With Malice by Eileen Cook

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Actual Rating: 2.5

I really have mixed feelings about this one.

With Malice begins with Jill waking up in a hospital room with no memory of what had happened in the last six weeks. She learns that she had travelled to Italy and become involved in a car accident that killed her best friend.

But wait. Was it an accident? When the media begins to portray Simone’s death as a cause of Jill’s jealousy, Jill desperately tries to continue believing that she would never hurt Simone. But how can she be sure when she can’t even remember the events that changed her life forever?

So I really, really, liked the writing style of this book. I thought that the police statements and chat rooms really accentuated how the media twisted the truth and made Jill seem like the perpetrator.

But although the writing captured my attention, I felt like I wasn’t really getting a feel for the characters. I didn’t really like any of the side characters, to be honest. Simone was placed on a pedestal in Jill’s mind, and over time I stopped seeing her as Jill’s best friend and more like that popular and perky girl that lit up the room. And I just thought that everyone else (especially the parents) were unsupportive to the point where it was annoying (which, you could argue, was the point). I think that the one character I liked was Anna, a girl who becomes Jill’s friend in the hospital.

As for Jill, although she was the main character, I felt more indifferent because it was hard to decide just what type of person she was. The Jill in the beginning of the story felt completely different from the Jill at the ending.

And speaking of the ending, I was honestly quite disappointed. It felt like there had been such a big build-up that seemed to just dwindle down into nothing as the truth was revealed. What I do give this ending credit for is that it’s realistic. When I step back and look at the conclusion, I do see how the media often blows stories out of proportion and how people just need someone to blame, but in terms of the story, I felt like the ending just didn’t match up to the hype and suspense that had been building up for three hundred pages. (And this is the main reason why I rated it two stars – the ending was kind of a let-down and after reading it I just became kind of “eh” towards the entire book.)

Overall, I thought the pacing was okay, although it got a little slow towards the middle. The mystery isn’t solved until the very, very, very, end of the book, and so the suspenseful mood seemed to get a little old around the 60% mark. I also thought that most of the book was actually predictable, and so I wouldn’t give it props for originality, but I do think that the book was well-written in terms of style and diction.

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