{Book Review} With Malice

{Book Review} With MaliceWith Malice by Eileen Cook
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on June 7th 2016
Genres: Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 316
Source: Purchased
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four-stars

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.

Imagine waking up in the hospital with having no recollection of how you got there and realizing you don’t remember the last six weeks of your life. Now imagine finding out that you and your best friend were in a car accident and she was killed…and then you find out that you are suspected of murdering her! Jill and Simone go on the trip of a lifetime to Italy, but Simone never comes back.

The book is written from Jill’s point of view and is interspersed with police interviews as well as blog posts and comments that provide different perspectives on the events that transpired before the accident. Did Jill intentionally kill her best friend? The police, media and blog comments seem to point to her guilt but will Jill’s memory ever return so she will know what happened? As in real life, the media and news play a big part in public opinion and we see how that impacts Jill’s case and her recovery. Her therapist helps Jill come to terms with the fact that even if her memory of the events does return she will never be sure if those memories are real or false memories because of the way the brain functions and heals.

This is a gripping story that reminded me of the Amanda Knox case. A handsome Italian guy, two best friends, the police mishandling of evidence as well as the media frenzy that ensued, parallel the Amanda Knox case and make for an intense read, I kept turning the pages hoping Jill’s memories would return and wanting to find out what really happened. But will we ever truly know the real stories in either case?

four-stars