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With Malice
     

With Malice

4.0 10
by Eileen Cook
 

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For fans of We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train comes a chilling, addictive psychological thriller about a teenage girl who cannot remember the last six weeks of her life.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron's senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a

Overview


For fans of We Were Liars and The Girl on the Train comes a chilling, addictive psychological thriller about a teenage girl who cannot remember the last six weeks of her life.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron's senior trip to Italy was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime. And then the accident happened. Waking up in a hospital room, her leg in a cast, stitches in her face, and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be, Jill comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident in her travels abroad. 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. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.
 
 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
04/11/2016
A tragedy during a senior class trip to Italy shatters the lives of two best friends in Cook’s engrossing tale of innocent lies and intentional deception. Jill Charron and Simone McIvory have been friends since fourth grade—Jill is the studious one from a wealthy family, while Simone is the natural leader with the infectious personality. Yale-bound Jill saw the Italian adventure as a way to experience the world with Simone at her side, but when she wakes up in a hospital bed, the last six weeks have been erased from her memory: the trip, the car crash that caused her injuries, and, worst of all, Simone’s death. Whisked back from Montepulciano to the U.S., Jill is in the middle of a complicated criminal case and a psychological minefield where her lost memories are concerned. As her rehabilitation progresses, the Italian authorities threaten deportation, and questions of false memories and outside motivations loom. Cook (Remember) believably portrays the struggles of girl who had it all and is left to pick up the pieces of a life she isn’t sure is hers. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barbara Poole, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher

An Entertainment Weekly “Seriously Scary Summer Read”

"A creepy, satisfying thriller..."
–Entertainment Weekly

"This multimedia project is a perfect thriller to stow in your beach bag.”
–TeenVogue.com

"Prepare for lots of twists, right up until the very last chapter."
–Seventeen.com

“[A] page-turning psychological thriller.”
–Bustle.com

"For those who like a suspenseful and riveting novel.”
–Glitter Guide

“This book will have you turning pages as you try and decide what you believe and who you can trust.”
–Parade.com


• "Cinematic scene breaks and propulsive reveals will keep the pages furiously turning in this slow-burning but explosive thriller."
–Booklist, STARRED review

"[With Malice] is a page-turner, and the ending is unsettling—let the reader beware."
–VOYA

"A solid thriller that will leave readers guessing until the very last page."
–School Library Journal

"Cook believably portrays the struggles of girl who had it all and is left to pick up the pieces of a life she isn’t sure is hers."
–Publishers Weekly

"The hoopla surrounding the accident is played well, reminiscent of the real-life Amanda Knox trial. Jill's past-tense narration is complemented by Justice for Simone blog posts, police transcripts, text messages, email, Facebook comments, and Crime Watch episodes, through which details of their frenemy-ship and what might've happened emerge."
–Kirkus

"The story is twisty, well-written, and so powerful that I felt as though I was reading about a true crime. Is there anything more complex or vicious than a teen girl? Especially one with secrets."–Chevy Stevens NYT Bestselling author Still Missing and Those Girls

"Some books you read and forget immediately. Some you finish and want to start again immediately. This is one of the latter. Staggeringly smart, just enough sexy, and virtually seamless."–Terra Elan McVoy, author of Edgar Finalist, Criminal 
VOYA, June 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 2) - Kathleen Beck
Jill awakens in a hospital bed with a head injury, a broken leg, and no memory of how she got there. On a student trip to Italy, she gradually learns that she was in a car wreck in which her best friend, Simone, died. But Simone was not even supposed to be in Italy, and Jill had not rented the car. Through a variety of means—straightforward narration, e-mails, texts, interviews, newspaper articles, blog posts—a complex picture of Simone and Jill’s relationship emerges. In their friendship, Simone was the risk-taker and Jill the quieter, responsible one. Sometimes Jill had to take the rap for Simone or play second fiddle, but she did not mind. When people start suggesting that Jill deliberately caused the accident, she is outraged. Jill’s psychologist warns her about false memories, but as the clouds of confusion slowly lift, Jill begins to wonder, Could her accusers be right? Cook’s previous novels address issues of friendship, romance, and deception. Fans expecting a mystery/thriller/teen rivalry story will find upended expectations and a morally ambiguous conclusion. There are echoes of the actual case of American student Amanda Knox, accused of murdering her roommate in Italy. The complex plot bogs down at times as readers unravel the various viewpoints, with an occasional false note (“snatched from the bosom of her family”?). Jill’s Latina hospital roommate and confederate, Anna, and Jill’s mom are hastily sketched. The story is a page-turner, and the ending is unsettling—let the reader beware. Purchase this book where the author is popular. Reviewer: Kathleen Beck; Ages 12 to 18.
VOYA, August 2016 (Vol. 39, No. 3) - Meghann Meeusen
When Jill Charon wakes up in the hospital, she has no memory of the last several weeks—including the car accident in Italy that resulted in the death of her best friend, Simone. Jill soon learns that while on her school trip abroad, she was driving a car that sped over the embankment, resulting in a tragedy that may not have been an accident after all. Jill tries to piece the truth together amidst speculation driven by the Italian police and social media, but realizes that whatever occurred, anger and jealously abounded in her final days with Simone. As bits and pieces of the story emerge and Jill tries to discern the difference between her real memories and the changing story the media spins, she begins to wonder—is she really as incapable of what they are saying as she initially believed? Combining Jill’s first-person narration with online excerpts, police interviews, and other artifacts, With Malice keeps readers guessing, never really sure what to believe about the trip that not only ended Simone’s life, but will also change Jill forever. A dramatic story filled with traditional elements of teen angst, the text’s true interest rests in a suspense held throughout the novel’s entirety. What really stands out about the story is its commentary on the power of social media, leaving readers to wonder what constitutes “truth” and whether the stories we tell—to ourselves, in the news, or online—matter more than anything else. Reviewer: Meghann Meeusen; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
04/01/2016
Gr 9 Up—Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room recovering from a broken leg and a traumatic brain injury with no memory of how she got there. She doesn't remember anything about her study abroad trip to Italy six weeks ago with her best friend Simone. She doesn't remember the car crash that killed Simone or the flight her wealthy father chartered to get her to an American hospital. She doesn't remember why she might need the lawyer her father has hired. Everyone thinks they know what happened between Jill and Simone, thanks to eyewitness accounts and the sensational news coverage, but it's up to Jill to figure out the truth for herself. This character-driven thriller teases out what might have happened between the two girls as the events leading to the accident slowly unfold. Jill's recovery includes realistically portrayed rehab for her broken leg and speech therapy for the aphasia that leaves her forgetting words. Cook intersperses Jill's first-person narration with police interviews, news coverage, and blog posts about the car crash. Travel guide excerpts are as close as readers will get to any Italian locations as Jill's memories of the trip remain elusive for most of the novel. Flashbacks, Facebook posts, and emails help to further develop Jill and Simone's complicated relationship. The rest of the cast fall more comfortably into stock character territory. Questions of what Jill remembers and what might have been a dream or suggested memory lend a chilling quality to the conclusion of this novel. VERDICT A solid thriller that will leave readers guessing until the very last page.—Emma Carbone, Brooklyn Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2016-03-30
Yale-bound student Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital bed to a nightmare. Her best friend, Simone McIvory, is dead. And Jill is accused of murder.While the white teen recovers from massive head injuries, she discovers Simone was killed in a car crash while they were in Italy during an Adventures Abroad program, her dream trip. Everyone says Jill was the driver, but she can't remember the accident or being in Italy at all, due to her retrograde amnesia and struggles with aphasia. While in rehab, Jill works on her memory with Dr. Weeks and meets roommate Anna Lopez, both of whom provide respite during the media firestorm. Rumors heat up implying that Jill and Simone fought over Nico, their Italian tour guide. The hoopla surrounding the accident is played well, reminiscent of the real-life Amanda Knox trial. Jill's past-tense narration is complemented by Justice for Simone blog posts, police transcripts, text messages, email, Facebook comments, and Crime Watch episodes, through which details of their frenemy-ship and what might've happened emerge. It's a virtual he said/she said at its loudest and, oftentimes, most cruel. What falls short are stereotypical depictions of characters, like Evan (pushy lawyer), Nico (Casanova), or Jill's father (midlife abandoner). No one character really shines, not even Jill. What does provide interest is the slippery notion of truth versus memory versus perception.Gossip and hubbub abound in this tame mystery. (Mystery. 14-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544805095
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
06/07/2016
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
41,819
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

I’m not a morning person. Understatement.
     My hand couldn’t seem to muster the energy to turn off the alarm. It picked at the covers. The blanket felt wrong. Scratchy. Thin.
     This isn’t my bed.
     The realization made me uneasy. I must have crashed somewhere else. I hoped I’d remembered to call my mom. I felt a ripple of worry. If not, I was going to be in deep shit for not coming home. She was already mad about . . .
     My brain was blank. I couldn’t remember why she was ticked at me. I remembered fighting about it. I’d slammed my door, and Mom threatened if I did that again, she’d take it off the hinges, but the reason why we’d argued was gone.
     It felt like the reason was right on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn’t pin it down. Every time I tried to concentrate, it slipped away.
     Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
     Most annoying alarm ever. It sounded only half awake, a slow, quiet beeping, just loud enough to make it impossible to ignore. All I wanted was to go back to sleep.
     I was exhausted. Even my skin was tired, like I was stretched too thin.
     I swallowed and winced at how dry my throat was. I don’t remember partying last night. What the hell did I drink? My stomach did a barrel roll. I made myself concentrate on not throwing up. Simone must have talked me into doing shots. She was the captain of bad decisions. I told myself I wasn’t scared, but it was weird that I couldn’t remember. What if someone had slipped me something? My mom had sent me an article on roofies, and I’d rolled my eyes, thinking she worried about stuff that was never going to happen, but now it didn’t seem so stupid.
     Don’t freak out. You’re fine. Just figure out where you are.
     I forced my eyes open. They felt gritty, like I’d rolled them in sand before popping them into my skull. It was too bright in the room. It was hard to make anything out clearly. There was a window with the blinds up and bright sunshine blasting in. Like it was afternoon instead of early morning.
     Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
     I turned my head to see the alarm, but as soon as I moved, there was a shot of pain, sharp, like a dental drill, driving into my brain. I moaned and my vision blurred.
     I blinked and realized it wasn’t a clock. It was some kind of machine. Plastic tubing connected it to me, pooling over the rail of the bed, leading to a needle that was stuck to the back of my hand with clear medical tape that made my skin look wrinkled and old.
     I was in a hospital.
     My heart skipped a few beats. Something bad had happened. Hospital bad.
     “Are you going to stay with us this time?”
     I turned very slowly, trying to avoid a repeat of the pain in my head. A woman leaned over. She was wearing bright yellow scrubs. A stethoscope draped around her neck. It looked almost like a . . . The word skipped out of my head. Gone. I tried to focus, it was like a . . . serpent. That wasn’t the right word, but I couldn’t think of it. Thinking about it was making my headache worse. I opened my mouth to ask her what the right word was, but nothing came out. My heart raced and I clenched my hands into fists over and over.
     “Just relax,” she said. She pressed the back of her cool hand to my forehead. “You’re okay.”
     I could tell that nothing about this situation was okay, but I didn’t want to be difficult. She seemed really nice. You could tell by her eyes. That’s one of my abilities. To judge someone’s character by their eyes. The window to the soul, as Big Bill Shakespeare would say. I wrote an essay on that quote last year and won a writing contest from the school district. It had only a fifty-buck award, along with a certificate “suitable for framing.” I acted like it was no big deal, but I was actually really proud.
     “ . . . you are?”
     I blinked. I’d missed what she said. She was going to think I was rude. She stared at me, waiting for an answer. I swallowed again. I would have sold my soul for one of those cold, sweaty bottles of Dasani from the vending machine by the gym.
     “Okay, let’s try something else. Do you know your name?” she asked.
     Was she kidding? Did I know my name. Didn’t she know who she was talking to? National Merit Scholar. Perfect score in Ms. Harmer’s chemistry class, first time in school history. State debate champion and an almost certain shoo-in for our class valedictorian, as long as Eugene Choo didn’t pull ahead. Not that I’m rooting for the guy to fail, but if he got an occasional 89 instead of 100 on a paper, I wouldn’t weep a thousand tears.
     Know my own name? This one I got.
     “Jill,” I croaked. My voice sounded like I smoked a few packs a day and gargled with gravel.
     She smiled widely and I felt the absurd rush of pride I always experienced when I got a question right. I really had to work on my need to be such a pleaser. You’d think I wouldn’t always demand validation. Simone’s always on me for that.
     Simone was going to freak when she heard I was in the hospital. She’d bring me new PJs from Pink so I wouldn’t have to wear this disgusting hospital gown that probably was last worn by some incontinent old man. Or someone who died in it.
     Gross.
     Simone would also bring a stack of her favorite trashy magazines. She’d make me move over so she could sit on the edge of the bed, and we’d take a photo she could put online. Things would be better when she got here. Simone had that effect on people. She’d make this an adventure. My throat seized, and I was suddenly sure I was about to start crying. I wanted her there so badly my chest ached.
     “I’m going to get the doctor,” the nurse said. “A lot of people are going to be glad to see you back with us.”
     I started to nod, but the pain came again when I moved my head, so I stopped. I closed my eyes when she left the room. It was good to be back.
     I just wished I knew where I’d been.

“Knock-knock.”
     There was a sharp prick of pain in my foot. My eyes snapped open. A guy in a white lab coat stood at the end of my bed. Before I could say anything, he jabbed the arch of my foot with a large pin.
     WTF?
     “Do you feel that?” He reached for my foot, and I pulled it away. Back off, Dr. Mengele.
     He smiled and laughed. He was a happy sadist. “Looks like you felt it. Do you remember meeting me?” He moved closer so he was standing at the side of the bed. His hair was curly and stuck up like dandelion fluff. He looked a bit like a clown, or somebody’s goofy uncle Dwight, who could be counted on to make lame jokes and wear one of those holiday sweaters with a reindeer on the front to Christmas dinner in a nonironic kind of way.
     Creep alert. I shook my head slowly. I’d never seen this guy before in my life. The sheets tangled underneath me as I scootched to the far side of the bed.
     “We’ve met a couple of times. I’m Dr. Ruckman.” He stared down at me.
     “Hi,” I said. My voice still didn’t sound like my own. “Where’s my m-m-mom?” The words snagged in my throat, forcing me to push them out. I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t there. Normally my problem was getting rid of my mom. I’d never been in the hospital before. Well, once in second grade. I fell off the—Dammit. Now I can’t think of what they’re called. The ladder thing, suspended above the playground. Lion bars? No. Elephant bars. That’s not it either, but that’s like it. You swing across them. I’d had to get stitches, but I’d never stayed in the hospital before. Maybe she didn’t even know I was here. She could be sitting up, waiting for me to come home, getting worried. Guilt bloomed in my chest. I didn’t want her to worry.
     “Your mom went down to get some coffee. She was here all night, hoping you’d wake back up,” he said.
     All night? I’d only closed my eyes for a second. The light in the room was different. I turned; it was dark outside the window, the sky just starting to lighten to a deep purple bruise blue at the horizon. Sunrise. Where the hell had the rest of yesterday gone? Panic rippled through my stomach, threatening to take over.
     “You think you’re up for trying something to drink?” the doctor asked. He reached for the plastic pitcher on the table.
     My mouth watered. I’d never wanted anything that badly. There were crack addicts who were less needy. I nodded.
     The doctor pressed a button, and the bed cranked up a bit higher. I was barely sitting up and it still made me lightheaded. He guided the straw between my lips. I wanted to tell him I could do it, but I wasn’t actually sure I could. I took a sip of the water and almost cried at how good it tasted. I tried to take another, but he pulled the glass away.
     “Let’s take it easy. See how that sits for a minute or two,” Dr. Ruckman said. “Can you do something else for me? Can you raise your right hand?”
     I reached up with my right hand and wiped my mouth. I cringed. My lips had moved beyond chapped. It was like I’d run them through a cheese grater. Jesus, when is the last time I used some lip balm?
     “Where’s the—” My brain scrambled to find the right word. “Health professional who was here? The, uh, caregiver.” That wasn’t right. “RN!” I spat out, but that wasn’t what I meant to say either.
     “The nurse?” Dr. Ruckman suggested.
     “Nurse,” I repeated. Nurse.
     “Tish works evenings. She’ll be back at three. She’ll be glad to hear you’re more alert.” The doctor was scribbling something on a chart.
     I licked my disgusting mouth. I bet when Tish came on she’d find me some ChapStick. She looked like the kind of person who would have an extra tube in her bag, along with gum, Kleenex, or an Advil if you had a headache. I felt like crying, but I wasn’t sure if it was because everything hurt, because I wanted more water so badly, or because I was scared and didn’t know why.
     “Do you know what day it is?” Dr. Ruckman asked.
     I opened my mouth to answer and then closed it. What day was it? They must have given me some kind of painkiller that was messing with my head. “Tuesday?” I could tell from his look I’d gotten it wrong. “Wednesday?” A buzzing sound filled my ears, like my head was full of angry bees. I wanted to get out of the bed and run away, but I suspected my legs wouldn’t carry me far.
     “Take a deep breath. You’re okay,” Dr. Ruckman said. He patted my shoulder like I was a puppy who was at risk of peeing on the rug because someone had set off a bunch of firecrackers.
     I shrugged off his hand. Clearly I wasn’t okay. I didn’t even know what day it was. The door squeaked as it opened, and when I looked over, I knew I was in really bad shape. My parents were there.
     Both of them.
     I hadn’t seen them together in same room in years. They hated each other. They didn’t even try to pretend to get along “for the sake of the child.” Now they were standing side by side.
     My mom gasped when she saw me sitting up in bed.
     “Mommy,” I said, and started to cry. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d called her Mommy, but it had slipped out. It felt so good to see her, like she could still make everything better by giving me a kiss. She pushed past Dr. Ruckman and pulled me to her chest. Her familiar smell, a Jo Malone perfume, a mix of lavender and amber, filled my head, and I buried my face in her sweater, crying harder.
     “Shhh, baby. You’re okay,” she mumbled into my hair. I could feel the moist heat from her breath, and I wanted to crawl out of the bed and into her lap like I was six and afraid of something under the bed. She started to gently pry my fingers off her cardigan. “You need to calm down, Jill. It’s not good for you to be worked up.” She held my right hand sandwiched between hers.
     “Hey, kiddo,” Dad said. He squeezed my foot. I could see him swallowing over and over, like he was about to start crying himself. There was no sign of his new wife and the replacements. My stepbrothers. Twins, no less. My stepmom insisted on dressing them alike, as if they’d just popped off a Ralph Lauren billboard. When they were around, I acted like I couldn’t tell them apart. Mostly because I knew it drove her nuts.
     I took a hitching breath and tried to pull myself together. Mom passed me a tissue, and I wiped my nose. Dad pulled a chair closer to the bed for her, and she sat next to me, all without letting go of my hand. He stood right behind her.
     “What happened?” I asked.
     “You were in a car accident,” Mom said. Her lower lip shook.
     I waited for her words to wake something up in me, but there was still nothing, just a void.
     “Do you remember the accident, Jill?” Dr. Ruckman had his pen poised over the chart.
     They stared at me intently. “I think so,” I lied. How could I not remember? An accident so serious I’d ended up in a hospital. No way was I admitting the huge gap in my memory. “I remember tires squealing and glass breaking,” I added, figuring that was general enough to cover all the bases.
     Mom squeezed my hand. Her expression was brittle. The accident must have been really bad. I hoped the car wasn’t totaled. My dad wasn’t exactly generous with child support, and she didn’t make that much at her job. She loved that stupid Mercedes, even though it was ten years old.
     “What’s the last thing you remember well?” Dr. Ruckman clicked his ballpoint pen. On off, on off, on off. It was making my headache worse.
     I fished about, trying to remember something that stood out clearly. Then it came to me in a flash. “I remember being over at Simone’s. Tara was there too. We were celebrating the end of the play. We did Grease. Simone was Sandy.” It was all really vivid. I felt the band of tension around my chest loosen as the memories flooded in. The feel of the worn corduroy sofa in her family rec room. Simone standing on the cracked faux leather ottoman singing “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” at the top of her lungs while doing a bump-and-grind number. Tara and me laughing so hard I’d been sure I’d pee my pants. “We sold out all of the performances. Everyone came.” I glanced over at my dad. “Almost everyone.”
     He looked away. The show had run for four nights, and he couldn’t manage to make a single one. The replacements had a cold.
     Simone, Tara, and I had lounged around, dissecting everyone else’s performance. I left out the part about how we toasted our victory with some of Simone’s dad’s beer that we stole from the fridge in the garage. I was almost sure I had planned to spend the night. I remembered wearing sweats. My stomach clenched. I wouldn’t have driven drunk. I was capable of doing stupid things, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have done anything that dumb.
     “How long have I been out?”
     “Your accident was just over three days ago, Thursday. This is Sunday morning,” Dr. Ruckman said. “What you’re experiencing is retrograde amnesia. It means you forgot not only the accident, but some time before and after too. It’s pretty common with head injuries. That’s also why you’re having some trouble with word finding. It’s called aphasia. I would expect both of these to get better with some time. Do you remember the ambulance?”
     “No,” I said.
     “How about the flight?”
     I blinked. I could understand the words he was saying, but it was almost as if he were speaking a different language. They must have flown me to a bigger hospital, maybe in Detroit. There was a sense that I did remember something about flying, but when I reached for it, it skittered out of reach. Like a spider bolting for a corner. Gone.
     “It’s okay if you don’t recall. You’ve been in and out since you were brought here. Your Glasgow scale score—that’s how we measure the impact of a head injury—was pretty low, but you’ve been doing well, coming up and out of it.”
     “What’s a perfect score?” I asked.
     “Fifteen,” he said.
     “What am I?”
     “Today I’d say you were a fourteen or fifteen.” Dr. Ruckman smiled.
     I smiled back, relieved. Nailed it. I needed an accounting of what else was wrong with me. “My leg’s messed up,” I said, stating the obvious, since it was hanging from a sling suspended above the bed.
     Dr. Ruckman lightly tapped my knee. “You’ve fractured your left femur. When you were admitted, we used external fixation to keep things stable, but now that you’re doing better, we’re going to schedule you for surgery, and they’ll put in some pins.”
     “Oh.” My stomach sank through the bed. This was bad. I was supposed to leave in a couple of weeks. Surgery and pins sounded serious. I’d been planning for the trip forever. “Can I still go to Italy?”
     My parents exchanged a look. A thick fog of tension filled the room Oh, shit. My heart felt like a hummingbird trapped in my chest. They had to let me go.
     “I can see a doctor over there,” I said. “And I’ll do whatever exercises I need to. Or I could use a wheelchair,” I suggested, knowing there was no way a school trip was going to let me go in a chair.
     “Sweetheart,” Mom said.
     “I’ll do anything,” I pleaded. “Don’t say no now. I might be better in a day or two, and we can decide then.”
     “The trip is over,” my dad said.
     “Keith,” Mom said, her voice tense.
     “But—that’s not fair,” I said. “You can’t decide now. I haven’t even had the surgery yet. I might be okay—”
     “No,” my dad cut me off. “I mean you already went. The car accident was in Italy.”
     It felt as if someone had ripped the air out of my lungs. I’d been in Italy, and I couldn’t remember a thing. It was one thing to miss some memories, but I’d blacked out the entire trip. That couldn’t be possible.
     “Sweetheart?” Mom patted my hand. A wave of clammy sweat broke out across my forehead and down my back.
     “This is a lot for Jill to take in. We might want to give her some time,” Dr. Ruckman suggested.
     “No, I need to know,” I said. The beeping from my monitor picked up speed.
     “Don’t be upset,” Mom said.
     My mouth fell open. Was she kidding?
     Dr. Ruckman picked up a syringe and injected something into the tubing that led to my arm.
     “Hey,” I protested.
     “Why don’t you rest for a bit, and we can talk more later?” Dr. Ruckman patted my arm.
     I wanted to yank away from his touch and tell him to keep his patronizing tone to himself, but my head began to fill with thick bubbles, and it seemed I could feel the cold medicine sliding into my veins, traveling through my body. I could almost trace its progress. I sank back down on the pillows.
     Mom squeezed my hand. “You’re going to be okay, Jill.”
     “That’s right,” Dad added. “You’re going to be just fine.”
     They smiled, but I had the sense they were trying to convince themselves more than me.

Meet the Author

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and one very naughty dog and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

www.eileencook.com.

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With Malice 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Take_Me_AwayPH 4 months ago
The person that pitched this to me told me it would be a book that I would want to read in one sitting. And then I talked to some other friends that had read review copies as well and they all told me it would be one that I loved. I was a little afraid because I'm usually scared of overly hyped books, but this one definitely passed the test. Jill wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of how she got there or what she had been doing the night before. Unfortunately she learns that there was an accident that killed her best friend. But then rumors start circulating where everyone else doesn't really think it was an accident...... Obviously the best part of this was the thriller. Every time some other clue was introduced, my heart aped up faster and faster. I found myself not wanting to do anything but read it straight through and find out who the culprit was. The publisher was not lying when they said this was one you'll want to read straight through. I also enjoyed the pacing. With most thrillers they give you all the information in the beginning and then sporadically give you information towards the end. This book will keep you guessing until literally the last pages! The way the story is told shows Cook's amazing talent and I can't wait to read another thriller by her. Lastly, I normally give a rating lower for thrillers that I can guess who the person is, but this one was so well done and so well planned that I stuck with the original 5 star rating. Regardless of the fact that I was able to guess, it was still so much better than a lot of others where I've guessed the culprit and I don't think it deserved to be grouped with them. It made for an epic ending and I can't wait for everyone to read it! In case you couldn't tell from my fangirling, this book was definitely good. Honestly one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time. I can't wait to see more by Cook! (Please tell me you have another thriller up your sleeve because HONESTLY.)
Anonymous 5 months ago
Overall it was pretty good. It had ne wanting to know who did it and what information could tell me something. There was a short period where things seemed a bit repetitive, but it picked up and had me back to guessing
DownrightDystopian More than 1 year ago
**Thank you so much to the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** I don't know about you, but most thrillers and mysteries don't end well for me. I'll be reading a book and within the first 40% of the book or so I can already see how it's all going to end. Though my past has really put me off from reading thrillers and mysteries, I couldn't shake the feeling that With Malice was going to be something different. Boy, was I right. With Malice follows a girl named Jill who has just woken up in the hospital only to find out that she's missing six weeks of her life. What's even worse is that her best friend is dead and everyone thinks it was her fault since she was driving the car that killed the two of them. She has also forgotten going to Italy and has therefore forgotten her most recent memories of her best friend. Jill was a very great character. I've read books before where a main character is suffering from a form of aphasia, but I found it to be done best in With Malice. Jill didn't remember anything which really made the story more suspenseful to me as a reader too, which definitely added to the story overall. Simone honestly seemed like such a horrible person that I oftentimes wondered why Jill was ever friends with her in the first place. She seemed to even blame all the bad stuff in her life on Jill which really is messed up. One of my favorite things about this novel was that every other chapter was tidbits of interviews and articles from websites about new information that was coming to light regarding Jill's case. I honestly lived for those chapters because they revealed so much and always made me anxious to find out what really happened that night that Simone died. Before I end this review, I thought I should mention that lately I haven't really found a book that is so unputdownable that I've read it all in one sitting super late at night until the very early morning. With Malice broke that streak. I was up until 3 am reading this book and then I sat and thought about it for what felt like a while! I know that I'll for sure be recommending With Malice to anyone looking for a thrilling and suspenseful read.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
2.5 stars I loved the premise of this. The idea of amnesia pointed to a unreliable narrator, which is one of my favorite things. Jill is a decent enough MC. She sort of alternates between being a whiny baby or being a crazy person, but in her defense, it make sense for the situation. I loved that we don't really see any of the characters from the past. We get them in police reports and interviews and it was an effective way to introduce us to different people without actually creating them. I had a theory going in and I was partially correct. The mega shocking ending that was mentioned in the pub letter wasn't all that shocking. I had built it up on my head much more than what was delivered. Instead of an epic reveal, it felt like a slow burn that sort of fizzled out. Overall, it was an interesting concept, but lacked the tension I was expecting for a story like this. **Huge thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was very well done. I kept trying to imagine what it must be like to be in Jill's place throughout the story. I really had no idea where the story was going at any given point in the book and I felt almost as desperate as Jill to learn the truth. This was a story that really kept my interest and I found myself thinking about it even when I was reading. Imagine waking up in the hospital with no clue what has happened to you. That is the reality that Jill faces at the opening of the story. Not only does she have no idea what happened to cause her to be in the hospital, it appears that she has no memory of the last 6 weeks of her life. It turns out that it was a rather eventful 6 weeks and Jill is in the middle of a story being covered in the media all over the world. Jill has to physically recover from her injuries while learning to come to terms with the events that have taken place. She desperately wants her memory back so that she find out how things really happened. Her frustration over her loss of memory and learning to compensate for her difficulty in finding the right words in speech as a result of a traumatic brain injury were very authentic. I was rooting for Jill and felt as strongly as she did that she couldn't have done what she was being accused of doing. I thought the story was rather unique. Jill doesn't know what happened and neither does the reader. I thought that the author did a great job of giving us just enough information to keep the interest level high. I did hope for just a bit more for the ending but I was overall quite pleased. I would highly recommend this book to others. I think that this book will appeal to a lot of readers looking for something just a little bit different. This is the first book by Eileen Cook that I have read but I would definitely pick up her work again in the future. I received an advance reader edition of this book from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
COBauer More than 1 year ago
WITH MALICE by Eileen Cook is a fast-paced and thrilling YA Mystery about a teenage girl’s journey to prove her innocence and recover her memory after a terrible accident leaves her severely injured and kills her best friend. I believe this story is very loosely inspired by what happened to Amanda Knox. This book is FANTASTIC! I’ve had a busy couple of weeks recently… But every chance I could get, I was taking the time to read it. The way Cook builds the story is completely addictive. Jill’s story picks up after the accident has occurred and we are given a series of flashbacks (some real, some potentially imaginary) to help us put together the pieces of the story. I thought the use of amnesia and Jill’s struggle to recover her memories one fragmented piece at a time was a brilliant tool that made for some seriously compelling storytelling. I also loved the way the author wove in police interviews, emails, texts, social media posts, newspaper articles, etc. to fill out the bigger picture. This is the kind of book that I want to go back and read again just to see what clues I may have missed the first time around. The ending may be a bit polarizing, as it’s not crystal clear what actually happened. However, I believe the author gives you enough to decide for yourself. I appreciate that much of what you read is left up to your own interpretation. Seems fitting… Excuse me for a moment, cause I’m about to get real cheesy up in here… But buckle up my friends, you are in for one HELL of a ride!
ShelfRider More than 1 year ago
In her latest thriller, With Malice, author Eileen Cook places two girls in Italy and brings only one of them back – with broken bones and memory loss. Cook opens her novel presenting Ivy League-bound Jill Charron waking up in a hospital, having just been emergency airlifted from Italy and not knowing that she was ever in Europe. After being told about the car accident that left her with a broken leg and aphasia, Jill struggles to put together the pieces of her missing memories. Jill tries to use a hospital phone to call her best friend, Simone, convinced that Simone will be able to fill in the gaps of her memories, but Jill is rudely thwarted by Simone’s parents. Jill later learns that although she and Simone had gone on the school-sponsored trip to Italy together, excited to immerse themselves in all the art and history that Italy has to offer, Simone didn’t return from Italy – and Jill is the leading suspect in Simon’s apparent murder. Already wrestling with her lack of memory, Jill is burdened with pressure from her family’s lawyer, who is trying to control what the media publishes; from the Italian police, who want to extradite Jill to face charges of manslaughter; and even from her parents, who have doubts of Jill’s innocence. All the while, Jill strives to remember any piece of her time in Italy, her supposed “lover”, and what could’ve caused such an argument to lead Jill to possibly murder Simone. Cook expertly keeps the reader from deciding between Jill’s innocence or guilt by venturing out of the normal form of writing a novel. Cook builds the story partially through published snippets of blog posts, Facebook posts and comments, text message threads, and interview transcriptions. Cook alternates her chapters from publishing witness accounts and social opinion of the Jill’s innocence or guilt, to progressing Jill’s story as she spending her weeks in therapy and residential care, anticipating the day when she’ll have to go to court. As soon as one piece of evidence is revealed that seemingly proves Jill’s guilt, another eyewitness account is presented that convinces of Jill’s innocence. This method of writing draws the reader into the story, and largely contributes to the thrill of reading on to find the truth. Cook develops Jill’s character around internal struggles, self-discovery, personal growth, and the questioning of faithfulness, all of which a teenager battles during transition between high school and the “real world.” One common coming-of-age reality that Jill comes to face is the reality that she’s going to have to move forward with college and the rest of her life without her best friend, Simone, whom she’s known since fourth grade. Cook challenges this concept with Jill’s roommate in the recovery home, who teaches Jill to be open to trusting people regardless of how long or how well she knows them. With Malice is a suspenseful read that explores the values of honesty, loyalty, and friendship, as well as the argument that a person’s real character is only discovered by persevering through difficult times.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
This book took off from the first page and did not stop until the very end. There were so many theories of what happened to this girl during her six weeks of "amnesia", it was crazy. And, then when it came down to the final reveal, my jaw just dropped. This is an excellent book for YA and one that I'm pretty adults will like as well. Thanks HMH and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book and was most thoroughly entertained.
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room recovering from a broken leg and a traumatic brain injury with no memory of how she got there. She doesn't remember anything about her study abroad trip to Italy six weeks ago with her best friend Simone. She doesn't remember the car crash that killed Simone or the flight her wealthy father chartered to get her to an American hospital. She doesn't remember why she might need the lawyer her father has hired. Everyone thinks they know what happened between Jill and Simone thanks to witness accounts and the sensational news coverage, but it's up to Jill to figure out the truth for herself in With Malice (2016) by Eileen Cook. This character-driven thriller teases out what might have happened between the two girls as the events leading to the accident slowly unfold. Jill's recovery in the hospital includes realistically portrayed rehab for her broken leg and speech therapy for the aphasia that leaves her forgetting words. Therapy sessions allow Jill to process the trauma of the accident while working through her retrograde amnesia. Cook intersperses Jill's first person narration with supplemental materials including police interviews, news coverage, and blog posts about the car crash. Travel guide excerpts are as close as readers will get to any Italian locations as Jill's memories of the trip remain elusive for most of the novel. Flashbacks, Facebook posts, and emails help to further develop Jill and Simone's characters as well as their complicated relationship. The rest of the cast fall more comfortably into stock character territory including the rich-but-absent dad, the smooth-talking lawyer and the wannabe-Casanova-tour-guide. Questions of what Jill remembers and what might have been a dream or suggested memory lend a chilling quality to the conclusion of this novel. A solid thriller that expertly navigates familiar territory, With Malice will leave readers guessing until the very last page. Possible Pairings: The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel, Consent by Nancy Ohlin, Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan, Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten *A more condensed version of this review appeared in the an issue of School Library Journal from which it can be seen on various sites online*
Silk-Serif More than 1 year ago
With Malice was one of those books that catches your interest from the first page and takes you for a ride through a story about coming of age, self-identity and the tricky nature of memory. The narrative is written in the voice of Jill, a girl who cannot remember anything from the six weeks before her car accident that killed her best friend. We follow Jill as she remembers bits and pieces of that fateful summer abroad and follows a bread trail of legal evidence that paints Jill as her best friend’s killer. Did Jill kill Simone, or did her best friend try to kill Jill? Or was it just an accident? On the one hand, the cover of With Malice is GORGEOUS. A tiny villa in Italy, with water colored words? I think this is easily one of my favourite covers thus far in 2016. The actual layout of the book is just as wonderful with narrative, witness interviews, e-mails and facebook posts interchanging one another. The interviews help break up the book and add a few extra plot revelations to the following chapter. The interspersed interviews also adds a little mystery to the story – is Jill capable of murder? Was their friendship really so rock solid? Was Simone really jealous of Jill? It was a masterfully written novel with some really genius methods to build paranoia and suspense in equal measures. The biggest issue I had while reading With Malice was that the main character of Jill was relatively unlikable. I felt like Jill was selfish and spoiled. She was more interested in her own situation rather than mourning her best friend. We see from the start that she relies on others to take care of the situation for her with money and power. Jill’s reliance on her father’s money and her personality made me dislike Jill from the first few pages – and that dislike only intensified as I continued reading. I have to applaud the author because the novel was beautiful and thought provoking without the need to like or relate to the main character. This is a skill so many modern authors possess. I loved that With Malice was largely a plot and mystery novel with thought provoking questions about the correlation between memory and truth. We never remember situations exactly as they happened and as Jill’s doctor reminds her when her memories return – sometimes our memories are shaped by others. In the end, Jill an unreliable narrator who’s understanding of the events of that summer in Italy evolve over time as evidence is brought to life, old secrets are revealed and Jill’s memories become less and less reliable until we have no inkling of the truth. The reason why I adored With Malice so much? I couldn’t stop reading to see what would happen next and what secret or evidence would be revealed. I loved that I was invested in the story (even if I hated the main character) and that after I’d finished With Malice I experienced a rare desire to think about the messages that were explored within the pages. The malleability of friendship, the unreliableness of memory, the darkness of power and wealth in the face of justice – these were all things I thought about after With Malice affected me deeply. This novel with appeal to readers of young adult, mystery and suspense novels. I would recommend this book to people looking for a heavier read that explores deep issues while simultaneously telling a decent story. With Malice is written about issues rather than the experiences of the girl-who-may-have-killed.