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.
Wow, this was such a total shocker for me. I totally was not expecting to enjoy With Malice as much as I did, it was such a highly entertaining read which threw so many theories into the loop before throwing one of the best endings I've read in a long time at me. I absolutely couldn't believe the way that it ended and I loved it.
This is a book about Jill who has been in an accident in Italy and can't remember any of the accident or the weeks before it - all she knows is that she crashed her car and her best friend, Simone, died in the accident. All she knows is that everyone thinks she killed Simone deliberately and the facts don't really help her case. You'd think this book would be full of flashbacks, but the image of what happened is created by conflicting interviews, news reports and blog posts, each with their own opinions. This is just as much about how the media can bend how a suspect is seen by the public as much as what really happens.
I did feel a bit detached from the actual crime because we never actual met Simone or Nico or Jill as she was before the accident, and this book really takes the cake on the whole unreliable narrators thing. I lived all of the theories thrown around, I genuinely had no idea how the book would end but it also didn't seem random or unplanned, it just worked for me, the whole book did, actually.
Overall Rating: B+
Book released June 7th by HMH Books for Young Readers
Book received from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review