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Beautiful Malice and the Edgar Awards
If you know mature teens who are true mystery fans, a few of the other best novel nominees might be good suggestions. In fact, most of them involve teens, though they do not have teen appeal to the extent that they were reviewed here. (We read all except Queen of Patpong).
Faithful Place is about two teenagers who planned to run away together, but the girl never showed. 22 years later her skeleton is found near the designated meeting place and the boy, now man, investigates her murder. Caught follows the parents of a missing 17-year-old and the other adults trying to find her, and Lippman’s I’d Know You Anywhere is about a 38-year-old woman who is contacted by the man who abducted her when she was 15. I have written about Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter here before. (It was one of my personal favorites of 2010.)
The Edgars also have a Young Adult category, which includes a nomination for the very popular, 2011 Printz Honor-winning Please Ignore Vera Dietz.
Today’s book review is of a suspenseful, coming-of-age thriller. Beautiful Malice was published for the YA market in some countries, but in the U.S. it was published for adults.
Adult/High School–When this debut novel opens, the ending is known. Katherine has a secret: she is a young mother, and her close friend is dead. The narrative focuses on three time periods in her life–flashbacks to when something horrible happened to her sister, the aftermath of that tragedy when Katherine tries to move on with her life and meets Alice, and the present, when Katherine is raising her five-year-old daughter. Most of the story focuses on Katherine’s relationship with Alice, who is the kind of girl everyone wants to be around–vivacious, interesting, and self-possessed beyond her years. Soon though, it is clear that Alice is not all she appears to be as her actions progress from testy, to cruel, to disturbed. When she is 17, Katherine discovers she’s pregnant, and while everything falls too smoothly into place with her boyfriend and parents, it triggers a dangerous situation in which the one she loves the most will pay the consequences. Jodi Picoult fans able to ignore some unlikely coincidences will be entertained by the fast pace of this psychological sketch. With hip characters and a punchy plot, this Australian import will easily find a YA audience in the United States as well.–Priscille Dando, Robert E. Lee High School, Fairfax County, VA
Filed under: Mystery
About Angela Carstensen
Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.
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