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ARC Review: With Malice

With Malice

  • Original Title: With Malice by Eileen Cook
  • Edition: Kindle, 320 pages
  • Published: June 7, 2016 by HMH Books For Young Readers
  • Characters: Jill Charron, Simone McIvory
  • Rating: 4/5
  • Goodreads

Description: Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron’s senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. She 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.

I received a download of an Advanced Reader’s Copy via NetGalley of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

First Lines: “Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. I’m not a morning person. Understatement. My hand couldn’t seem to muster the energy to turn off the alarm. It picked at the covers. The blanket felt wrong. Scratchy. Thin. This isn’t my bed.”

With Malice was surprisingly entertaining! I haven’t delved much into the thriller and suspense genre, especially in young adult novels, but the cover for this one was gorgeous and the blurb piqued my interest. This novel had all the elements of a good story, as noted by the main character’s pontifical lawyer, Evan Stanley — “two pretty girls, an exotic foreign location, a mystery, and a chance for revenge and jealousy as a motive.”

When Jill Charron wakes up in the hospital, she realizes that not only has 6 weeks passed, but her best friend, Simone McIvory, was killed in a car accident while they were abroad in Italy. If that’s not enough to break anyone, Jill learns that she was the driver, and the Italian police are convinced that the accident wasn’t an accident after all, but a planned murder-suicide plot.

The book flips back and forth between Jill’s point of view in present day and telling what happens in Italy. The flashbacks, if you can call them that, comprise most of the real action and drama in this story. It is presented through old letters, emails, news articles, blog posts, police interviews, transcripts, and other sources. The problem is a lot of it is hearsay and gossip, so who do you trust? We also see flashes of what happens as Jill struggles to recover her memories of the events–or do we? Trying to put the pieces together and figure out the truth is the fun part!


While the plot of With Malice is not awe inspiring or totally original, the execution is flawless. The characters are not perfect, most likely intentionally, and they are certainly unreliable. That ending–

No, I don’t actually hate it. I love it! BUT WHY?


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