Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

June 24, 2016 Review 32 ★★★★

Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook
With Malice by Eileen Cook
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Pages: 320
Release Date: June 7th 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, General, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Thrillers & Suspense, Young Adult
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It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

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 six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. 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.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

WITH MALICE unravels a mystery about what happened after two best friends take a school trip to Italy, with one returning with missing memories and one not returning at all. The entire novel is driven by the need to answer one question: what happened?

Told from Jill’s point of view, we find ourselves in the same position she is. Due to the fact that she is missing six weeks of her memory, including her entire time in Italy where everything went down, she knows just as much as the reader does about the incident. This makes for an interesting twist, because we can’t entirely trust the narrator but it’s really easy to want to.

Jill explaining what she does know makes her very easy to relate to, her background and experiences paint her as a somewhat naive, innocent, book-smart girl who loves her more outgoing friend to the moon and back. Of course, there is the possibility that maybe not everything is what it seems.

“I wanted to tell her everything was going to be okay,
but both of us knew that was a lie.
This was something that couldn’t be fixed.”

WITH MALICE manages to be a fast-paced story despite the fact that all the action has already happened. There is a strong need to know more-to find out exactly what happened-so the pages fly by. The novel keeps you guessing, revealing information bit by bit while still allowing you to create your own theories and attempt to connect the dots. In addition to Jill’s narrative, WITH MALICE also includes things like police interviews and notes, although it is up to you to decide how much truth is in them.

My only qualm with this book is that I expected the story to be told a little differently; I kind of wanted to go back and forth from the past and the present to slowly unveil the truth of what happened. Instead, we are given Jill, who has a limited perspective, and the police resources. I may be just a bit bitter though because I thought the novel would explore more of Italy (awesome setting, hello). I also wish some points would have been explored a bit more but I was satisfied overall.

WITH MALICE is a well-crafted story I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend if you are interested in any aspect of it. The story is a puzzle with the pieces scattered all around and you are given the information to find the pieces but not assemble them. Not to mention someone might have given you the wrong pieces in the first place. Who’s to say what the truth really is?

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Overall: 3.8

32 Responses to “Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook”

  1. Angel @Angel Reads

    I have been hearing many different things about this one and I am not to sure if I want to read it yet. I like what I am hearing, but when I see problems that people have with the book they are the same things that I don’t like to read – Hard decision.
    Thanks for the review.
    Angel @Angel Reads recently posted…Discussion: Fanfiction?

    • Alise

      Yeah in the end I think you would have to read it and see what you think of it personally, it’s always hard to decide when my feelings on a book are somewhat mixed.

  2. czai

    This is on my tbr (but still don’t have a copy). I like that there’s an unreliable narrator and the police interviews and notes!! And thriller mystery is always my thing and it sounds like With Malice was able to deliver it well. Great review!
    czai recently posted…REVIEW | Gifted

  3. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    But Alise…DO YOU get the answers at the end?! I feel like this is the kind of book that would need to have a definite conclusion for me…even if it keeps me guessing until the very end. I would need the ending to be and FIRM ending. I LOVE the way you describe this as a puzzle and the unreliable narrator though…I’m certainly intrigued. I probably would wish for more Italy if I read this too though – hello gorgeous setting ♥ Lovely review as always xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Clariel

    • Alise

      *evil laughter* DO YOU INDEED. See, I’m usually the same way, books that don’t have a clear ending would bug me to no end but I’m pretty happy with this book, no matter how it ended :) Thank you!

  4. Greg

    I want to read this one, although I’m a little disappointed the Italian setting isn’t a bigger part of the book. I was kinda hoping for that too. But I love the sound of the not being able to trust the narrator, but wanting to. That along with the police stuff does sound compelling. And I think I agree w/ Micheline- I love stories like this that keep you guessing but I would definitely want to know at the end what really happened. Hopefully this one does that.

    Great review!
    Greg recently posted…Bookcover Spotlight #54

    • Alise

      Yeah, I know you aren’t supposed to judge on this, but it’s on the cover xD So I kind of expected it to play a bigger part. If you are interested, I would recommend it :) Thank you!

  5. Kyra Morris

    Hmm this sounds interesting. I’m not generally a fan of mystery/thriller books but this sounds so good I might give it a go! :) Great review!

  6. Jessica @ a GREAT read

    OOoh nice! Hearing good things about this one and have already added this to my wishlist! I love a good thriller./mystery every now and then! Especially YA ones. Which is odd! LOL! I mean I read paranormal and fantasy YA all the time, but not much adult thrillers unless it’s by an already fave author! Heehee! Great review!
    Jessica @ a GREAT read recently posted…Teaser & Top Ten Tuesdays

    • Alise

      Oh, cool! I think you might really like this one then :) I know what you mean, I rarely venture out of what I know I enjoy unless it gets really good reviews. Thank you :)

    • Alise

      I think you would really like this one then! The narrator is definitely unreliable and the fact that the truth was so hard to pin down makes it a pretty fun read.

    • Alise

      I know what you mean, I’ve actually strongly disliked a lot of YA thrillers but this one was pretty good.

  7. Rabiah

    I liked this one, but there were definitely things I wish had been done better. I totally agree with you about the setting–if it’s set somewhere as gorgeous as Italy, I would hope for more description. Nonetheless, this one was pretty thrilling, haha! Great review :D
    Rabiah recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Week 171

    • Alise

      Yeah, especially since the setting is so cool (it’s on the cover I mean come on) I really wanted to see more of it. Thank you!

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