With Malice

With MaliceWith Malice    

by Eileen Cook  

Jill and Simone have been best friends since fourth grade but Jill might have killed her. Or maybe she didn’t. She isn’t sure because she can’t remember anything about the last six weeks. She woke up in the hospital with equipment beeping, her leg in a cast and searing pain in her head. She is told that she was driving a car in Italy when it crashed, killing Simone. Jill was planning a senior year trip to Italy but now her parents are saying that she has already been there. She also learns that she was involved with an Italian man while she was there and was planning to move to Italy to go to college instead of going to Yale. Jill has never really had a boyfriend and she has wanted to go to Yale, since she was little, so why can’t she remember these things?
  Because of the head injuries she suffered in the crash, Jill has lapses in her memory.  Her doctor calls it aphasia and tells her that she should regain most of her memory but she might not remember everything. She also cautions Jill that it will be difficult to tell what is a true memory from a dream or something that she has been told. As Jill continues her therapy in the hospital, and struggles to remember, the accident makes national headlines and she becomes part of a murder investigation. Her wealthy father brought her back to the US, immediately after the accident, for treatment but the Italian authorities want her returned to Italy for a trial.  Soon social media is involved and everyone is portraying Jill as a cold blooded killer who was jealous of her more popular friend. One thing she knows is that she would never intentionally hurt Simone. But as the evidence against her begins to mount, Jill isn’t sure what really happened in Italy. As bits and pieces of her memory begin to return, she is even more confused about what is real and what is not. Is she a heartless killer or was it just a terrible accident?
With Malice is a fast paced YA mystery with twists and turns that will keep you reading.  The story unfolds from Jill’s point of view, police interviews, emails, newspaper articles and social media posts. This plot device works well to pull the reader into the story. You won’t believe the chilling ending!  
Grades 9-up
Recommended Read-a-Likes: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and The Darkest Corner by Kara Thomas.

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