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John Belushi Is Dead

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  521 ratings  ·  100 reviews

Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social live

Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by MTV Books (first published August 31st 2009)
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Megan If you haven't read them already, you might want to try Dangerous Angels by Francesca Lia Block.

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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  521 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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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 w/>"They
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 stand
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 -
Daniel Marks
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
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!
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Cheree Smith
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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

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 he
Jun 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 celebri
Jason Pettus
Mar 24, 2011 rated it liked it
(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 writ
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jo Vraca
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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 uncom
Dana Fontaine
Jun 17, 2011 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
Kelly Page
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!)
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I absolutely fell in love with this book! I can't wait to see what Kathy Charles does next! :) Amazing.
Caleb Finley
Oct 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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!
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
i initially thought i was going to hate this after the first chapter... like, edgy pretentious teens? let me guess, they worship serial killers? get outta town

i'm glad i powered through because it went above and beyond that trope. everyone has a different relationship with death and it's interesting to explore how it manifests in different ways

also, for what it's worth - i'm a murderino and i think you'll enjoy this if you are one too
Greg Dhuyvettrr
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
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.
I wanted to like this more than I did, I’m afraid. The concept and story were great, but the character development wasn’t really there, and the dialogue was kind of atrocious. I might have liked this more as a teenager, as I would have forgiven the writing more easily then. I struggled to feel anything but contempt for the Benji character, and I felt as though we didn’t have a good enough base built between Hilda and Hank for what the author was intending to do. I wanted to know more about Hilda ...more
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adored this book. The plot was interesting, characters were out of the ordinary (in a good way) and the language in which the book was written made the story easy to read and to understand the actual meaning of it. It was a big pleasure to read this book. Literally, I was waiting all day at school to be able to go home and immerse myself into the book.

The main character, Hilda, was definitely my favourite. I loved the way in which the author had shown us her journey: fro
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Kathy Charles is the author of John Belushi is Dead from MTV Books.
“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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