“ Author: Lauren Kate / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 06 November 2010 / Genre: Children's General Fiction / Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK / Title: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove / ISBN 13: 9780552563727 / ISBN 10: 0552563727 / Alternative EAN: 9781595142658 „
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This is a review of the 2011 book 'The betrayal of Natalie Hargrove' a young adult fiction book. The front cover reminded me a bit of a vampire novel but it wasn't about that at all. The book came as part of a prize I won, so I wouldn't have bought it but seeing as it was sat there... it got read!
Natalie's the star
The book centres on Natalie, a high school student from the wrong side of town but thanks to her mum's aspirations (dating a rich man) Nat goes to a post school and mixes with the rich kids.
Competitive - princess status
The timing of the book is around an annual competition for prince and princess of the school and town and Nat is determined that she and her boyfriend Mike will win and she won't let anyone get in her way.
Murder on the dance floor?
This leads to a murder story although it's fairly tame and mainly accidental. You get a look at Nat's difficult past and how she wears a shield of hardness around her vulnerability to gain popularity and status at school.
A lot happens in the week the book focuses in and it shows how fickle teens can be. I didn't particularly like Nat or any of her friends and she is really mean to her stepsister who she nicknames the double d because of her initials and her large breasts.
The book has a few risque moments mainly around Nat throwing herself (and her legs) round boyfriend Mike. She uses her sexuality to get what she wants from him and they nearly get caught 'inflagrante' many times. Tales of sneaking out at midnight to meet and using vacant holiday homes and boats to get up to mischief are maybe not lessons you want your own teen to copy!
I could see this book easily being made into a film. It's very much a risque version of glee or High School Musical with all the bitchyness and competitiveness thrown together. Add to this a ghost and you've got your plot.
In conclusion, this book reminded me a lot of the film 'Mean Girls' in its genre. It was quite adult in content in places although not graphic, a suggestion of things being quite sexual so I wouldn't recommend this to younger children but I bet they'd love it if they got their hands on it!
Synopsis: From Amazon
A steamy Southern beauty makes one fatal mistake
Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school's Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn't share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie's nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party--when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead.
From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should've messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.
Cruel Intentions meets Macbeth in this seductive, riveting tale of conscience and consequence.
Review: As you can see from the synopsis this book has been branded as a cross between Macbeth and Cruel Intentions well let me tell you Lady Macbeth and Kathryn have nothing on Natalie Hargrove.
High school cliques and politics are shown in microscopic and unflattering detail. Easy to relate to but uncomfortable on such a close inspection. I had the feeling that for some reason the cliques in the 'South' are perhaps the worse on the planet. Maybe someone can explain why this is the case to me.
The prologue starts with a direct address to the reader in first person narrative, I wasn't sure who was doing the address at first until later in the book when all the pieces fall into place. When the pieces clicked, (perhaps it was just me being silly about not completely getting it in the first place), the sporadic placement of direct address to the reader gives the narrative an intimate feel, almost like reading someones diary.
Written in first person narrative from Natalie perspective. Totally obsessed with status and position without a thought to anyone but herself. To say that Natalie is not the most like-able of protagonist would be an understatement. However, through flashbacks and plot hints regarding Natalie's background/upbringing/past I did feel sorry for her and was able to understand her motivation/drive to some degree.
I can't go into the detail of the plot without giving away spoilers, so I will leave it to your imagination, let me just say that the way in which the events are handled leads to repercussion and consequences far beyond anything 'normal'. Remember: honesty is always the best policy [ ; D ]
The wonderful vocabulary used within the prose added the extra element of educational purposes. I will say that I was not all that comfortable with this book due to the concepts of a 'dog eat dog' world. The image of the High School being like a swim through a shark infested cesspit does nothing for my escapism but is *sadly* relatable working in a school myself.
Saying that I did think Natalie provided a great way of giving an additional perspective into the character/motivation of Lady Macbeth and I will be recommending it to the English Department as such.
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove is written by Lauren Kate and published in 2009 and at 235 pages, it is quite a quick read.
Natalie Hargrove is working hard to put her trailer trash past behind her. She has an amazing boyfriend, Mike King, who is both rich and popular. The couple are on their way to becoming Palmetto Prince and Princess and think they have it in the bag but Justin Palmer is also a front runner for Prince. What Mike doesn't know is that Natalie and Justin have a past. A past that she has no intention of telling anyone about.
After a Mardi Gras party where everyone is drinking too much, Natalie and Mike see that Justin has had way too much and decide to play a bit of a joke on him. Dropping him off in front of the church in girls clothes, they think that it is just a bit of fun but something terrible happens. In the morning, Justin in found dead and it is all because of Natalie and Mike. The police are all over the situation and trying to point the finger at Nat. Her and Mike must cover up what they did in order to protect their dreams of being Prince and Princess.
This was a book that I got from Amazon recommendations because of the YA fantasy fiction that I have been reading lately. To begin with, this is no where in the vicinity of being fantasy, nor is it really a romance. I guess if I had to put it in a genre it would be thriller or mystery. Neither are really my kind of thing but I'd already paid for it so I thought I might as well give it a go.
Natalie is a very shallow and self centred character. Although her own family aren't extremely well off, her boyfriend's parents are. As soon as they get together, Natalie wants them to be the perfect couple and will go to any length to make sure that no one gets in her way. I think that Natalie is the most hard to like protagonist that I have ever read about. Nothing about her made me like her even a little bit and that made reading her story quite hard. You're supposed to end up feeling a bit sorry for her towards the end but I thought she got what she deserved as hard as that sounds. She messed around everyone she knew and for that, I disliked her even more.
Natalie's boyfriend, Mike King was very underused. He played quite a bit part in the story to begin with but after that, he disappeared a lot. Mike is one of the most popular guys in school and should have been a strong character. As Natalie overpowers him for the most part, he ends up coming across as a bit of a wimp. Definitely not what I look for in the hero of a book. I would have liked it if he stood up to Natalie more, even trying harder would have helped but he seemed like such a push over.
Maybe it was because this wasn't a book that I would normally read but there wasn't much about it that I actually liked. There wasn't much mystery to the story as you know who did it, where and why to begin with. The only thing you don't know is how it is going to end. It was quite obvious that Natalie and Justin had some kind of past but we don't get to find out why until about half way through. The ending was quite rushed and everything seemed to be over within only one or two pages.
I guess I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone as there was so little that I liked about it. Definitely wont be reading anything from this author again unless it comes highly recommended from anyone on here.