Review: Lovely Vicious by Sara Wolf

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Seventeen year old Isis Blake has sworn off love forever after being so badly hurt by a boy that she can't even bear to say his name. She has reinvented herself at a new school with new hair and a newly thin body. Then she meets Jack Hunter, the handsome, aloof "Ice Prince" of East Summit High. All the girls swoon over him but Jack has never troubles himself with high school girls. Never that is until Isis comes along and punches him in the face. This begins a 'war' between Isis and Jack, with reputations on the line and secrets both would rather stayed hidden.

It's always such a wonderful surprise when a book I knew almost nothing about and have no expectations of turns out to be great. Lovely Vicious is like that, except that now I've partly spoiled it for you by telling you about it. This book is a real page turner! If you burn through it as quickly as I did you will be relieved after the cliff hanger ending to know that the next two books in the series, Savage Delight and Brutal Precious are already out.

I can't say too much about the ending, except to say that it annoyed me a little because it's such a cliché, but I'll forgive it this time because I liked the rest of the book so much. What really makes it work is Isis, who came across as a very real, mixed up teenage girl. She alternates wildly between building herself up and tearing herself down and between hurling insults at Jack and quietly admitting her attraction to him. She's a big ball of raging hormones with a lot to say, most of it not very polite.

"Flash 'em the sass before you flash 'em the ass." "What kind of saying is that?" She laughs. "Grandma-saying. She's the head of the motorcycle gang at her nursing home."

Isis reminded me a little of Veronica Mars (of the TV series and spinoff novels), in that she's brilliant, observant and has a smart mouth on her that makes constant witty quips about everybody else, especially Jack. The book also shares the same noir vibe to it, with all the characters having a dark and mysterious past and feeling trapped and unable to really change their situation for the better.

I wasn't as keen on the parts of the book written from Jack's point of view because they came across as overly flowery. However, I did like him as a character. He has this sort of Mr Darcy I Am Cold And Aloof For A Good Reason thing going on that works for me.

This book contains some pretty heavy themes, including domestic violence, body image issues, drug use and under-aged prostitution, so it would be best suited for older teens or adults. It's a dark, brooding teen novel about a young woman fighting to overcome past hurts and accept herself for who she is, and cracking a few jokes in the process. It's a very quick read which could be finished in one sitting leaving you hungry for more.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ Published: November 2013

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