Review- The Initial Insult

The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis


Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.

Tress Montor knows that her family used to mean something—until she didn’t have a family anymore. When her parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home, Tress lost everything. She might still be a Montor, but the entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the “White Trash Zoo,” – a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things.

Felicity Turnado has it all – looks, money, and a secret that she’s kept hidden. She knows that one misstep could send her tumbling from the top of the social ladder, and she’s worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. Felicity has buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is… only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack.

But she’ll have to.

Tress has a plan. A Halloween costume party at an abandoned house provides the ideal situation for Tress to pry the truth from Felicity – brick by brick – as she slowly seals her former best friend into a coal chute. With a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl, Tress will have her answers – or settle for revenge.

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The Initial Insult comes out February 23rd. Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins for sending me an ALC in exchange for an honest review.

Mindy McGinnis is one of my favourite YA authors and her books are some of the darkest that I have ever read. I went into The Initial Insult knowing that it would be dark but I think that it is the darkest book she has written, at least from the ones that I have read.

The set up for this book is fantastic. We are following Tress, who is looking for answers into her parents’ disappearance, and her ex-best friend Felicity, who was their the night Tress’s parents disappeared but doesn’t remember anything. Tress believes that Felicity knows more then she is saying and will stop at knowing to get answers, as we see throughout the novel. I appreciated that we got both Tress and Felicity’s perspectives and that there were flashbacks throughout, though they were confusing at times. There is also a third perspective, which was an interesting plot device.

The story unfolds over the course of a Halloween party, so not only do we have Tress and Felicity’s story, there is also a lot happening at this party that adds another layer of interest.

The Initial Insult is inspired by The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe, which is a story I know nothing about. I think if you are more familiar with Poe’s work you may get more out of this book and catch some of the references.

I went into this not realizing that it was a duology, so when the ending came I was quite confused. If you are a looking for a book with a tidy ending, I would skip this one. I was left with more questions than answers, which was a little frustrating. Even though it is a duology, I wish she had given us a little bit more at the end.

The sequel, The Last Laugh, is set to come out in 2022, and I will definitely be picking it up. I need to know what is going on here!

  • Characters: 7
  • Atmosphere/Setting: 8
  • Writing Style:  7
  • Plot: 6
  • Intrigue: 7
  • Logic/Relationships: 6
  • Enjoyment: 7

Overall CAWPILE score: 48/7=6.9

Thank you HarperCollins for sending me an ALC.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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2 thoughts on “Review- The Initial Insult

  1. I’ve only read one book by Mindy McGinnis and it isn’t even dark but I hope to read more of her books. I have zero clue about the inspiration but this sounds really intriguing although it is a bit disappointing to know that the ending was really left for the next book but I’ll keep that in mind when I get to read this. Knowing that a book is going to be dark really makes me more interested.

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