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With Malice: A Novel Kindle Edition
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|Length: 338 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 14 - 18||Grade Level: 9 - 12|
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"A creepy, satisfying thriller..."
"This multimedia project is a perfect thriller to stow in your beach bag.”
"Prepare for lots of twists, right up until the very last chapter."
“[A] page-turning psychological thriller.”
"For those who like a suspenseful and riveting novel.”
“This book will have you turning pages as you try and decide what you believe and who you can trust.”
* "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."
"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."
"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."
"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
From School Library Journal
- File size : 8902 KB
- Publication date : June 7, 2016
- Print length : 338 pages
- ASIN : B01ALOCSFE
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Publisher : HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (June 7, 2016)
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Language: : English
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #370,259 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The book read like it was written by someone who either doesn't spend much time with teenage girls, doesn't remember being a teenage girl, or doesn't have a lot of respect for teenage girls. And the result is characters that are one dimensional and trite. I live with an 18 year old girl, and I Can tell you, they have a rich inner world that this book didn't come close to touching. I found much of the teen dialog forced and not believable. The adult dialog was mostly fine, though I did find even some of those characters written as caricatures of personas instead of as fully fleshed-out individuals. And even though this is a YA novel, I didn't think it paid the reader due respect either: the book could have been a lot savvier than it was, even with it's utterly lackluster plot.
Those looking for a story with a good twist? Please keep looking. There isn't a twist so much as a general feeling of, "....Oh. That's all? I see." Like, you might not have guessed that's where you were headed, but once you got there, you weren't punched in the face like perhaps you were with Gone Girl. This book just sort of...ends. And you're like, "Ok, well, thanks for nothing."
I found some of the devices the author used awfully convenient ("My friend knows stuff about computers!" "AWESOME! Can he solve this riddle for me?" "TOTES!" "RAD!") and the entire book was riddled with cliches. (The interview with the Italian guy who describes the girls as bellisima while kissing his fingertips LITERALLY made me cringe)
Overall, weak plot, weak twist, poorly developed characters, but a fast-paced read that does leave you wanting to know what happened, even if that desire hits a wall at the end of the novel.
Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room with no memories of the past six weeks. She's just eighteen years old and seems to have so much in front of her. She finds out that that she went to Italy for the Study Abroad program and she was involved in a fatal car accident that killed her best friend Simone. The Italian Government and so many others believe that it wasn't an accident and Jill killed her best friend. She has to face surgery, rehabilitation, and possible extradition to Italy to face the courts.
Jill's a really smart young woman that has been accepted to Yale University. She comes from a family with money but her father left her mother for a younger woman with two sons that seem to have replaced their family. She's close with her mother but the person that knows her most was Simone. They had been best friends since fourth grade. Jill and Simone are so completely different. Jill's always been about her studies and books, she loves history and art, and voicing her opinion on matters that she thinks are important. Simone was all about being the center of attention, she was a cheerleader, and ended up being Prom Queen. She had no plans for college and didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. She wasn't even supposed to be on the Italian trip and it was going to be an opportunity for Jill to be on her own.
Jill's a likable character that's trying to figure out what happened. She can't believe that she would ever do anything to hurt Simone because she loved her and felt like she was her sister. She hates that she has no memory of what happened or the last times she and Simone were together. Jill does have moments where she's a people pleaser especially her father. She feels guilty or horrible for letting anyone down. Her parents do what they can to leave her in the dark to supposedly protect her. Luckily her rehab roommate Anna does what she can to help her. There are so many people that are trying to make Jill seem like a slut, jealous of Simone, and think she looks like a cold blooded killer. She's never been a social butterfly, she feels uncomfortable in social situations a lot, and she feels better in the classroom and museums, etc.
There are so many times throughout this story that I worry that Jill's future will pretty much be ruined because of this. She's a great character and has moments of strength but this could also destroy her. But the ending showed that Jill will be just fine!!!
What’s happened in those six weeks?
- Jill visited Italy, which was a huge deal for her
- Jill was in a car wreck
- Jill was driving
- Her best friend since elementary school died in the car wreck
Jill is the main POV for the novel. Readers get a glimpse of witness statements and the public’s outrage. Those keyboard warriors. They made me stop and think how we crucify individuals with information given by the media or blogs and nothing further.
I felt bad for Jill. She can’t even trust what she believes are memories.
Unfortunately I absolutely could not stand the victim. Her parents are the kind who are blind to everything their child does. The kind who believe, my child won’t have sex, my child won’t so drugs, not my child.
I found myself getting angry at the victims parents, the victim herself, and all the hateful people who sharpened their knives behind the keyboard of a computer.
Because of my dislike of the victim I really didn’t care how she died. I kept reading to see if Jill would remember. I kept reading to see if the author could turn around my opinions of someone the reader is suppose to feel sympathy for. Instead I felt the end justified itself. Karma is definitely a bitch.
Top reviews from other countries
I’m glad I read this book but I wouldn’t read it a second time. It’s a page-turner, and the title gives you a good clue as to why – the characters, all of them, are subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) malicious so the page turning is about disgust and the gloating need for more disgust. Although it has an American apple-pie happy-ever-after ending, in fact the ending is even more horrible than the rest of the book.
Cook is, I think, extremely insightful about her fellow Americans, and cleverly honest about why they are how they are. For me, the one sentence in the book that drives this home is “… my dad huffing and puffing about how he insisted on the top tier of care.” That will likely seem normal and innocuous to most Americans, to us in Europe and especially Britain it does not. It’s unthinkable to us that anyone would not be given the best care possible because they couldn’t pay for it! But the USA seems to run on money, money as kudos as comes over in the story very well, money as power, money as the most necessary thing to have, and it seems the USA cannot conceive of any human beings who don’t run on this. This, in its turn, shows us why the USA fail to understand how anyone else outside their borders lives and thinks. I find that both horrifying and terrifying, With Malice shows it very well.
The book also shows the innate American naivety which this fixation that money is the root of all good brings about, and the selfishness. I’m not quite certain if Cook intends this or, perhaps, how far she intends it, that may be because this is the first book of hers that I’ve read so I don’t know her very well at all.
The story is based around the story of how Amanda Knox was accused and convicted of the murder, in 2007, of her British friend and roommate Meredith Kercher. In the story the two girls are both American but come from different class-structures, the heroine, Jilly, being rich and intellectual while the victim, Simone, is poor and pretty and good with getting people to like her. For me, this is quite stereotyped but I’m willing to believe it may be true and real-life in the States. Like in the real Amanda Knox event, Cook’s heroine, Jilly, is said to have killed her friend over a boyfriend. Eventually, come the end of the story, the authorities think it was the boyfriend whodunit as happened in the Knox event, although the man doesn’t seem to go to prison. The heroine is well drawn, I think, though I don’t know any American teenage girls it feels right, and so are the other characters, friends, parents, lawyers, etc, with the exception of the Italian boyfriend who seems very two-dimensional. Having had Italian boyfriends myself I’d suggest Cook tries one as they’re far more 3D than she’s drawn here.
I didn’t find myself liking any of the characters, I would never want to meet any of them and this makes the book something of a hard read. It also made me skip lots of times and search for the pieces of information I wanted rather than read it consecutively as I do with books I’m enjoying. It’s that malice again. I was hooked, drawn by the malice because of disgust and dislike, wanting to know whodunit because I disliked the characters.
So why, after all that rather negative stuff, do I say I’m glad I read the book? Because, unfortunately, I think it’s a very good portrait of America. For me, it makes a lot of sense as to why so many people voted for Trump. It includes a massive ignorance of anywhere else in the world; for instance, one teenage friend says, “I don’t think they have 911 in Italy…” Pardon? That’s staggering, that a supposedly well-educated 18-year-old American girl doesn’t know that Italy is a modern civilised country, far more so in many ways than the USA. But perhaps that’s why. Perhaps Americans cannot bear to believe that anywhere is better than they are. Hence my feeling about Trump, folk who think like that would indeed be so dumb as to inflict Trump on the rest of the world. I also have a sneaking suspicion that this teenager would attempt to dial 911 here in Britain, never having even conceived that our ways could possibly be different, and she might need to learn them. I’ve had several driving experiences, with American friends at the wheel over here, where they did what was natural to them at home and damn near caused accidents. And then their excuse was, proudly, that’s what they’d do at home! That, too, is horrifying.
So, With Malice, is worth a read as an eyeopener (should you need one) into how America works. But, like I said, it’s not a book I’d read a second time. For me, it’s a horror story, subtle and ubiquitous because you may never know when you’re actually with people like this, and so even more horror.
"One of the most primal survival instincts the brain has is finding pattern and assigning meaning"
With Malice was exactly what I was looking for at the time and got me out of my reading slump in the most enjoyable way possible. What I loved most about this book is the fact that you are taken on a journey with Jill, finding out the same time as her, exactly what happened six weeks ago in Italy.