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So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?
Following a horrific tragedy that leaves her once perfect family devastated, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a new life of quiet anonymity.
But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice's contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. Alice's joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again.
But being friends with Alice is complicated - and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel.
And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice - she doesn't like being cast off.
Shocking and utterly absorbing, Rebecca James's strong narrative will grip readers from the very first page. BEAUTIFUL MALICE has become a publishing phenomenon, sparking numerous auctions worldwide, selling to 27 countries, and launching a previously unknown writer into the centre of the international book market.
"I didn't go to Alice's funeral." So opens Australian author James's impressive debut, a searing coming-of-age novel that deftly intertwines two violent backstories. Studious Katherine Patterson, who's reading a book under a tree during lunchtime at her Sydney high school, is surprised when Alice Parrie, "beautiful, popular, impossible to miss," hands Katherine an invitation to her 18th birthday party. Alice draws Katherine, who has her reasons for remaining aloof from others, into an addictive relationship that fatally sours as one disturbing secret after another comes to light. James, gifted with unusual insight into teenage agonies, probes Katherine's raw-nerve guilt over her sister Rachel's murder, Alice's self-destructive narcissism, and the healing power of young love. This unflinching exploration of psychological manipulation and the tragedies it creates introduces a promising new talent in literary suspense.