It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.
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.
(Summary from GoodReads)
I’m not a huge fan of adult thrillers, because whenever I read young adult thrillers, they’re just so much better. I was drawn to the setting of With Malice, because if I can’t go to Italy, I can at least read a book that’s set partially in Italy, right? Although I found With Malice to be a bit predictable, it holds an important place in the world of young adult thrillers.
I love how a lot of thrillers written for teens focus on female friendships. It’s something that Dangerous Girls does, and Cook does an excellent job of it here as well. Of course, this one plays with the idea that Jill may never remember exactly what happened.
With Malice stands out because it plays with privilege in so many ways. While in rehab, Jill rooms with a girl named Anna Lopez, which is eye opening for her in a lot of ways. Jill also spends the novel dealing with her father and her sleazy lawyer, who are primarily looking out for her father’s good.
Cook’s novel is great because it explores gender and privilege. As far as Dangerous Girl comparisons, this one is better for readers who are more into storylines involving memory loss. While not a personal favorite, this was still a solid read, and I think a lot of teens will speed through it.
Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book from the library.