punk Benji, both seventeen, have an obsessive hobby—they haunt the places where Hollywood celebrities have died.

In rundown Echo Park, once the hub of the movie business, they find the squalid apartment where a second-rate silent movie...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 31st 2009 by Text
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,349)
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Nomes
3.5

'John Belushi is Dead" (also published as 'Hollywood Ending' in Australia) is an strangely compelling and original read.

It's dark and gritty in parts (okay, in more than just parts). it doesn't shy away from vivid descriptions of death/disaster.

It fascinates with its exploration of that morbid curiosity that so many of us have in regards to sudden (gruesome) tragedy ~ particularly in the lives of the famous. It captures that haunting sense of history that you get from just standing in the s...more
Andrew
Hilda and her friend Benji travel LA looking at various places where celebrities have died. They meet Hank, who lives in an apartment where a silent film star killed himself, and Hank and Hilda start a friendship. At first, it seemed this was going to be like a goth Tuesdays with Morrie. Then Hilda meets this douchey screenwriter and a budding romance begins. This book has character problems. Mainly, the protagonist can't seem to meet a normal male human being. Her friend Benji seems like Kip Ki...more
Daniel Marks
Definitely an upper YA read. Supremely grim look at coming to terms with life and death and celebrity obsessions. I loved it.
K
There’s really no taking this book lightly.

The ‘story’ feels slow to start, the first chunk of the book is more like a sudden immersion into Hilda’s life. In their quest for the macabre, exploring the most salacious of Hollywood deaths, Hilda and her friend Benji are two peas in a pod. Really. No one else will have them. Every day is a trek to a new and storied site, a chance to add to their collections of death mementos. They meet cantankerous Hank at one of these sites and he and Hilda become...more
Andrew
An excellently crafted first novel from Kathy Charles. I was immediately drawn in by Hilda and Benji's antics as they embark on adventures around LA, visiting sites of celebrity deaths. With witty dialogue and suitable attitude, the protagonists are easily likeable.

However, as the novel progresses, we soon start exploring the hidden (although unsurprising) depths of these characters, as well as of those around them, sometimes tragic, and some downright scary. And they are very real - we all know...more
Steph Bowe
This novel was wonderful, and unsettling, and sometimes just plain scary. I hate to use the word 'edgy' but I think it applies here.

Hollywood Ending will appeal to everyone with a bit of morbid curiosity, and is a must-read for anyone who's ever been fascinated by a celebrity death (it's certainly very timely after a whole string of deaths of well-known personalities). I really enjoyed this novel, though there was something so disquieting about Benji and the obsession he shares with Hilda in ce...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

I'm usually a big fan of the surprisingly intelligent MTV Books; but while this latest is I suppose okay for what it is (a simplistic coming-of-age tale about two teens in Los Angeles obsessed with dead celebrities, and the trouble this gets them into one summer), the actual quality of the writing is much...more
Autumn
Even though much of the subject matter is rather dark and morbid, I loved this book. I loved Hilda. I even liked Benji as dark and twisted as he was, although I would have liked a little more background on him. I didn't understand what was going on with him to make him the way he was. I thought the relationship that Hilda formed with Hank was lovely even thought it was so turbulent.

I thought the cover was really cool!
Christie
4.5 out of 5 Stars

Hilda and Benji have a morbid fascination with death. Spending most of their time together traveling to the sites of famous murders and overdoses. As Benji starts to take the death obsession to a point that makes Hilda uncomfortable, she starts to pull away. Orphaned and living with her workaholic aunt, she finds a most unlikely friends in Hank, a reclusive senior citizen. As she actively tries to get Hank to disclose his secrets, she reveals a few of her own as well. The close...more
Kapri
John Belushi is Dead is a very unique novel. I knew from the description that I would love it, and I did.

Hilda and her friend Benji have a very morbid hobby. They obsess over dead celebrities with tragic endings. While this is morbid, it's not over the top. There was a good balance.

What made this book amazing is the characters. There was such a colorful cast of characters. And they were all real. They all had their good and bad qualities and their quirks.

One of my favorite characters was Hank....more
Bookworm1858
John Belushi Is Dead by Kathy Charles
Gallery Books/MTV Books, 2009
309 pages
YA; Contemporary
3.5/5 stars

Source: Library

Read for YA Overlooked Book Battle.

Hilda and her best friend Benji share a unique fascination with the death of celebrities; whether it's memorabilia once owned by Janye Mansfield or the site of John Belushi's death, they want to see it. As they live in LA and it's finally summer, they're at their leisure to explore everywhere. But after barging into Hank's apartment to look at th...more
Lori (Pure Imagination)
Are you tired of typical YA books? Tired of Cheerleaders? Sick of Jocks? Maybe you don't even feel like reading about Vampires or Werewolves? Sounds like you need something gritty and maybe even a little morbid. I suggest you read John Belushi is Dead. I can almost guarantee that you have never read anything like it before.

Hilda, the main character, is not your everyday teen. She doesn't go to parties with her friends. She doesn't stalk hot celebrities in LA. No, along with her best friend Benji...more
Becky
I won my copy of John Belushi is Dead via Goodreads First Reads. Thanks!

In a sentence, John Belushi is Dead is the story of Hilda coming to terms with death. Her parents died in a car accident five years ago, and since then she has developed an obsession with Hollywood deaths. After all, if death comes for even the rich and famous, it must be something she can deal with. Then there's Benji, whose obsession with death is a lot more intense than her own.

If I say too much more about the plot, there...more
Wallace
Welcome to the macabre side of Young Adult fiction. In John Belushi is Dead, Kathy Charles explores a side of teenage life that is often not looked at in a favorable light. Kids who might otherwise be labeled as goth, get a deeper look in this debut novel. The book’s protagonist, Hilda, narrates a summer of her life where she and her friend (basically her only friend), Benji, drive around their hometown of Los Angeles looking at the sites where celebrities died. Weird? Maybe.

For Hilda, it is a w...more
Sarah
You know from the (amazing) cover and title that this story isn't going to be all rainbows and unicorns. And it isn't. Not at all.
Hilda and Benji aren't like other teenagers. Instead of going to the mall and hanging out with friends, they spend their time visiting the death cites of celebirties. You could say they have an obsession with dead celebirties, particularly the ones who have committed suicide or have died a gruesome death.They spend most of their money on artifacts from these sites, w...more
Mary (BookHounds)
ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT

Hilda is probably one of the best, most well thought out characters I have read about in a long time. Hilda moves in with her aunt after her parents die in a car crash and she becomes obsessed with death, especially celebrities' death. Hilda travels to famous murder scenes, suicide locations and cemeteries to get close to those unfortunate events with her friend Benji. Benji has his own secrets and you can tell he is quietly unravelling while Hilda tries to pull herself togeth...more
Carolina
The thing is, you can’t go into a book like this expecting rainbows, unicorns, and bubble gum language. The (amazing) cover tells us this, but so does the description of the premise, the central focus of which is death and Hollywood. And let me just say, Hollywood has to be the most perfect setting for teenagers obsessed with death. Yes, the story was a bit creepy at times—several scenes gave me the shivers, yet I couldn’t wait to turn to the next chapter.

I’ll be straight up with you, though. Th...more
Erica
4.5 stars

John Belushi is Dead is an awesome read. I hadn't heard a lot about it, but I am super happy I decided to read it. I was charmed by the characters and fell in love with the story.

John Belushi is Dead has a slower start, but don't let that throw you! Soon you will be so captivated by the story that you won't put it down til the last page is turned. Thestory was so fascinating - it was a bit morbid and definitely off the beaten trail. I loved all the random celebrity tidbits it included,...more
Yan
Hilda and best friend Benji are obsessed with celebrity deaths. One celebrity death leads them to an apartment room of Hank, an odd old bat. Hilda becomes attached to Hank in his sad, solitary room and a level of understanding when he presents her a tile from Jayne Mansfield’s pool. One day as she stops by his apartment to share in their enjoyment of old American classic films she finds not Hank in her room, but Jake—Hank’s downstairs neighbor. Jake is a 19-year-old high school dropout, Hollywoo...more
Emi
on the whole, Hollywood Ending/John Belushi is Dead was thoroughly enjoyable for me. i loved the overall plot, the characterization and the simple language. unfortunately, there were some things about it that irritated me, namely the character Jake, who i want to kick in the face. repeatedly.

the strongest features of this book are the characters. Benji and Hank were two of the most well-fleshed out and described characters. i think Kathy Charles was amazing in how she showed a character's person...more
Brenda
I was really surprised at how much I really liked this book.

Even though the author focuses alot on celebrity death, I mean both of the main characters are totally engrossed in the morbid hobby of visiting the sites of celebrity death, there is a depth to the characters that is exposed very early on in the book that really hooks you in.

The characters are very believable and the problems they deal with make them seem very vulnerable at times.

I was so glad that Hilda started distancing herself fro...more
Chee Vang
It's been awhile since I've read this book so I'm probably going to sound vague with names and stuff, but I wanted to sound off on why I didn't like this book very much, which is one of the few things I do remember pretty well.
I wanted to like this book, and when I was reading the first half of the book, I was really enjoying it. It was dark, but it seemed rather real as well. But then the book meets up with a new character and it threw the story into a weird twist where it became a typical YA r...more
Rachel
I enjoyed "John Belushi is Dead" by Kathy Charles, but it was lacking something--more character development and resolution--to make it a stellar book; however, it is worth reading because it is unique enough and entertaining.

The story is about Hilda and her friend, Benji, as they haunt the death spots of celebrities around Las Angles. They have a morbid fascination death. Things change when Hilda and Benji visit the bathroom where Bernie Bernall, a silent movie star, killed himself. They meet th...more
Lina
Death is something that continues to fascinate human thought, because it is the only avoidable reality that comes with life. We enter the world and at some time later on, we leave it. The only way to cheat death, is to immortalize yourself. Yet, at the end of the day does it matter if you died a natural death or died from a drug overdose? We all reach the dirt someday.

John Belushi is Dead is a breakout novel by Kathy Charles, that touches on the obsession with death, especially celebrity deaths....more
Steph Su
MTV Books publishes this Australian import in the US—and boy, should we be grateful for it. JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD packs an emotional punch through tight narration and a thoughtful presentation of difficult issues.

Perhaps we may not share Hilda’s fascination with dead celebrities, but we can easily relate to her struggles to find her place in the world, from her changing relationship with Benji, to her new friendships with Hank and then Jake. She’s a quiet protagonist, but that doesn’t mean she la...more
Cheree Smith
Hilda has always felt a bit odd. Together with her best friend, Benji, they prowl the sites where celebrities have died, sometimes taking away a piece of history to remember it. When one apartment they come across has an old man living there, Hilda and Hank form a bizarre friendship. When Hank's downstairs neighbour, Jake, brings himself into the equation, Hilda starts to discover that Hank is hiding a dark secret. As Hilda's new relationships grow, she starts to question whether her fascination...more
Michelle
Hilda and Benji are not your average LA teenagers. Instead of hanging out at the beach or various Hollywood hot spots in hopes of a celebrity sighting, the pair are content to spend their summer vacation visiting celebrity murder or suicide sites. While in search of the apartment of a lesser known silent film star who stabbed himself to death while at home, Hilda and Benji stumble upon the old and reclusive Hank, now living in the infamous apartment. Hank is cranky and wary of the pair but Hilda...more
Devyn B
It's funny how books find their ways into our lives. I came across JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD (JBID) because a friend from California had mentioned it to me. However, the book sat around the house for some time. I'd read the description several times over and couldn't work up the courage to crack it open.

That's when my new fascination grew. Death. Having Lupus, death is something that I think about on a daily basis, sometimes even hourly. You'll go mad if you start thinking about it all too much. Luck...more
Kelly Bigley
This book was amazing and I could not put it down, hence why I read this book in 2 days.
The book did a wonderful job at describing where these celebrities died and how, but it also did a wonderful job at illustrating the line between interest and obsession.
Hilda and Benji are best friends who share the same interest- finding where all these celebrities were murdered, committed suicide, or overdosed. However, Hilda is the one who maintains a simple interest, keeping it a hobby, while Benji turns...more
Zoe
John Belushi Is Dead is probably my favorite novel of all time, and coming from an obsessive bookworm, that's truly saying something. I think what really drew me in and kept me animatedly combing through the pages was the rich development of every character. I just had such a deep connection to Hilda, the eccentric narrator and the others just fell into perfect harmony. Not one time did I feel like I was on an expedition to come to a close. And that's actually a nice attribute: to be able to jus...more
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Kathy Charles is the author of John Belushi is Dead from MTV Books.
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