When a Book Chokes at the End // With Malice by Eileen Cook

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When a Book Chokes at the End // With Malice by Eileen CookWith Malice by Eileen Cook
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers on June 7th, 2016
Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: The Publicist
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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.

My Thoughts:

I’ve seen a lot of love around the community for With Malice, which added to my excitement to read it. I’m a mystery girl, so I had high hopes for it as a whole. Sadly, the ending had me throwing ALL THE THINGS.

From the first page, I was sucked into the book. Eileen’s writing is engaging, smooth and hooks you from the start. I love how the story was written and pieced together; from Jill’s POV after an accident, as well as police interview transcripts, emails, blog posts and the like. It paints the picture nicely but leaves you with a nagging feeling that you are missing something. The picture that Jill paints is vastly different than the one that is painted around her, so it really makes you think.

What I find most in YA mystery/thrillers is a lack of connection to the characters. Majority of thrillers are for me, plot driven, and this never really becomes an issue. However, it was a small issue with me in With Malice. It could be because Jill is such an unreliable narrator, or because we don’t see her before the accident, but something was just not RIGHT. I didn’t believe a word she said; I didn’t believe a word everyone ELSE said. And maybe that’s the point, but I don’t know.

Now, as the pieces of the puzzle start filling in, we start to see what happened between the two girls before the accident during their trip. What bothered me the most was how anticlimactic it all was. We have this HUGE build up, about 310 pages, and then BAM! I was… just floored and literally said out loud, THAT’S IT? 

While I enjoyed the build up, the back and forth keep me guessing on the WHY not the WHO, the ending fell flat and left me disappointed. Still, I recommend With Malice if you are new to the genre, but not for seasoned mystery/thriller readers.

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Tell me your thoughts

  • Have you read With Malice? If so, what did you think?
  • Are you a seasoned mystery/thriller reader? Recommend a book it the comments!

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10 thoughts on “When a Book Chokes at the End // With Malice by Eileen Cook

  1. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog

    I liked this one a lot but agree the ending was so meh. I really wanted more from it. Great review!

    1. tonyalee

      Yeah, I don’t know. I think because I knew the WHO not the WHY everything felt so… blah! I’m glad you really liked it though 🙂

  2. Lauren

    The ending did leave me guessing a little. I kind of liked it because I thought it was fitting. I definitely didn’t see it as a mystery but I did enjoy the format of the book with Jill and then the police reports alternating.

  3. Eva @ All Books Considered

    Great review! I listened to this one and I’m not sure if it was the narrator or what but I did not enjoy it. After all the hype, I didn’t find it thrilling at all. And I completely agree with you re: the ending…my GR update when finished was “THAT’IT?!” too haha

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