With Malice by Eileen Cook | MYSTERY NOVEL OF THE SUMMER

Title: With Malice
Author: Eileen Cook
Pages: 320 pages
Published: June 7th, 2016
Source: Hardcover from The Strand Bookstore
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
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.

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Yes. yEs. YES. Finally the summer mystery/thriller I've been longing before. As you all may know a few weeks ago I finished A Court of Mist and Fury. To say I wasn't torn apart by that book would be a lie because I was irrevocably messed up for the next week or so (give or take a few days) and couldn't read anything. Every book that I tried to pick up, I just put down soon after starting. The fact that this book got me out of a Sarah J. Maas-sized hangover speaks volumes.

The story begins with Jill Charron waking in a hospital bed, unaware of the incident that caused her to be there in the first place. She has no memory of the past few weeks in Italy, of her romantic fling with a cute Italian boy, of the car accident she got into and of her best friend who was killed in that accident. Now everyone thinks she's to blame. The car was in perfect working condition. People claim the two girls were fighting prior to the accident. Who else to blame than the best friend who was driving and survived the accident? The hands are all pointed at Jill as the killer. But did she really do it? Find out in this fast-paced thriller!

First I must state that the memory loss of Jill was done so wonderfully. I personally don't know professionally or medically how memory loss is supposed to occur but was pretty impressed, to say the least. It made sense. It was logical. The author got technical at times and brought up some medical terms like aphasia. I think it just made the story 1000x more believable. Well done, well done. I can just tell a lot of research was put into the backbone of this story. Throughout the story we know that Jill doesn't remember anything that happened in Italy so she's most likely not a trustworthy character and we, as the reader, can't depend on her to help us solve this mystery.

While we're still on this topic, I appreciate how the author dragged out the recollection of her memories. She didn't regain her memories all at one time and the most important memory made an appearance at the end! Now that was one big jack-in-the-box ending!

The author went the extra mile and decided to add a hodgepodge of the evidence in the story. The book would alternate between storytelling and then evidence, varying from things like interviews, police reports, news articles and blog posts. It was literally the coolest thing eva and made me enjoy the book so much more.

The way the author planned out the entire story was just mind-blowing. I obviously can't tell you the plot twist without spoiling everything, but I can tell you this. As the story unravels itself, you begin to realize things that you never imagined would happen. It kept me at the edge of my seat and it was all I could do not to flip to the end of the book and read the ending that everyone was talking about. I'm not even remotely talented at guessing the endings of books so I can't tell you if the ending was surprising, but it sure as hell was mind-blowing to me though.

So you're probably wondering, why not give it the five stars it deserves, Alex? Yes the ending was not what I was expecting at all,  but I thought it was mostly left unresolved. For some reason, I feel like this book should have ended differently or at least on a better note. It just felt like the author was trying to take the easy way out the entire time. You know what I mean?

*You see, even Phoebe knows what's up 
Besides that point, I really did enjoy this book. I knew I made a right choice in picking it up! I couldn't relate to any of the characters personally, but I liked the FOIL aspect of Simone and Jill's relationship. We're given that they're friends but we soon discover where that base of friendship comes from and what the true meaning of friendship really is. We even get dragged into the courtroom! Like.. how did that happen? I just finished watching a few episodes of How to Get Away with Murder and am now being dragged back into talk of law.

The portrayal of the media was so beautifully refreshing. Sure, we read books about famous celebrities that get so screwed by the media but never to the extent as it was portrayed in this story. In fact, the media makes Jill out to be some psycho killer who wanted to murder her best friend because of a little jealousy. She can't say shit that will back her up because she has no memory. Cook didn't shy away in showing her readers just how manipulative and malicious the media can be in these kinds of cases.

With Malice is exactly what's it made out to be. The ideal mystery/crime read that puts both the 'C' in crime and the 'M' in mystery. Also.. what a bomb-ass cover and title. 

Will you be getting your crime game on?

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  1. This sounds so damn good. I adore mysteries - they're my fave genre - so I'll definitely be picking this up. Hopefully, soon! Great review!

    1. Thanks for visiting Rachel! I'm quite the fan of mysteries as well and am glad this lived up to my expectations.

  2. OOoh nice! Been seeing this one around and it really sounds like my kind of thriller. I'm extremely picky when it comes to thrillers, but for some reason I am really intrigued by this one! Sounds like a great read! Great review!

    1. Thanks for reading Jessica! It's really a hit or miss with mystery and thriller books. Either you like it or you really don't. I hope that if you do get to read this one, you'll love it as much as I did.

  3. This sounds really good! And the way its written alternating between evidence and story telling makes this one like watching a crime tv show. Definitely going to give this a shot soon!

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. Yay! Everybody seems to be intrigued by this one. It's making me real happy :D

  4. I absolutely love thrillers, so this sounds like it will be right up my alley. :) So glad you enjoyed it so much! Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    ~ Zoe @ Stories on Stage

    1. Thanks Zoe! Wow, we need more YA thrillers like this one :D

  5. Great review! I've been thinking of reading this one for a while. I love a good mystery and this cover is so gorgeous, but I definitely need to add this one to my list now. It sounds really good and I'm curious about the whole media aspect you've mentioned. I'm also really curious about what the twist will be.

    Traci @ The Reading Geek

    1. I did not expect the media aspect! No one even told me about it before reading it so I thought it was so unexpected and just awesomeeeee

  6. Great review! I've read other stuff by Eileen Cook and really enjoyed it, but this seems SO different than her other work. Memory loss tends to be hit-or-miss, but lots of people have said it is handled really well in this book, so that's good. AND ALSO I THINK IT'S SUPER COOL HOW SHE HAS ADDED MIXED MEDIA. Mixed media is my favorite thing in the world when it is included with books. Thanks for the wonderful review!!

    - Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover


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