Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook 

Date Read: August 21, 2016

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Number of pages: 316 pages


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.


With Malice was the first book I’ve read from Eileen Cook and I have got to say that I’m really impressed. I don’t usually read a lot of books with a murder mystery plot but this one got me reading up all night. By far, this is my second favorite book in this genre after Thirteen Reasons Why. The premise of With Malice on goodreads is definitely intirguing, and it’s actually what made me read it in the first place (plus the pretty cover). And to top it all off?  This book is based on real life events.

Jill Charron wakes up after a horrific accident in Italy but she can’t remember what happened. Jill realizes that she’s in the middle of a case, a murder case of her best friend Simone and she’s the number one suspect. After reading a few reviews about this, I discovered that the story is based on the Amanda Knox trial. But of course, Eileen Cook made a few tweaks with the story to make it even more interesting and I’m actually  glad she made that them.

What also got me hooked with the book was the writing style of the author. It was very creative and it really felt like you were part of the whole investigation. The story is written in two ways; the first one is the narrative point of Jill, we get to see her point of view on what’s happening and her struggles to get back on her feet and regain her lost memories. While the second one were police reports, interviews, text messages, facebook comments and blogs. The transition between narration and the reports on the investigation took away the dragging sensation when reading mystery thrillers.

“Maybe I only wanted to believe I was the kind of person who would never do something to Simone.”
― Eileen Cook, With Malice

And I just can’t help myself but to jump into conclusions. I just keep on assuming that either one of the Jill’s friend’s did it. But every clue, every interview led to Jill; which made me want to finish the book faster. When I knew I was 2 Chapters away from being done, I was so nervous about who was really at fault, especially about the court’s verdict on Jill’s case.

Everybody kept saying the plot was good. And it definitely was! I was actually glad the author made that move. The story somehow felt more real to me and I guess that’s what made me love With Malice so much; that sweet combination of a great story with an unexpected plot gives you that life-like experience you wouldn’t forget.

“How will I know who I can become if I don’t give myself the chance to try new things, to push myself beyond my natural boundaries? Who might I be if I am away from the things that I currently use to define myself?”
― Eileen Cook, With Malice

Rating: stars_4