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Hollywood Ending

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  444 Ratings  ·  89 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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 31st 2009 by Text
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Kathy Charles Check out the novels of Simmone Howell, especially 'Notes from the Teenage Underground.'

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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I was a firm believer in the unifying force of art in all it forms: a shared love for a movie, book, or song could transcend all other obstacles in a relationship. Hank reminded me of a song by Tom Waits, or a novel by John Fante. For all his cragginess, there was an underlying soulfulness, and his words floated on the air like the music of a raspy trombone or a wailing saxophone. There was something poetic about his absolute disdain for the world, a view based not on ignorance but experience, ...more
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews
I'm scolding myself for waiting so long to start this book. But that doesn't matter now because I did read it and I loved it. Actually, it may even be my favourite book of 2016

"They were scavengers feeding off others, obsessed with lives that were not their own."

Yes, it's morbid, likely disturbing for some people, but it's real, gritty and packed with emotion, which I really did not expect.

I'll admit to going through a phase where I was obsessed with weird famous deaths. I was young, naive and l
Mar 25, 2011 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Something about the premise of this book interested me. Probably because I can be a bit morbid myself. But very early on, it becomes obvious that Hilda and Benji aren't just a bit morbid. Benji in particular can be downright ghoulish. It's one thing to visit graves in publicly accessible cemeteries, and another entirely to take pilgrimages to sites of famous murders and suicides to take pictures and collect souvenirs. The way they meet Hank, by showing up uninvited at his apartment to take pictu ...more

'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
Jan 14, 2010 Andrew rated it it was amazing
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
Daniel Marks
Aug 05, 2010 Daniel Marks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely an upper YA read. Supremely grim look at coming to terms with life and death and celebrity obsessions. I loved it.
Steph Bowe
Oct 15, 2009 Steph Bowe rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 15, 2010 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Mar 30, 2011 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Heather *live on coffee & flowers*
Good read! Just a couple thoughts unrelated to the actual content:

1. I think the Australian title Hollywood Ending would have been better all around.
2. The girl on the back is suffering from a serious case of stick legs.
Sep 29, 2010 Carolina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cheree Smith
Aug 29, 2010 Cheree Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary (BookHounds)

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
Jun 09, 2011 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. 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
Apr 11, 2011 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sydney   LaForest
A very underrated book! I picked it up because of the cool looking cover (pink hair ftw!) and was really surprised by how much I enjoyed it. John Belushi is Dead is full of morbid references, so if you don't enjoy that kind of stuff, don't read it. This book is filled with gruesome tales of celebrity deaths, finding out who your true friends are, overcoming your past, and realizing that you can't save everyone. The characters were excellently written and I quickly became attached to Hilda, Hank, ...more
Kelly Bigley
Dec 26, 2010 Kelly Bigley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Greg Dhuyvettrr
Feb 13, 2016 Greg Dhuyvettrr rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I bought and read this book because I sat with the author and her boyfriend in the bar of the Rainbow, and buying her book seemed the neighborly thing to do. It isn't horrible, essentially a page turner about two misfit teenagers who are obsessed with the sites and details of the deaths of Hollywood stars and ephemera. Eventually their voyeurism drifts into more and more direct participation. I had best stop this review, because my estimation of the book is decreasing the more I think of it.
Jo Vraca
Jan 27, 2011 Jo Vraca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hollywood Ending is like nothing I’ve read of late. Kathy Charles beautifully captures the voices of bored kids who have that nuanced way of looking at the world thanks to all of the iS**t they surround themselves with. It’s a tale told with sad irony, through jaded descriptions of faded Hollywood. Kathy has a natural feel for the young punks who think nothing of yesterday except for its gory remains, old folks with long, sad memories, and D-listers hanging out in West Hollywood in the hope of b ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really liked this book. I have the same fascination as the main characters (though I'm not anywhere close to as dedicated as they are and I'm more interested in ghosts and they are not) so I enjoyed the story.
I really liked the main character, Hilda, and I thought Benji and Hank were well developed.
I have nothing negative to say about this book but I don't believe this book is for everybody. It deals with death and murders and suicides and is pretty graphic. So anyone uncomfortable wit
Jun 17, 2011 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books I have read this summer. It is a little morbid, but has a great ending. It is a quick light read for summer, and wish this author would do more. This novel is about Hilda, the female protagonist, and her best friend Benji collect rare death, early Hollywood, artifacts. Hilda is orphaned by her Hippy parents who were killed in a violent car accident (just like Jayne Mansfield). Benji starts to go off the deep end and Hilda distances herself from him and befriends an old man ...more
I adored Jake I dint know why others had issues with him in reviews. benji reminded me of Jd in the heathers and I feel his character was perfect for the coming of age but dark storyline. I related a lot to Hilda in many ways which made the book weirdly comforting. I think reading while the tragedy in aurora happen gave some perspective too. I adore old Hollywood which first made ne interested in this book. I love her kindred spirit with jayne Mansfield cause I too relate to that too. I wanted m ...more
Helen Crozier
Dec 29, 2009 Helen Crozier rated it it was amazing
it's a great read - realistic, voyeuristic and poignant. i love the slice of life feeling you get - being a mother of teenagers who aren't really like the two in the book i still feel connected and interested and related to them so well. i really didn't want this to end - rates highly in terms of transporting me to another time and place and i can't wait until the next one!! (was really happy to get this from our local library too!!)
Kelly Page
Feb 17, 2014 Kelly Page rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really cool. I read it in two sittings. It made LA seem mysterious and exciting but also really terrible. It felt like a breath of fresh air, a completely different side of young adult novels that I didn't know existed but is really amazing. It perfectly captures the beauty and glamor of Los Angeles and also chronicles the weird places where it falls apart. There are visuals from this book, some disturbing and some beautiful, that I will remember for a very long time.
Mar 06, 2011 Wanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. As a Los Angeleno, it is packed insider information that I now must check out. Charles did her homework.
PS In addition to the Cielo Drive street sign (Tate murders) being stolen, the Carolwood Drive sign has disappeared at Sunset Blvd. (Street where Michael Jackson died.)
May 06, 2011 Alanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely amazing book. It was well written and just awesome all around. They way the story came together was great and it definitely kept you on the edge of you seat. It was so good. Absolutely billiant.
Lisa Newman
Mar 17, 2014 Lisa Newman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was going to be too young for me but I was pleasantly surprised. It took me back, opened my heart and made me smile. I absolutely suggest reading it for people who like to get a gift out of the ending of a book.
Caleb Finley
Oct 23, 2012 Caleb Finley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Picked this book up because of the cover and the title. When I started reading this, I wanted to be inside the book. I locked myself in my room and read the book in one sitting.
Sep 27, 2010 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Book is so awesome!Pink Hair? Ever Heard of that? I so wonder how I could do that for like A day and the n take it out.Anyone who reads this well,should read it again!
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Kathy Charles is the author of John Belushi is Dead from MTV Books.
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“I want to look darkness in the eye and not be afraid. I want to feel the resonance of history and all the bad things people have done and try to understand why. I want to stand inside the Colosseum, feel the vibrations of so much death and despair. I want to walk the corridors of Columbine High. I want to touch the walls of Auschwitz.” 0 likes
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