Gorgeous Gruesome Faces is a non-stop ride with horror vibes mixed with ambition. It uses this intense competition that may feel life fight to the death with….death. If you like that idea of a queer horror then keep reading this book review.
After a shocking scandal that abruptly ended her teen popstar career, eighteen-year-old Sunny Lee spends her days longing for her former life and cyberstalking her ex-BFF and groupmate, Candie. The two were once inseparable, but that was then—before the tragedy and heartache they left in their wake.
In the here and now, Sunny is surprised to discover that Candie is attending a new K-pop workshop in her hometown. Candie might be there chasing stardom, but Sunny can’t resist the chance to join her and finally confront their traumatic history. Because she still can’t figure out what happened that horrible night when Mina, the third in their tight-knit trio, jumped to her death. Or if the dark and otherworldly secrets she and Candie were keeping had something to do with it . . .
But the workshop doesn’t bring the answers Sunny had hoped for, nor a happy reunion with Candie. Instead, Sunny finds herself haunted by ghostly visions while strange injuries start happening to her competitors—followed by even stranger mutilations to their bodies. In her race to survive, Sunny will have to expose just who is behind the carnage—and if Candie is out for blood once more—in Linda Cheng’s spellbinding sapphic thriller that will have readers screaming and swooning for more.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Gorgeous Gruesome Faces begins with a story about friendship. About what happens when a triangle – which someone told me was the strongest shape – loses a side. Beginning with a distinctly horror feeling, Gorgeous Gruesome Faces explores public perception and images. How we cannot control the ways the public sees us, how our loved ones perceive us, and what we sse in the mirror – even more so when we are in the public eye. It begins by asking us how we can move on from losing someone who felt like a piece of us.
As Gorgeous Gruesome Faces continues Cheng presents a story which bounces us from now and then – to Sunny’s rise to fame and her now trying to claw her way back. It feels like while the past is coming together, the present is falling apart, all while we know that the past has a reckoning coming. Gorgeous Gruesome Faces is a book I finished sooner than I thought because I had to find out how it ended. How she navigated the weight of her mom’s expectations, her queer feelings, and the friendships around her.
If you’ve ever felt like you were trying to impress that one friend, that nothing you ever did was quite good enough, then you have to read Gorgeous Gruesome Faces. There’s a distinctly sinister supernatural feeling in a setting which seems to mirror the cut throat competition with actual throats being cut. Into a book which examines when love and worship turn into resentment and coveting inspires greed and death.
About the Author
Linda Cheng was born in Taiwan and spent her childhood moving between cultures and continents. She received her BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and worked as an art director across South Carolina and Georgia where she developed a deep love for sweet tea, grits, and Southern Gothic stories. She currently resides in Vancouver, Canada with her family.