With Malice by Eileen Cook
Summary: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.