E-Arc Review: The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

Title: The Initial Insult
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Genre: YA Mystery / Retelling / Thriller
Publication Date: February 23rd, 2021
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!




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.

In the first book of this duology, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis draws inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe and masterfully delivers a dark, propulsive mystery in alternating points of view that unravels a friendship . . . forevermore.(Goodreads)

I’m not even sure where to start with this review. It is a strange book and not what I was expecting but that could be why it also missed the mark for me.

The book is labeled as mystery/thriller and even though it has a bit of those elements, it wasn’t enough to convince me that this is what the book is.

A majority of the book is spent in the past going over why Tress and Felicity are no longer friends while also fleshing out what they have been going through in their own lives apart. Each girl gets her own point-of-view. There is also a point-of-view for the panther which didn’t make any sense to me.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good book about friendship and the hardships of it, but I wasn’t expecting it to take up much of the book. The parts that deal with Tress’s parents disappearing are minimal and is solved for the reader by the end but not Tress who is still wondering which is why the book ends on a cliffhanger and sets it up for the next book. Even though this is the case, I find myself not interested in the next book as this one just didn’t mesh well with me.

There are other characters that are mentioned and some get more page time than others. I can’t say I ever liked any because most were very minimal. I will say that the scenes with Ribbit were quite uncomfortable to read. I’m not sure if they were meant to be funny or to help with the plot.

I am also not sure why most books I have been reading have animals dying but I’m tired of it. Two dogs in this one and it had my stomach rolling. I get things happen but I don’t want to read about it even when it involves wild animals and it’s part of the animal kingdom.

When it comes to the retelling aspect, I think I have read that particular Poe story once and it has been some time so I can’t really comment on it.

Overall, it was okay. It wasn’t what I was expecting and it just didn’t work for me.

5 thoughts on “E-Arc Review: The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

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