Cook, Eileen. With Malice. Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt Brace 2016 316p $17.99 ISBN 978-0-544-80509-5 hs Conflict VG-BN
When Jill wakes up in a hospital, she knows she has broken bones, amnesia, and aphasia. What she soon learns is that she has been in the hospital for over six weeks and has no memory of that time when she was on a group trip to Italy at the end of her senior year. When she learns that she was driving a car that went off the road and killed the passenger, her best friend since 4th grade, she doesn’t know how to piece together the events that preceded the accident. Her rehab roommate, her doctors, her parents and her lawyer become her frame of reference as she regains memory and vocabulary. Shades of Amanda Knox, Nancy Grace, and lawyers out to make a name for themselves are present in this fast-paced book looking to determine what really happened and why. Various viewpoints are presented, including police interview transcripts from Italy, interviews with parents, teachers and friends, social media sites, and Jill’s own fragmented memory. These narratives mesh together to form what Jill has determined to believe is the truth. Readers will argue whether the surprise ending is appropriate or not.
Summary: Jill awakes in a hospital unable to remember the past six weeks, including a car accident that left her with amnesia, broken bones, and a dead friend. Emotional and physical recovery is a long journey. Excellent writing, seat of your pants pacing. Strongly recommended for high school readers as the influence of reality TV and social media now influence what is truth as much as actual events and facts. Gr. 8-12.