Eileen Cook’s With Malice presents the reader with the age-old problem of literature: an unreliable narrator. Jill Charron wakes in a hospital bed, and can’t remember anything from the last two months of her life. Problematically, those last two months include a trip to Italy with her best friend, Simone McIvory, as well as a tragic accident that took her best friend’s life.
The dilemma of the novel is, how much will Jill remember, and will she remember soon enough to clear her name and attend Yale in the fall? Jill narrates, walking the reader through her moments of aphasia, confusion, and frustration as she recovers bits and pieces of memories, but also tries to determine whether those memories are what her therapist (a Dr. Who fan) calls “suggested” memories based on what she sees online, or actual memories of her time in Italy with Simone.
The symbolism of the girls’ names wasn’t lost on me: Charron is a rare variant spelling of Charon, the ferryman of Hades. Considering Jill, regardless of her memory, was with Simone when she died (this is not a spoiler), this makes sense: she was driving the car when the accident happened. Also, if both girls’ names are simplified, Jill becomes char and Simone becomes ivory, which suggests burning something that is considered rare and pure. Either way their names are interpreted (if you do such a thing), clearly Cook plants suggestions and hints, and not just in Jill’s narration or the primary documents.
Fans of thrillers like Gone Girl will love this offering from Eileen Cook!
About the Book
Title: WITH MALICE
Author: Eileen Cook
Pub. Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, eBook, & audiobook
A read about a teenage girl who wakes up in a hospital bed and cannot remember the last six weeks of her life, including the accident that killed her best friend–only what if the accident wasn’t an accident?
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 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but 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. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.
Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. Her books have been optioned for film and TV. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her newest book, WITH MALICE, will be out in June 2016. She’s an instructor/mentor with the Simon Fraser University Writer’s Studio Program.
You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two very naughty dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.
3 winners will receive finished copies of WITH MALICE, US Only.