Mini Rant Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook [Biannual Bibliothon Day 2]

With Malice

Genre: Young Adult, ThrillerWith Malice
Date Published: 
June 16th 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 316
Buy: Amazon – Book Depository

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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.

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Day 2 for the Biannual Bibliothon blogging challenges is to write a review! Since, apparently all I can write these days is rant-y reviews I figured why not do another 💁🏻. This challenged is being hosted by MissSassyKassie so go stop by her blog!


Trigger Warnings: ableism, racism, sexism – misogyny/slut shaming, suicide mentions

I want to preface this by saying that as you all know I rarely write reviews for books that aren’t review copies. This book isn’t a review copy, but I hated it so much I needed to vent on all my social media lmao. If you liked this book then it’s not a personal attack on you, but I hope my review can bring some problems you may have missed to your attention. This is pretty much just going to be a copy of my Goodreads review because I’m lazy. I’m posting it here too though in case you don’t have me on Goodreads (add me!!!) or in case you do, but missed it.

If I could sum this book up in a GIF it would be this one:

 fire trash garbage dumpster dumpster fire GIF

I’ve been on a thriller kick all month. After reading and absolutely loving Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas I decided to pick this up because it had a lot of the same elements. A girl was in a different country and being accused of the murder of her best friend. However, this was a terrible terrible watered down version of Dangerous Girls and I regret wasting a day of my life reading it which also says a lot because I literally do nothing.

Image result for parks and rec gifs

With Malice started out promising with its unreliable narrator and non-linear timeline, but the more it went on the worse it became. There were so many problematic elements in this book with the main ones being what I mentioned in my trigger warnings.

Here are some examples of why this book was an absolute trash fire:

  • The MC’s dad called an Italian detective a “greasy foreigner” and all the Italian characters in general were nothing but harmful stereotypes.
  • An Indian doctor is called a “terrorist” by a character because he’s strict.
  • I lost count how many times the word “slut” or “slutty” was used to describe female characters dress choices or sexual activity.
  • The MC sees a disabled girl’s legs and says she feels “nauseated” and was glad when they were “covered” again.

Image result for britney spears no gif

Aside from these serious issues the characters were just generally unlikable. Not in a enjoyable way either. They were just so flat and bland. I could care less what happened to Jill. With Dangerous Girls I was so invested that I was too scared to read the verdict, but with this book I honestly think I might have cheered if Jill was convicted just so I wouldn’t have to see her again.

I guessed the ending from the first page pretty much (although, to be slightly fair it may have been because I’d just read Dangerous Girls), but I felt like I would have figured it out quickly enough regardless. Anyway, predictable or not IT MADE ZERO SENSE.

When I write a negative review I normally try and say SOMETHING positive about the book, but I can’t think of a single good thing to say about this book. I hated it. I can not recommend to it anyone.


Have you read With Malice or is it on your TBR?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day.

lauren xx.png
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28 thoughts on “Mini Rant Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook [Biannual Bibliothon Day 2]

  1. Thank you SO much for this review, Lauren. I added this book on my TBR ages ago but haven’t read it, now I’m kind of glad I haven’t. It is such a shame there are SO many problematic elements in this, ableism and racism and everything and wow. Thank you for bringing this to my attention! 🙂


  2. I forgot how much I loved your ranty reviews! I didn’t have this book on my TBR because it was always a miss more than I hit when I found myself reading the author’s books!


  3. Oh I’m sorry this book wasn’t a good read for you Lauren, especially given you were on a thriller kick after reading Dangerous Girls. I know I’ve seen another few reviews for this book on WordPress but it was a fair while ago so I can’t really remember if they were positive or negative ones. 🙂
    Still, yeah, based on your review With Malice is not going to be a book I pick up. I’m not keen on all the stereotypes or sexism or anything you mentioned in terms of the characters. It doesn’t matter how interesting a plot is (although it doesn’t sound like this one was that interesting) if the characters aren’t relatable it’s not going to be a good read.
    Still great review Lauren! 😀 ❤


  4. This book was my first ever DNF, and I completely agree with all of your points! I found every character in this book bitchy and a waste of my time reading about. Loved your review, I definitely want to go pick up Dangerous Girls now though it sounds like everything I wanted in With Malice!


    1. IT WAS SO BAD RIGHT??? Moments like this I wish I had the ability to DNF books 😂 I think I actually would have if it wasn’t just over 300 pages. I can’t recommend Dangerous Girls enough!! It’s honestly so addicting and such a head trip.


  5. Oh my goodness I am for sure NOT picking this up!! I can’t believe that the main character is so self-centered that she feels nauseous when she feels a disabled girl’s legs and felt relieved when they were covered up. My mom is disabled and on her really bad days she can’t move around without a scooter, so that really frustrates me! And to think I almost picked this up several times… Next time I want a thriller I’ll just read Dangerous Girls!


    1. Yeah, I literally could not believe I read that. I felt sick. It wasn’t even challenged later on in the book either. Like not for one second did the MC/author think “hey, maybe that was an incredibly shitty thing for someone to think”. That was the point where I knew I was going to seriously dislike this book and then the racism kicked in – if I didn’t need another reason to hate it 😂 I’m so glad my review was able to save you from having to read this! Dangerous Girls is great!!!


  6. I’m laughing out loud at your review because I only now realise how right you are! I read this book a while back and thought it was ‘meh’ (I gave it a 3/5 stars). Mystery is a genre I have never really explored, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book; so, i’ll admit that it took me a while guess the truth of what happened to Jill.

    When reading books, I typically hold the prejudice language to the characters expressing them. I am not sure whether the author would use such terms herself or whether they are solely the views of the characters. I suppose that is always a grey area. Either way, many characters are poorly portrayed, as they rely on stereotypes and basic traits that are not expanded upon.


    1. Haha, thank you! I think because I’m so familiar with thrillers I do hold them to a higher standard than usual. I feel like I wouldn’t have liked this regardless though. I definitely see how it could have been unpredictable for people new to the genre though!

      Oh yeah, I definitely understand that there’s going to be shitty characters. One of my favourite books is More Happy Than Not and it’s full of homophobia, but I think it should at least be challenged on page? Like, when it’s left open without being corrected it can help lead to the perception that it’s okay to think like that? I mean obviously a lot of people are going to realise it’s not, but it can still be harmful! Like, if the MC had thought at any time during the book that the racist and ablist behaviour constantly going on was unacceptable I’d be okay with it, but she never did so that’s why I had such a huge problem with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I read this arc when it first came out and I remember thinking “meh” none of the book really stayed with me in the year since, so I guess that’s probably a good thing. I think my original attraction to it was how much it sounded like the Amanda Knox investigation, but I walked away from it kind of lukewarm. From what I remember though, you’re review is spot on, and if I had to revisit it, I probably wouldn’t view it in the same night.


    1. Ooh yeah I saw people mentioning this was similar with the Amanda Knox case. I actually don’t know too much about that actually so I should do some research because I love true crime. It was definitely very “meh” haha. I think even if it didn’t have such problematic aspects I still would have only given it like 3 stars because of the plot/characters.


      1. Totally understandable, I always just thought the characters were being really wealthy parodies of parents of kids who would be in that situation. So, I think I forgave it…but at the same time…it’s young adult and do we want to be exposing teens to words like “greasy foreigner?”


        1. Yeah, exactly! And having them call an Indian character a terrorist? It helps perpetrate that it’s okay to casually throw those words around especially when there’s NOWHERE in the text that it’s NOT OKAY. Obviously a lot of people will realise it’s wrong, but it can still be really harmful? I don’t mind shitty characters when somewhere along the way there’s a moment of “hey that wasn’t okay” but when there’s not? I can’t look past it.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Great review Lauren! 🙂
    When I read this one I actually enjoyed how fast paced it was even though like you said it was pretty predictable. I ended up liking this book……but
    I’m a little embarrassed with myself for not picking up on so many of your trigger warnings. Especially the part about her feeling nauseated by the sight of someone’s disability!
    That’s why I’m so happy there are readers like you out there who pay attention to these triggers in books because I can be so oblivious sometimes and like I said it’s a little embarrassing!


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