Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on June 7th 2016
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
Source: Edelweiss eArc
A read about a teenage girl who wakes up in a hospital bed and cannot remember the last six weeks of her life, including the accident that killed her best friend--only what if the accident wasn't an accident?
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 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but 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.
~ I’ve read a lot of amnesia books (it’s definitely a favorite YA trope, but I have a high tolerance for it because I grew up watching soap operas), but this has been one of my favorites.
~ So not only is this a case of what horrible secrets are lurking in Jill’s missing memory, but the stakes feel even higher than usual. The accident happened in Italy, and Jill is pretty shy which comes off as chilly and withdrawn, and the media has pounced on the story. I cannot help but draw parallels to the Amanda Knox murder trial (for those of you not familiar with it, Knox was an American studying abroad in Italy when her English roommate Meredith Kercher was brutally murdered, whether you think she is guilty or not, being charged for murder is scary but outside the country of your birth is particularly harrowing). Jill not only faces possible lawsuits from Simone’s family, but legal action as well. Gulp.
~ I’m with Jill- I’d be pissed if my memory of my first trip abroad was missing from my brain. I would be the first person in the world to sue my own brain.
~ Jill is surprised to learn that she and Simone were arguing over a boy- Jill just isn’t that into crushing on boys or even thinking about relationships that much. I think asexuality is not explored enough in YA (or really, any genres) but at the very least I’m glad Jill is more concerned with grades and friendship than boys and dating.
~ Halfway through the book my jaw hit the floor, I was that shocked. There were lots of little moments up until then that had me breathless with the surprise of it all, but the whole meeting between Jill and the Italian detectives just blew me away. I’m not use to YA being this intense. Thankfully, I am of legal age, so I can grab a glass of wine and absorb all the shiz that just went down. Finally, being an adult pays off.
~ What I liked so much about this book was how realistic it was- the author really did her research on brain injuries, physical rehab and the law. There were lots of tiny details that really sold me on Jill’s struggles.
~ Throughout the book, we get glimpses into what social media is thinking and it just reminds me that hearing a two minute news story, or read three paragraphs on the internet does not begin to tell someone’s whole story. I need to be more mindful of that and judging by all the super awful comments I see almost daily on news stories, so do a lot of other people. It’s okay to have a negative thought or opinion and NOT share it with the world.
~ And then ending! Oh, my God, you guys! I just imagine that Eileen Cook dropped her pen like it was a mic and swaggered offstage like the badass mofo she obviously is.
~ I LOVED the end but I can guarantee you it’s going to make people stabby (hahahaha) (Seriously, it will, but don’t stab anyone or the book, please don’t stab the book).
Jill- wakes up with no memory of the last 6 weeks, no memory of the car accident that landed her in the hospital and no memory of a trip to Italy where the accident happened. The accident is with a question mark, by the way.
Simone- Jill’s bestie since 4th grade, beautiful, willful and mega popular, she’s outgoing to Jill’s introvert, the life of the party to Jill’s bookworm, and dead to Jill’s alive.
Anna- Jill’s roommate in the physical rehabilitation center she goes to, she’s tough and street smart, although her taste in boyfriends could be deemed questionable.
Nico- the Italian cassanova who shows Jill and Simone’s group around Italy.
Dr. Weeks- the doctor who works with Jill and helps her deal with her memory loss and recovery from the accident.
Evan- the douchey lawyer Jill’s dad hires.
There’s also lots of doctors, testimony from friends and witnesses, Jill’s butthead father, her sweet mom, her whiny stepmom, and many mean online commenters.
The whole book contains countless midnight moments! I already mentioned that Jill’s talk with the Italian detectives had me jaw dropped and speechless, but the dream (or memory) that Jill has towards the end was monumental.
Stop the Clock:
With Malice is going to stir people up. One of the things that I find so interesting is the human brain, and Cook touches upon the subject of false memories and how our brains struggle so hard to fill in gaps that our memory really can’t always be relied upon to be accurate. I used to think eye witness testimony was strong evidence, but I realize now that so much of what we think we see is colored by our own experiences. With Malice contains a lot of testimony and opinions of people who differ vastly on who they think Jill and Simone are, and I found that fascinating. I seriously might make my book club read this because I really want to talk about this book, in depth. If you read it, please hit me up- I still have so many thoughts whirling in my head.
With Malice gets a Midnight Book rating of: