Next Big Thing hits NZ

A book for teenagers by an unknown Australian tipped to be the next J.K. Rowling goes on sale here on Monday.

Beautiful Malice, by Rebecca James, made international headlines last year during a bidding war for worldwide publishing rights.

The rights were eventually secured by Allen & Unwin for more than $1 million. Australia and New Zealand will be the first countries in the world to publish the book.

James, whose first novel made her about $100, was prepared for failure when her second manuscript was rejected.

It came at a bad time for her, as her husband's kitchen business was failing.

The day after the business closed, Allen & Unwin sent her an email offering to publish her book.

The Wall Street Journal, which asked if James was the next Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series), called the book "a sexy psychological thriller", a "brilliantly plotted page-turner" and "Stephenie Meyer ... without the vampires".

The Sydney Morning Herald said the novel, which is set in Sydney, depicts the relationship between Katherine, a solitary girl whose sister was brutally murdered, and gorgeous fun-loving Alice, who befriends her.

Alice's influence is transformative, but as Katherine emerges from her grief, she discovers her new best friend can be chilling as well as charming.

* Beautiful Malice, by Rebecca James. Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99)

- NZ Herald

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