ARC Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

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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.

review3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & HMH Books for Young Readers


  • That nagging need to know the truth make you push through to the bitter end. 
  • Jill is easy to relate too. Her struggles to remember, her sense of feeling helpless are extremely authentic and will have you sympathizing with her. Jill is likable, her voice is strong, and she’s passionate. Jill is a genuinely good person and her unwavering devotion to Simone makes you respect her. Jill’s fear is full force. When she learns some of the stuff that happened to her in Italy, it’s like her world is crumbling and she doesn’t know who she is anymore. 
  • The relationships are complicated, there’s a ton of drama, back stories are left just bare enough to make you wonder what is truly going on. 


  • The twist was predictable. 
  • Even though Jill lost her memory and had a bunch of (granted circumstantial) evidence pitted against her, never once did I EVER think Jill was capable. Sure, reasonable doubt was there and yeah, even Jill questions, but that uncertainty for the reader? There wasn’t enough of Jill’s character (per Jill) prior to the accident (even though she had pretty clear memories of her friendship with Simone since 4th grade, other than Italy) to see her as something other than a confused, injured, and pretty demure victim. I think, had there been a little more of their past blended in, more of Simone’s issues, Jill’s insecurities, anything like that, it would have made the story seem more complex and really make you doubt everything you thought you knew about the characters. 
  • This story if full of multiple bits of evidence in addition to Jill’s POV. From police interviews, to hate blogs, to psychologist reports, and news specials, most of these fit in, but there were sections from an Italy travel guide that, while they applied to the book, didn’t really fit and were more of a distraction than anything. The narrative was skewed and all this extra stuff really dragged down the pace, making it much slower and less engaging than it should have been.

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Interesting reading,