Jack Cavanaugh’s Hideous Beauty hits an eerie note from page one. Grant Austin’s return to his old San Diego high school gives him a chance to flaunt his victory over an old teen nemesis. But said nemesis has sold his soul to a vortex of beautiful destruction, and Grant is discarded after their encounter like a limp plastic bag, convinced he’s included in someone’s nefarious plan. Adding awkwardness to injury, Grant can’t seem to say anything right to his still-dazzling old flame, his recent girlfriend, or the gorgeous assistant of an angel-studying professor. Good thing they’ll band together before it’s all over. Playing thematically with half-demon Nephilim and the descendants thereof, Hideous Beauty strives to (very) graphically illustrate the war of dark versus light waged unseen by mere mortals.
Best for: Older teens and adults; fans of paranormal thrillers.
Discern: Graphic supernatural depictions, such as demonic possessions, representations of hierarchical demons by name, and recent physical “liaisons” between mortal woman and disguised demons; as well as romantic and physical male/female tension and Nephilim as “born unredeemable” plot points.