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With Malice by Eileen Cook - Review

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Where did I get it? I have no idea! I picked it off the shelves at the weekend, but I have no recollection of buying it or even reading about it! It's a mystery. I might have picked it up at a book event or something. 

What's it about? Jill wakes up in hospital back home in Michigan, unable to remember what has happened. She has a broken leg and her best friend Simone is dead. Jill has forgotten the past six weeks of her life, so she's forgotten that she's been in Italy on a trip with other students. As her parents start to tell Jill what's happened, it appears that Jill may be at fault for Simone's death.

As well as Jill's narrative, we get interspersed witness statements as given to police in both Italy and America, and blog posts from a blog called "Justice for Simone" plus online comments, lots of which think Jill is guilty and beyond redemption. I thought this was a clever way of writing the book, because it meant the reader knew more than Jill did at a lot of points, due to her amnesia. 

I liked this book, I read it quickly and thought it was an interesting story, as well as having the deeper subtext that we don't know the full story through what we read online. Jill is an unreliable narrator and I think that worked really well too. 

What age range is it for? 14+, due to some graphic violence. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No 

Are any main characters people of colour? No 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, Jill is disabled by the accident and it's a big part of the book. I thought it was done well, although I'd have liked to know whether her disabilities were expected to be lifelong/life changing, if that makes sense. 

Is there any sex stuff? No 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Prescription painkillers, I think. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, it is sometimes graphic and as I say there's violence 

Are there swear words? Yes a few - something which I really liked! 

What criticisms do I have? Some of the slang words seemed a little bit off to me, but that's all 

Would I recommend the book? Yes, if you find the premise intriguing.

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I picked it off the shelf and read the blurb and thought, huh that sounds interesting. 

What other books is it like? I think We Were Liars is a fair comparison, although this book isn't as complex (not that that is necessarily a bad thing!) 

How many stars? Four out of five. 

Where is the book going now? Most likely, the charity shop... I am running out of room for books again and need to cull some!

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