With Malice

With Malice

With Malice

by Eileen Cook

Genre: YA Mystery
Published: June 7th 2016
by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt




18-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.

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?


Why is they say that you always hurt the ones you love? Because you know exactly how to do it.

With Malice is not a bad book by any means – it’s gripping and it keeps you on your toes from start to finish. But I can’t help but compare it to other YA mysteries – specifically Dangerous Girls – and feel a bit underwhelmed.

18-year-old Jill wakes up in the hospital injured and with no recollection of the past six weeks. She is devastated to learn that, while on a trip to Italy, her best friend Simone died in a car accident – the same accident that caused her injuries. But was the accident really an accident? Or was it murder?

Jill is a well-written unreliable protagonist. Because of her lost memory, we only know as much about the accident as Jill herself does, so we’re left to piece the pieces of the puzzle together right alongside her. What’s great about Jill’s character is the fact that you can never trust her blindly – you never know how what secrets she’s hiding.

The problem with With Malice is how similar it is to other mysteries and thrillers in the young adult genre – especially Abigail Haas’ Dangerous Girls. Both focus around the themes of friendship, are set in foreign countries, and follow a murder investigation. Unfortunately, With Malice is not nearly as twisted or well-written as Dangerous Girls which left me feeling rather disappointed and underwhelmed.

Overall, this is a decent mystery but not anything especially mind-blowing or memorable. If you’re looking for something with a similar concept but better execution, try Dangerous Girls instead.

You can’t tell anything about a person when things are great. If you really want to know someone, be there when things go to hell.


54 thoughts on “With Malice

  1. It’s a shame this didn’t live up to your expectations, because it does sound like an interesting read! From what you said about Jill being unreliable, I get a very ‘We Were Liars’ vibe from it. Would you say they have similarities? If they do I’ll give this one a miss (and most likely replace it with Dangerous Girls – thanks for the recommendation!) as I didn’t care one way or another for We Were Liars.

    Charlotte @ Bookmarks and Blogging

    1. It is definitely an interesting read! And it definitely has some similarities with We Were Liars with the amnesia aspect and the unreliable narrator. Definitely give Dangerous Girls a try for sure though. πŸ˜‰

  2. I’ve heard that this one being compared to Dangerous Girls, one of my favorite YA thriller books, but I didn’t realize it was SO similar. Too much can certainly take away from my enjoyment of the story as well. Too bad though because I do love a good unreliable narrator. I still think I’ll pick it up because I bought it, but it’s good to be warned.
    Thanks for the great review!

    1. Definitely still give it a try Nick, but don’t expect it to be as good as Dangerous Girls. Thank YOU for the lovely comment! <3

    1. It definitely is disappointing! It’s definitely a good book, just nowhere near as good as Dangerous Girls unfortunately.

  3. Sorry you didn’t love it AS much as Dangerous Girls – it’s hard to fight the comparisons, I agree! I do want to check this one out though. I’ve heard mostly good things and I’m still curious. πŸ™‚


    1. Definitely still give this a try Lauren! It’s not nearly as good as Dangerous Girls, but it’s still an entertaining read regardless. πŸ™‚

  4. I feel like Dangerous Girls was TOO good and ruined us for all other YA thrillers sometimes. hahahha. Oh dear. Ahem. ANYWAY! I have this to read but I’ve been putting it off because I’m so rarely surprised by thrillers (again, blame Dangerous Girls) SO YEAH. Sadness that it let you down, Zoe! D:

    1. That’s the problem I had here unfortunately. πŸ™ When you have such an amazing and twisted and mind-blowing book as Dangerous Girls, how is any other book expected to compete with that? Especially one with such a similar premise.

  5. I absolutely loved Dangerous Girls, but when I read your review, I do have to agree how close the resemblance was. I’m sorry that it somehow got its way into disappointing you, Zoe. I still think this book looks so mysterious (judging from the cover, the synopsis, and its close resemblance to Haas’ novel) that I might want to try it out nonetheless! Also, the main character is named after me, and so my search of finding Jill-book-character is now over πŸ˜€

    I loved reading through your review as always, Zoe! Thanks for bringing this into my radar!

    1. Definitely give it a try Jillian! It’s not a bad book, but don’t expect it to be nearly as mind-blowing and twisted as Dangerous Girls. And yeah for finding your bookish name twin! <3

  6. I have been seeing this book a lot on instagram! Sad to know that this book didn’t live up to your expectations! πŸ™ I might give it a go tho! πŸ™‚

  7. I haven’t read DANGEROUS GIRLS, so that’s probably why I enjoyed WITH MALICE so much! It wasn’t perfect by any means, but I found it quite thrilling and engaging and I ended up giving it a 4/5. It was a nice surprise when I wasn’t expecting much from it, so I was happy! πŸ˜€

    1. I feel like I probably would have given it a 4/5 too if I hadn’t read Dangerous Girls first – haha. πŸ˜‰ Glad you enjoyed it Brittany! <3

  8. My feelings were very similar to yours – overall, this is not a bad book, but it wasn’t exceptional in any way either… And yeah, it was a tad bit too similar to DG for my liking – plus I felt like the ending was a bit rushed? Add that to the mediocre characters and I couldn’t give it more than three starts.
    Wonderful review!
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    1. Glad I wasn’t the only one who felt a bit ambivalent about it! And I completely agree about the rushed ending and the slightly underdeveloped characters. I’m happy you enjoyed it though, even if you didn’t love it. πŸ™‚

  9. Oh dear, I’m sorry this book was disappointing! I haven’t read this one OR Dangerous Girls, although I have heard so many great things about the latter… all the same, the blurb of With Malice does sound quite intriguing… its a shame the story inside doesn’t match up! Especially since it has such a lovely cover. Brilliant review, Zoe! <3

    1. It is a shame, isn’t it? It wasn’t a bad book, but there were so many areas that could have been expanded on. Thank you Rebekah!

  10. Sorry to see this didn’t live up to your expectations! I do agree that Dangerous Girls is just on another level entirely, and I’m not surprised other books aren’t as good. With Malice does sound interesting, but I have never been a very huge fan of mysteries or thrillers, unless they are mind blowing (like Dangerous Girls).

    Awesome review Zoe!!

    1. Sorry this doesn’t seem to be up your alley Valerie. πŸ™ I know what you mean though – unless they’re mind-blowing, mysteries and thrillers can feel a little underwhelming. Thank you! <3

  11. I haven’t read Dangerous Girls but now I want to xD I agree that this one was not as twisty as I expected and it was a little saddening that there wasn’t too much action involved. I did like how it kept you interested for the most part. Nice review πŸ˜€

  12. It definitely sounds like we’re trying to find more books to shock us like Dangerous Girls did! I have this one to read but I’ll know not to set my expectations too high. Lovely review Zoe, as always! I hope you are well girl <3

    1. Thank you Jeann! Definitely give it a try, but don’t expect it to be quite as twisted or unpredictable as DG. Thank you! <3

  13. Ooh, I’m glad I read this before picking this one up because I’m sure I’d make the inevitable comparisons to Dangerous Girls and I looved that book. I have heard a lot of raving reviews of this one, though, and I’m glad it wasn’t too disappointing. I’m not one to gravitate towards this genre, so for now I’m just going to skip this, I think. But thanks for such a helpful and honest review, Zoe! πŸ™‚

    1. That’s the problem. When you have such an amazing and twisted and mind-blowing book as Dangerous Girls, how is any other book expected to compete with that? Especially one with such a similar premise. Thank YOU for the lovely comment Keertana!

  14. Ugh, I’m sorry this didn’t live up to your expectations. I’ve honestly never read a YA mystery or thriller before. Even though this was a disappointed review, I want to give one a try! I’ll have to add Dangerous Girls to my TBR. πŸ˜‰

    1. Yeah! So excited to hear that you’re intrigued by both of them! I hope you end up liking them as much as I did if you end up reading them. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  15. I borrowed Dangerous Girls a while ago, but never got round to reading it because the whole “The Next YA Gone Girl” completely put me off. Now that you’ve recommended it, though, I’ll definitely go and reserve it from my library now.

    1. Yeah, you’d probably like it more if you read it before Dangerous Girls. It’ll probably feel a lot more thrilling and original. πŸ™‚

  16. Ah, very nice review! I have this one, and definitely want to read it, but the Dangerous Girls comparison keeps giving me pause. Because really, that kind of book just can’t be replicated, you know? But I guess if it is a fun enough book, I might give it a shot? I will be prepared for underwhelmingness though, maybe that will help me! Great review! πŸ˜€

    1. Exactly Shannon! That’s the problem with Dangerous Girls – after reading it any book, no matter how good, just can’t live up to it. It’s definitely an entertaining book even if it isn’t especially original. πŸ™‚

  17. I don’t really very many mysteries or thrillers because I don’t deal with suspense very well. But maybe that’ll work in my favour because it means that With Malice might seem a bit more original than if I had read others like Dangerous Girls? Haha, who am I kidding? I probably still won’t pick it up πŸ˜€

    1. If you’re not a huge fan of mysteries or thrillers, this probably isn’t for you Jenna. I’d recommend Dangerous Girls instead if you ever feel in the mood for a mystery though.

    1. It’s definitely entertaining, even if it isn’t the most original book ever written. Glad you’re intrigued! <3

  18. When I read the blurb for this one, I thought it sounded quite similar to Dangerous Girls. DG is one of my favourite books ever, though, and I knew that nothing would be able to compare to it, haha. So this one is definitely on my TBR because I adore mystery/thrillers, and am always up for more!

    It’s a shame that you didn’t love this one, but it still sounds pretty enjoyable overall! I like the fact that Jill doesn’t remember anything – that’s a bit different to most mystery/thriller books I’ve read. I am pretty keen to read this one!

    Lovely review, dear <3

    1. Definitely consider giving this a try, but don’t expect it to be quite as twisted or unpredictable as Dangerous Girls. (That pretty much sets the standard for YA mysteries now, right? xD) Thank you! <3

    1. It’s a good book, but it’s not anything mind-blowing or life-changing, you know? Definitely let me know what you think of it if you end up reading it. Thank you Rachel! <3

    1. To be honest, I’d recommend reading Dangerous Girls instead. Both books are extremely similar conceptually, but Dangerous Girls has much better execution.

  19. I personally really enjoyed this book, but perhaps that’s because I haven’t yet read anything similar in the YA genre- except for perhaps We Were Liars, which I think isn’t too similar. Dangerous Girls is particularly well-loved, I realize, and I’ve heard really great things. I might have to pick that one up soon! Great review! πŸ™‚

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    1. I can definitely see why you enjoyed it so much Aimal. To be honest, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read Dangerous Girls first, but oh well. Thank you! <3

Leave a Reply