*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This is no way swayed my opinions.*
With Malice by Eileen Cook is a new young adult novel that falls into the thriller genre. I feel as though there’s a lack of good YA thrillers out there but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed With Malice. I have to think that the story is largely inspired by a real case that graced our televisions several years ago about two American girls who went abroad in Italy and while there, one of the girls was murdered and the other was accused (although I cannot remember if she was convicted or not). I didn’t follow the story but my mom was heavily invested so I would constantly catch snippets every time I went in the kitchen to bake. In With Malice, we piece together the story of Simone and our narrator Jill on their study abroad experience in Italy. Jill wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the accident she was in or the death of her best friend.
While reading With Malice I formed a very strong hypothesis about who I believed was at fault for the accident and I have to say that I was surprised when I was completely wrong. Stories where I’m unable to correctly glean an ending are few and far between so on that merit alone, I really enjoyed the story. It’s challenging to review a book like With Malice because, being a thriller, there are certain pieces of information that it’s important for the reader to discover in real time as the characters in the novel do as opposed to secondhand, through a reviewer. So these are my very censored feelings as to why I enjoyed With Malice. 1) The storytelling – The story is narrated by Jill who cannot remember the past six weeks of her life, so she is very unreliable despite how badly she wants to remember. I really liked that there were breaks between every few chapters when the reader would get a view of what the general public’s opinion of the case is. 2) The setting – the story is largely set in a hospital but the flashbacks to Italy are quite enjoyable. 3) The characters – Jill is an intelligent girl, bound for Yale come Fall, Simone is (was) her best friend right up until she died in the accident, Jill’s dad is a huge pain in the butt who I couldn’t stand but he is believable and most of all, Anna, Jill’s hospital roommate with an unabashed personality and a strong regard for those she holds close to her. 4) The reveal – as I stated before, I really did not see that coming! I have to say that the pacing was a little slow until we got closer to the end and while there were new memories resurfacing, there wasn’t always something noteworthy happening in the present time.
Final Thoughts: With Malice by Eileen Cook is an exciting look at a homicide case that has engrossed the nation. The story is told by the survivor of the accident who is accused of murdering her best friend and is struggling to regain her memory of the last six weeks. If you’re interested in thrillers I would definitely suggest reading With Malice because the mystery will hook you and keep you engrossed even if it feels like nothing is happening at that moment in the story. It’s also worth noting the mixed media sources which give the reader a look into the outside world which has also become obsessed with finding justice for Simone.
A read about a teenage girl who wakes up in a hospital bed and cannot remember the last six weeks of her life, including the accident that killed her best friend–only what if the accident wasn’t an accident?
Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life. (via Goodreads)