Mystery Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

26153925With Malice by Eileen Cook

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Fast
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, Death, Friendship

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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 cannot help but shake my head and smile at that ending. I don’t like it, I love it. I hoped the author would go there, and she did, so I am a satisfied reader for the most part.

Don’t get me wrong, my guessing the ending did not come immediately after starting the story. Eileen Cook transmits us four to five ideas—if not more—to what could have happened to Simone, who died in a car accident, supposedly.

But was it really an accident?

With Malice is an intriguing mystery/thriller novel with interesting unexpected content: interviews, e-mails, memos…

We, as readers, are meant to analyse the characters; it’s by analysing them that we can figure out what really happened. If you’ve read Dangerous Girls, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The answer is in the clues. Find them and you resolve the mystery.

It took me a while for the clues to dawn on me. They’re subtle, and since we’re humans, our opinion on events and characters constantly changes, with the right influencer (aka the author).

I definitely did not want to sleep last night before finishing this one. Usually, that makes me a tiny bit grumpy b/c I care about my sleeping time, but With Malice is such a fast-paced, entertaining read I had no reason complaining.

I find it terribly underwhelming that we did not see the characters—Jill, Simone, Nico—in action, even in memories. You see, Jill lost her memories of her trip to Italy, therefore she cannot recall any of the events there when she wakes up in the hospital.

That makes it easy for her to feel detached, like everything is just a bad dream, not reality. Her flashes are scarce and brief, so really, do not expect this book to be mainly set in Italy.

There is nothing expressively wrong about this book, and I do mean it. I simply feel that it deserves a 3.5 in terms of writing and characterization. The plot is memorable and original, to some extent, but the characters are hardly outstanding.

Recommended to fans of Dangerous Girls!

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