Dec 22, 10
Read from December 18 to 21, 2010
Beautiful Malice is the type of book that drives YA writers (like me) crazy. Why? Because it breaks many of the rules we are told will render our books unpublishable. Here are a few examples:
1. It has a prologue (gasp).
2. It shifts between first person present tense, first person past tense, and second person present tense in a way that can be confusing to the reader.
3. The main character (Katherine) acts much older than she is supposed to be--as in, sometimes she sounds 35.
4. At times the absence of an adult presence seems all too convenient for the story.
However, Rebecca James does a phenomenal job of delving inside the mind of a person who has experienced real tragedy. The picture of grief, loss, a clinging need for acceptance, and finally emotional renewal is painted with expert precision. The depth of the character she creates makes you believe this story actually happened to someone and perhaps all of us know of or have experienced directly similar, if not as dramatic, horrors.
The importance of James' work lies in Katherine's ability to maintain her self worth and defend herself against the psychological warfare that the antagonist (Alice) wages against her when part of her believes every word Alice dishes out is true. Perhaps the most relatable thing about Katherine is her internal self doubt, the tiny convicting voice inside all of us. Katherine's ultimate triumph over her own tangled emotions makes this a worthy psychological thriller in and of itself but the compelling plot twists keep the pages turning.
I recommend Beautiful Malice for adult readers (17+).