Author: Eileen Cook
Genre: Young Adult | Mystery | Thriller | Murder
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
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 (goodreads).
With Malice was one crazy ride.
Plot: Jill wakes up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there. She learns that she was in a car accident in Italy with her best friend Simone and that she's missing at least 6 weeks of memory. No one knows what possessed Jill and Simone to get in that car, what they were arguing about, and how one girl lived but the other died. The only thing Jill knows is that she's suddenly the number one suspect for her friend's death.
With Malice was a fun and thrilling mystery that slowly unravels Jill's friendship with Simone along with external observances of their relationship .Jill was the perfect unreliable narrator because she legitimately did not have any memory from her time in Italy, all she has are what people tell her. Who's to say that her memories are actual memories or just ideas implanted in her mind? I loved the added bonus of Jill's aphasia. She struggles to find words, as a result of the accident, and her neurological condition seems well researched. The only flaw with this novel is that it builds up such an impressive mystery, and then when the great reveal comes, it feels like the mystery just...deflates. Although to be fair, no ending would probably make me happy.
Characters: Unreliable characters are always tricky, but Eileen Cook does it right. It's easy to sympathize with Jill because everyone is against her. It's also hard to trust her because there is a chance she had something to do with Simone's death. We just don't know and that's the fun part! Along with that, the secondary characters are just as important because they have some of the clues to Jill's lost memories.
Earlier, I mentioned that there are external observances sprinkled throughout With Malice. Like in Dangerous Girls, there are snippets from police reports and crime televisions. These are interactions that may turn everything you knew about Jill on its head.
Worldbuilding: With Malice's landscape comes to life with its characters. It's the people who inhabit Jill's town that make it seem real and tangible.