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Gorgeous Gruesome Faces

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Member Reviews

Wait! Why this book so perfect! I was hooked from the first page, Ms. Cheng did an amazing job of laying out the stakes and story from the beginning. Although, towards the middle of the book it did become a bit slow or at times I was wishing more would happen—overall, the story was a great read.

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The suspense in this book is so fun. We follow the main character Sunday as she tries to grapple with her past and what’s currently happening in her present. The book touches on topics such as fitting in and the extent you will go. There’s a cute romance and friendship that unfolds between the characters that’s also very fun to follow.

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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.

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4.5 / 5 ⭐️'ˢ

“Gorgeous Gruesome Faces” By Linda Cheng @lychengwrites

📕 Edition: Physical Copy & Audiobook

This book gave me the chills in the best way! 😱 A thrilling mix of horror and dark fantasy that had me hooked from the start. The author's storytelling prowess is top-notch, and I can't wait to dive into the next book in the series! 📖👏

The story revolves around Sunny's quest to unravel the mysteries of her traumatic past, haunted by a tragic event that changed her life forever. As she reunites with her former friend, Candie, and delves into the world of K-pop, the supernatural elements start to creep in, leaving you with a sense of eerie anticipation. 👻💫

Cheng masterfully builds suspense, keeping you on the edge, while also exploring themes of friendship, loss, and the darkness that can lurk beneath the surface. The sapphic thriller angle adds an extra layer of intrigue and complexity to the narrative. 🌈💔

If you're into eerie and gripping tales with a hint of the supernatural and a dash of sapphic romance, "Gorgeous Gruesome Faces" is a must-read.

Gorgeous Gruesome Faces releases November 7th!

Thank you @NetGalley , @Bookishfirst , @lychengwrites , @Macmillan_audio , Roaring Book Press @macmillanusa for providing me with copies of this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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kpop idols and horror? sign me up!

i really enjoyed this book because it was so creepy and perfect! definitely a fall-halloween read as well

thank you NetGalley for the free e-ARC!

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First of all what the fuck. And second I really need to read synopses more carefully because that “speculative” and “speculative thriller” really took me by surprise. At first I wasn’t really into the more fantastical elements (pretty sure that’s my unapologetic love for idol animes rearing its ugly head), but as things unraveled, I was getting more and more into it. One thing that was a miss for me, though, was Sunday’s character - she’s wildly inconsistent to the point that even though the entire book is told from her perspective, I felt like I didn’t really know her. The other characters we get to see beyond surface moments were astounding and complex; it felt like Sunday was just used as a chameleon to fit the needs of the story and mold to whoever she’s partnered with in a given scene. Then again, she’s also a teenager so her inconsistency could have been deliberate.

My favorite parts were, of course, the gory bits. Sunday’s night terrors, the dramatic accidents, and the climax. There’s one particular scene with a knife that was just so visceral and satisfying.

I’m also very interested to see how a book two is going to shake out…

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Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan for providing an ARC of Linda Cheng’s GORGEOUS GRUESOME FACES in exchange for an honest review.

GGF’s premise is extremely appetizing to fans of K-Pop, horror, and sapphic romance. This is even more so if you are a fan of all three like myself. The novel is also reminiscent of THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR, a show I enjoyed watching. Unfortunately I was underwhelmed by Cheng’s writing. It felt as if too many things were being juggled at once. As a consequence, things that should have been better developed, like Mina’s character and horror elements, were sidelined.

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★★★★/5

this did not go where i thought it was going to go AT ALL — i was absolutely unprepared in every way. i was initially queued up to explore the deep and dark secrets behind the K-pop industry and while this book briefly did, the paranormal aspect really came out of left field and smacked me across the face… but i liked it 🙊 (no, i’m NOT a masochist).

this book also delivered on all the spooks, unhinged-ness, and SAPPHIC LOVE ❤️ sunny and candie’s lil dynamic was so cute and throughout the whole story, i was mentally yelling “oh sunny, girl, you in LOVE love” 🤌 to my own embarrassment, i really haven’t read many sapphic romances centered around the main characters in a story before, but this book has inspired me to CHANGE THAT — will definitely read more diverse romances in the future 🫡

however, while i largely enjoyed the haunting premise of the story, i would have loved if the book was longer in order to delve into more of the logistics of the K-pop industry. butttt granted, this *is* more of a personal preference, since i’m quite familiar with the system and would have LOVED reading more about the darkness behind the seemingly picture-perfect facade 🐒👀

anyways, if you want vivid descriptions of gore, a complete bonker, rollercoaster of a time, all tied in neatly with the (literal) horrors of the K-pop scene, this book is for you! again, i cannot emphasize again: THIS BOOK IS UNHINGEDDDD. it’s a short read that’s perfect for halloween imo 😮‍💨

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I unfortunately did not enjoy this book. I found the jumping between timelines very hard to follow and a I could not stand that some pretty awful issues within the K-Pop industry we’re just brushed off. I unfortunately won’t be reading the next book.

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Sunny was once part of a girl group poised to take the world by storm. With her friends Candie and Mina at her side, she was ready for anything. That is, until everything went wrong and ended with Mina’s suicide. Years have passed since then, and Sunny has hidden herself from the world, still recovering from the trauma of Mina’s death and also losing her career and her friendship with Candie over such a short period of time. But when Sunny hears that Candie will be participating in a workshop to find a new star, she immediately signs up. All she wants is to reconnect with Candie, but unfortunately, Sunny is still haunted by both Mina and their tragic past.

I received an advanced reading copy of Gorgeous Gruesome Faces in exchange for an honest review.

Gorgeous Gruesome Faces is a young adult novel by Linda Cheng. I think it would be technically considered horror, although I didn’t find it too scary. OK fine, maybe a little bit. There was definitely at least one moment when I said “Oh God,” and cringed away from the page. But fear was just one of the feelings I had while reading this!

From the very beginning, the reader is wrapped into the mystery of what happened to this girl group to tear them all apart. We get glimpses of how they ended up there, as the book switches between the past and the present. It was fascinating to see how the story unfolded and led to the present, especially as the past informed more and more about what was going on in the present.

You all know I love reading about relationships, and learning how they grow. This form of narrative actually worked out perfectly for me, since I could see how initially Sunny, Candie, and Mina all became a group, before they imploded, that is. That made the pieces that Sunny was left with in the present all the more apparent. It was very necessary too, to understand why Sunny was doing everything to reconnect with someone who appeared to want nothing to do with her.

And while the general story unrolls slowly, there’s a lot of heightened and frightening moments to keep the tension up. We get a glimpse of Mina in the early chapters, and as more and more things begin to happen, the reader begins to wonder if it’s all in Sunny’s head or if something is really going on. Of course, I can’t tell you the answer, but know that you’ll keep reading just to find out!

There were so many twists in this book that I was constantly surprised, and also kept on edge throughout. I literally read the last two thirds of this book in a single sitting, unable to put it down. Despite the fact that I tend to avoid scarier narratives, this sucked me right in!

I think this would be the perfect read for fans of spooky young adult novels, books about cut-throat competitions, or even fans of K-pop, since the workshop the girls are attending is to find the next K-pop star!

Gorgeous Gruesome Faces will be released on November 7. You can preorder your copy from Roaring Brook Press here.

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Lots of behind the scenes K-pop star goodness in this YA horror debut but for me this book felt kind of all over the place. Part myth-based cult story, part queer romance, part revenge tale. I sort of wished the author would have picked a lane and stuck to it.

I liked that it pulled the veil off the nitty and gritty of this world of fame and popularity and the high toll it takes on the stars (sex scandals, cancel culture, etc.). Plus the huge emphasis on beauty at all costs (and the cost is HIGH in this book)!

Good on audio and recommended for fans of Kpop as an industry and books like I feed her to the beast and the beast is me by Jamison Shea or She is a haunting by Trang Thanh Tran.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review! I'm interested to see where this might go next as a series!

⚠️CW: some graphic/gruesome scenes

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Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for giving me a free eARC of this book to read in exchange for my review!

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A sapphic tale of fame and the horror of what it costs. Everyone wants a piece of their idols, and Sunny wants nothing more than to be one, until she finds herself reunited with a past flame and trapped in a cult's ideal world.

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great book and loved the mystery through out the book. I loved the characters and how they grew through all of their adventures. I enjoyed this book and this author and will check them out again add them to my reading pile.

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This was great! I loved the cover, too. The world-building and characters really brought this story to life for me, and I was so immersed and compelled by the story that I finished this in nearly one sitting!

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Sunny Lee. Former teenage star in one of the first successful all Asian-American girl groups, until scandal and tragedy forced her out of the limelight. Years later, Sunny wants answers from the only other surviving member of the group: Candie Tsai. Candie announces she's auditioning for a Kpop training program, and desperate to know what happened in the past, Sunny signs up to join her. But with accidents, betrayals, and the past coming back to haunt them, this situation is even more perilous than Sunny ever could have imagined.

I'd give this a 3.5. The supernatural element comes in a bit too late for me to have vibed with it--I thought it was more of a ghost story than what it was. Sunny is a likable, flawed character (although, she has done things that I personally would find hard to forgive, but she was also very, very young). The romance element as well came out of nowhere to me. I wasn't opposed to it, it just caught me off-guard. There are some serious issues in the Kpop industry that are brought up, but since this is in an (albeit all Asian) American company, all in English camp, those concerns are very periphery. Things like TW: (eating disorders, sleep deprivation, comparison, and even nods to the Burning Sun scandal (very loosely), also the idea that your bias may not be the person you think they are). These things feel nebulous because the training camp emphasizes that they care more about nutrition than certain weight scores (which is great! I am not trying to say that EDs should have been added to the book), but when Sunny discusses her knowledge of the Korean training industry, it feels very distant and like these issues are brushed off/dealt with quickly. The best way I can compare it is to ATK, the JYP survival show for the formation of the international girl group now known as VCHA. The claims were the same: these girls would be going through kpop-style training, eliminations, and trials, but at the end of the day ATK ended with the girls debuting, mere months after the filming and airing of the show (instead of the grueling years that kpop trainees go through. Which is another issue in and of itself, but I've gotten off track). Here, the workshop is supposed to lead the lucky finalists to Korea, where they join an entertainment company. Very similar. I just wasn't the biggest fan of it, in the end.

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Romantic horror has never been my specialty, but Linda Cheng manages to find the perfect (and haunting) marriage in Gorgeous Gruesome Faces.

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Gorgeous Gruesome Faces is a dark, gritty, mysterious co-star/friends to lovers story with a supernatural twist.

Sunny was part of a trio that starred in an Asian American musical show until Mina died in front of Sunny and Candie. Two years later, the two face off in a competition to relaunch their careers. But when strange things start happening again, Sunny knows Candie is somehow involved.

I'm not usually a horror fan, but this one drew me in from the start. Jumping between past and present, Sunny experiences what it's like to be a rising star, the crash, and the grief of losing someone. I liked the lack of homophobia, and I liked the way it addressed unrealistic beauty standards. I still have so many questions, but I guess that's why it's a series. Looking forward to reading the next book.

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I first picked this up for the gorgeous cover, but this book is so much more than a nice cover, this book was amazing. I loved the world building and meeting the different characters. I felt completely immersed in the story and couldn't stop reading it.

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This was a wild read. It's such an interesting take on K-pop that I haven't seen before. There were times where all I wanted to do was look away but at the same time I was glued to the page. The imagery was very well done, not for the squeamish.

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