Jill was looking forward to her trip to Italy – a chance to walk the very streets and alleys as some of her intellectual heroes. It was also a chance to spend some time with her best friend, Simone, with no parents over their shoulders. It was to be a true adventure.
But Jill is in the hospital with no memory of how she got there. She’s told she was in an accident in Italy. One so bad that the last six weeks or so have been wiped from her memory. She doesn’t remember the accident, she certainly doesn’t remember the trip, and she definitely doesn’t remember killing Simone. Without her memory to help her, she has no way of proving that the crime she’s been accused of never took place, but she knows without a doubt that she would never have killed her best friend. Never.
A trip to Italy and an American girl accused of murder might sound familiar but interestingly Cook says With Malice was not actually inspired by the Amanda Knox case, only somewhat shaped by it as the story progressed. And the story itself bears little similarity to Knox’s except for the basics: setting and the accused.
Much of the book is focused on Jill’s time in therapy and her attempts to unravel the truth about her final days in Italy. Reports claim there was a boy involved. They also claim that Jill and Simone had been arguing for much of the trip. And since Jill’s father had her quickly shipped back to the States, the Italian police are desperate to make a case for bringing Jill back to Italy to face trial. The pacing is quick and intensified by the fact that our own main character’s resolve about her innocence is shaken as the story progresses.
With Malice is an excellent psychological suspense tale, one that is sure to appeal to teens and adults alike.
7/16 Becky LeJeune
WITH MALICE by Eileen Cook. HMH Books for Young Readers (June 7, 2016). ISBN: 978-0544805095. 320p.