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Friday, July 30, 2010

Blog Tour: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Hello everyone!
Happy Friday to you from me here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  It's been a busy, strike that...MONTH all around and just because this is the second to last day of July does NOT mean we are going to slow down.  Nope.  On the contrary....we are playing host to a blog tour today courtesy of Cheryl over at Pump Up Your Book Promotions.  The title being featured was published abroad first, but made it's US debut this month to what I gather have been mixed responses.  Having never shied away from a book merely because the status quo has shall we say a split mind on the matter, I present to you yet one more opinion to add to the BUZZ on this selection.  Today's blog tour guest and book of choice is....


Katherine Patterson is looking for one thing....a new start.  A break from all the stress life has to offer.  A little place of anonymity all her own.  Why on earth would any 16 year-old seek solace and peace?  Katherine Patterson is not like most 16 year-olds.  You see, a few weeks ago, she was someone else...or rather known as someone else.  Katie Boydell.  Carefree, relatively good student, party-goer, drinking partner, and big more.  All it takes is one day and a few bad decisions seen as relatively harmless at the time to unravel your entire world.  Gone are the days of laughter and's hard to find joy in the world when something so tragic has touched your life, let alone taken someone from you.  What's worse?  What happened that night many moons ago....or having to find a way to live through it all?  Katherine is about to discover that sometimes things are not always what they seem, in many ways.

I was all prepared to write this incredibly spoiler rich review; I mean, given what happens in the could I not want to discuss it?  (Trust me, it's worth discussing...and those of you that have read it, know exactly what I mean.)  Instead....I took a moment to reflect on my thoughts and package them into a protective nutshell.  Why protective?  Well, there are a myriad of reasons for that.  Right off the bat....this is most definitely NOT a Young Adult book, in my mind at least.  I've seen it advertised as YA and Mystery/Thriller alike and I have to tend to agree with the later.  The age of the characters fits YA but the story is quite something else.  There are several HEAVY (and that's a word I placed in all capitals AND bold case you doubt my meaning of 'heavy' here...) topics covered from rape to murder, emotional turmoil to severe mental instability, acute levels of fear to disguised courage...and the list goes on and on (or rather it could, but I won' get the picture, right?).

Second....the main character, Katherine.  I can't honestly say why, but somehow I expected the ages and roles of the characters to be reversed...which actually ties into a second mini-irritation of mine in dealing with the time jumps.  There are chapters that deal with past, present, and future and though the past and present ones made perfect sense to me, it wasn't until I was about two thirds of the way through that the future glimpses finally hit me, snapping into place pieces that didn't quite fit before but also unsettling a few my mind MADE fit at the time.  After this revelation though....I was back to chugging right along the reading trail and turning pages faster and faster as I tried to imagine what on earth Alice (Katherine's new friend) was going to do next (really, she's one of those tragic cases you feel bad for but still love to NOT love).

Third, and I promise to stop numerating by thoughts after this one....I had heard from a few blogging friends that this book was unsettling to them.  Grant it, they are parents, and feared their opinion was tainted in some way by that fact, but after reading it I can't help but wonder.  What was it that was so off putting?  I mean, I can definitely see what with the storyline itself there are several situations that are certainly less than ideal for a young person to have to go through, but what was it exactly that pushed their buttons?  I mean, it's not like books of this nature haven't been written in some shape or form previously, or at least certain elements of it...and there are certainly ones that are much more graphic.  I will say this though (and perhaps I shall hit the nail on the head....but even if this swing if far reaching, it's something to mention), the things the teens in this story are involved in are quite irresponsible.  Like I said, under-drinking, sleeping around, etc, etc.....not the shining star among moral compasses.  BUT, as we discussed a bit in a previous post (a point brought up by Katie Williams, author of The Space Between Trees), are YA novels or fiction in general really responsible for instilling these values, or merely creating a "good" story?  Most would agree on the later (check the post for comments to that question)....thus removing the dreaded concern of the image being presented, a divide between the "what's being done today" and "what's appropriate" groups. (Okay, done with that ramble....)
In the end, I really think this book was less about Katherine's past and more so about the message of LIVING (again, bold type, all cap's....definite emphasis).  Whether it's one day at a time, or each second as it ticks past....making the most of your life as it is happening; taking an active role in it as opposed to merely being a passenger while fate takes the wheel.  We can't constantly be afraid to new new things or start again if the situation calls for it...if we are, then we become stagnant like so much brackish water, and just like that water, well to be it simply (and with an intended pun)...our lives would begin to stink.  It's the constant forward motion of time, of life itself that helps moves us to a new day, a new beginning, a new frame of mind.  What has happened yesterday...WAS yesterday.  Today is TODAY.  As a rather popular musical artist has said...."Today is where your book begins....the still unwritten."
Special thanks to Cheryl at Pump Up Your Book Promotions for the ARC to review and the opportunity to participate in this tour.  (THANKS!)  For more information about this tour and many others, visit their sites (1 or 2) or follow along on Twitter.  For more information on this author and her work, check out her blog or website.  This book was released earlier this month and should be available in a store near you.  For a closer look right now, click on over to Amazon.
Until next time....happy reading!


Eden said...

I loved this book! I agree with you about the content. I didn't know before I read it if it was YA or not. I think it's somewhere in the middle. It seemed like the story was more adult but with younger people. It was till good though, and I don't see how people could be put off by it.

Gina said...

bkobsessed17: Glad to hear you enjoyed it as well....and yes, the genre was a bit of a mystery. It was definitely a powerful story.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for the engaging and insightful review of Rebecca's book. I read this one over my vacation. It's definitely a powerful story. No wonder it keeps receiving rave reviews.

Readers can wander over to YouTube at to listen to Rebecca read from this book.

Thanks again. I'm glad you enjoyed Beautiful Malice.


Gina said...

Cheryl: Thank you for the kind words...and the link. Definitely another option for readers to learn more about this book. ^_^

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Great review. I like the cover too. And I agree (although I haven't read the book) that issues such as those have been written time and again.

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

Wow, This sounds so powerful

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

You've been tagged

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