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The Initial Insult

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Initial Insult

  1. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **4.5-stars rounded up** Tress Montor and Felicity Turnado used to be best friends. Not anymore; now frenemies would be a more apt description. Tress has an axe to grind with Felicity. She wants some answers to a long-standing mystery and she believes Felicity has them. When the girls where in the fourth grade, Tress's parents disappeared late one night while driving Felicity home from their house. Felicity was found bruised and bleeding at the side of the road, but Mr. and Mrs. Montor were never se **4.5-stars rounded up** Tress Montor and Felicity Turnado used to be best friends. Not anymore; now frenemies would be a more apt description. Tress has an axe to grind with Felicity. She wants some answers to a long-standing mystery and she believes Felicity has them. When the girls where in the fourth grade, Tress's parents disappeared late one night while driving Felicity home from their house. Felicity was found bruised and bleeding at the side of the road, but Mr. and Mrs. Montor were never seen again. After that, Tress lost everything. With no parents, and no one else stepping forward, she is forced to live with her drunken grandfather at what the locals call the white trash zoo. There are animals that Tress helps to feed and care for. A zebra, an ostrich, an alligator, a panther, among other things, but her life is extremely hard. Tress is not cared for as a child should be and becomes a social pariah at school. Literally abandoned by the entire town, she has no one to advocate for her. Felicity feels guilty for all that has happened to Tress in the aftermath of her parents disappearance. Part of her wants to comfort and care for her ex-best friend, but she doesn't dare. What would people think? Felicity keeps her true thoughts tucked deep inside her, like she's been taught, all whilst exuding that Queen Bee attitude everyone expects. She's rich, beautiful, popular and has a secret way to suppress all her negative thoughts and emotions. Tress has had enough of the Felicity Show, so she develops a plan to get what she wants out of her. It involves an abandoned home, a crowded costume party, a coal chute, a lot of bricks and some mortar. Felicity is going to talk, one way or another. Tress has nothing to lose. Alternating between Tress and Felicity's perspectives, this novel follows the girl's friendship from the start to the present, and through various stages in between. Both girls keep a lot of things to themselves. There is anger, guilt and plenty of low self esteem to go around. This story is extremely heavy. There is a ton of baggage between these two girls. Even when they aren't the ones doing things to one another, they are there to bear witness. They've been intertwined in one another's lives for a long time. As a Reader, you can feel the weight of that history. It's tangible. I found this entire story to be twisted, unique and completely engaging. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. It's just so well written. I know that this story will not be for everyone, but I think the people who are going to enjoy it, are REALLY going to enjoy it. McGinnis was not afraid to go dark and stay dark; just where I like it. There is not one moment of lightness in this novel and I was here for it. I cannot believe how this one ended up. The final few scenes, my word! Thank you so much to the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I really, really enjoyed this and cannot wait to see how this duology turns out!!!

  2. 5 out of 5

    jessica

    ive seen MMs books all over my GR feed, so i cant believe its taken getting an ARC to finally read one of her stories. and i was excited about this - i love a good revenge story. however, this goes from being a simple story about seeking information to a big mess. everything that happens is so bizarre, i really dont know what else to think. you have (view spoiler)[crazy unlikable teenagers abusing alcohol and drugs, bullying, a wild panther on the loose (that also gets its own POV!?! why!?) attac ive seen MMs books all over my GR feed, so i cant believe its taken getting an ARC to finally read one of her stories. and i was excited about this - i love a good revenge story. however, this goes from being a simple story about seeking information to a big mess. everything that happens is so bizarre, i really dont know what else to think. you have (view spoiler)[crazy unlikable teenagers abusing alcohol and drugs, bullying, a wild panther on the loose (that also gets its own POV!?! why!?) attacking everyone, child neglect, PTSD, cheating, animal cruelty, vandalism, (hide spoiler)] and the kitchen sink. i mean, some readers may think this makes the story busy and exciting. but for me, all of this nonsense takes away from a really interesting story of a girl burying her friend alive because she wants to know what happened to her missing parents. such a shame. PS - if you want to read poes short story that this is based on, you can find it here. thanks harper collins for the ARC. ↠ 3 stars

  3. 4 out of 5

    Farrah

    ⭐4 𝙄𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙋𝙤𝙚 𝙍𝙚𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨! ⭐ Included in this book are a town rooted in history, well-rounded secondary characters, a mysterious illness and a prowling wild panther, but the 💛 of this book lies in the two main characters. 𝙏𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨 - in 4th grade her parents drove her then best friend home and were never seen again. She's sent to live with her alcoholic uncle on his trashy wild life zoo. Now a high school senior, she decides to do whatever it takes to find out what really happened to her par ⭐4 𝙄𝙢𝙖𝙜𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙚 𝙋𝙤𝙚 𝙍𝙚𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙨! ⭐ Included in this book are a town rooted in history, well-rounded secondary characters, a mysterious illness and a prowling wild panther, but the 💛 of this book lies in the two main characters. 𝙏𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙨 - in 4th grade her parents drove her then best friend home and were never seen again. She's sent to live with her alcoholic uncle on his trashy wild life zoo. Now a high school senior, she decides to do whatever it takes to find out what really happened to her parents. Tress is a nasty little thing! She responds to conflict with either violence or sulking and doesn't care who she hurts to get what she wants. Most of her grievances are soooo petty - 3 chapters about how sad it made her that she was blamed for having lice in the 7th grade - so obviously I didn't like her. But I'm not sure the reader is meant to, especially knowing the Poe character she's molded after. 𝙁𝙚𝙡𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙩𝙮 - Tress's ex- best friend that was with her parents when they disappeared. She's a complex character who's trying to move on from the past and has secrets of her own. Confident and feisty, she makes an entertaining opponent for Tress. This book is the first of two and I felt like enough of my questions were answered that I was satisfied with the ending, but also intrigued by the tease of what's to come in the next half! Also, some seriously racy content for a YA book 😁 Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to enjoy this audiobook.

  4. 5 out of 5

    karen

    before we start, i need you to understand something. i’m a grown ladyperson who grumbles about semantic bleaching and doesn’t bandwagon onto contemporary youngperson slang unless i’m making a comedic point about how out-of-touch i am. i’m never gonna be modern enough to tweet about literally starving to death waiting for a table at the cheesecake factory. so know that when i say this, it's not some casual colloquialism, but after that ending? i. am. shook. i am stomach-dropped awe. i am, to quote before we start, i need you to understand something. i’m a grown ladyperson who grumbles about semantic bleaching and doesn’t bandwagon onto contemporary youngperson slang unless i’m making a comedic point about how out-of-touch i am. i’m never gonna be modern enough to tweet about literally starving to death waiting for a table at the cheesecake factory. so know that when i say this, it's not some casual colloquialism, but after that ending? i. am. shook. i am stomach-dropped awe. i am, to quote this book, a stinking sack of skin. mindy mcginnis has written some ballsy-ass YA, but this one takes the don’t back down-ness of The Female of the Species to a whole nother level. to quote this book at greater length: ”I’m holding someone captive in the basement,” I tell him, and the ear comes back, cocked. “I hit her in the head with a brick and I chained her to the wall, and I’ve got her halfway sealed into a tomb, and I probably gave her a concussion, and I think she’s got the flu, and I might have fractured her ankle.” It’s a lot, when you string it all together like that. it is a lot. and yet that whole basement torture/revenge plot is just one slice of a narrative pie which mishmashes Thirteen Reasons Why with tiger king and pretty much everything edgar allan poe ever wrote. the biggest players are the cask of amontillado & the masque of the red death, but there are so many little nods to the man in the character names (including a dog named william wilson), and a where’s waldo of poe-symbols: a pendulum, an orangutan, a raven, and a black cat, here taking the form of a panther. and for those of you who prefer poe’s b-sides, the hop-frog/ribbit parallel will be a real treat. it's not cover-to-cover perfection—some of the poe-winks are a little too winky (tress' parents' names are 'annabelle' and 'lee,' for goodness' sake), and i could have done without the panther's POV, which is in verse. i have a pretty staunch and long-standing aversion to poetry infecting my prose. some of the poems were evocative and lovely, but i had no idea what was going on in at least one of 'em, so it didn't really work for me. there were also some moves and explanations i found unconvincing—like why tress was sent to live in her weed-farming grandfather's trailer, often forced to sleep outside with all the indifferently-caged apex predators and made to endure his "hold it in" approach to menstruation instead of living in the crumbly house of usher with her aunt and cousin. i mean, when a girl comes to school smelling like a zebra every day, maybe it's time to give cps a ring. there were some assorted odds and ends i didn't really buy, motivation-wise, but in a book where a girl's walling up her former bestie in the basement of an abandoned house while a deadly flu tears through the partygoers upstairs, it's not particularly useful to scrutinize the details. this is where we are because this is where mcginnis wants us. before i read this i was excited to see there was already a follow-up planned, but now that i’ve finished it, i’m apprehensive. the ending is a searing slap in the face and i don’t want whatever comes next to walk it back into 'jk everything is all right' territory. i trust her to deliver something badass, but i don't want any cold water poured onto this sizzle. i am, and remain, shook. ********************************************** i. can't. ******************************************** if i didn't already ADORE mindy mcginnis, this paragraph of the synopsis: 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. woulda made me hit that 'to read' button hard enough to sprain a finger. come to my blog!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Giving five stars to this extremely nerve bending, last standing grey cell destroyer book is real insult! It worths more than that! McGinnis has her own peculiar, truly original style and genius mind perfectly knows how to blow her readers’ minds! And this book’s storyline and that freaaaaakinnnggg awesome cliffhanger made you question your own reality were true definitions of perfection! It’s deadly revenge game: Two narrators: Tress and Felicity: once upon a time they were best friends and now Giving five stars to this extremely nerve bending, last standing grey cell destroyer book is real insult! It worths more than that! McGinnis has her own peculiar, truly original style and genius mind perfectly knows how to blow her readers’ minds! And this book’s storyline and that freaaaaakinnnggg awesome cliffhanger made you question your own reality were true definitions of perfection! It’s deadly revenge game: Two narrators: Tress and Felicity: once upon a time they were best friends and now they are true enemies! Seven years ago when parents of Tress drove Felicity to her home, something really bad happened! Tress’ parents vanished into thin air. Felicity found unconscious and she still insists she doesn’t remember anything about that night. Tress not only lost her parents that night, she lost her best friend Felicity, her house, her hopes, anything related a normal teenager has in her life: comfort, hygiene , proper house, living conditions, food, clothes etc. She starts to live one eyed, drunken grandfather in a wild animal attraction ( her roommates are a zebra, chimpanzee, a zebra ?!?) people called white trash zoo including her ex best friend Felicity and her new inner circle, rich privileged friends! Tress gotta do something to learn the truth! Somebody rich and powerful silences the entire town : police officers stop searching for her parents. Everybody pitying her or getting disgusted by her existence! She cannot live like that , she gotta learn what happened to her family. She needs get the information from Felicity even though she has to hurt her till she dies! This is a cat and mouse game between friends. Felicity is in pain, the secret she keeps is so heavy. She cannot live with that. She needs to comfort of drugs. She is beautiful, she is popular, she has everything Tress tragically lost but everything she has turning into guilt feelings which eat her alive! If she doesn’t tell the truth, Tress will bury her into her own tombstone! But sometimes there are worst things than dying in the world! All night long confrontation between ex friends will destroy you, hurt you , frustrate you! But you’ll do curious to know how will conclude! You get sorry for Tress! Sometimes you get scared of her because she is slowly turning into an animal, losing her humanity! You hate Felicity for the things she has done to her best friend, you resent her for not trying harder, not standing up for her, you also feel sorry for her self destruction! I need to know when the second book comes out! I need to know who will laugh less! I need to know what the hell happened to Tress’ parents and who did this to them? For god’s sake I need second book ASAP!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    "Apparently I am very bad at picking friends. Either I try to kill them, or they try to kill me." Not a book giving me post-traumatic stress disorder. I have to give this five stars simply because this book dares to do what most YA wouldn't even think of. The cheek, the nerve, the audacity, the gall and the gumption. Now if you asked me to read a book where someone buries their ex-best friend alive behind a brick wall in the cellar of an old mansion while a house party is raging on the floor above "Apparently I am very bad at picking friends. Either I try to kill them, or they try to kill me." Not a book giving me post-traumatic stress disorder. I have to give this five stars simply because this book dares to do what most YA wouldn't even think of. The cheek, the nerve, the audacity, the gall and the gumption. Now if you asked me to read a book where someone buries their ex-best friend alive behind a brick wall in the cellar of an old mansion while a house party is raging on the floor above and a panther is strolling through the night looking for prey, I'd laugh at you. There's no way anyone can pull that off without it turning out to be absolute bonkers. No one except Mindy McGinnis. Because she pulled it off, and this book is proof. Listen, you're not going to get anything else out of me. You have to find out yourself if she ends up dead and buried or not. If the panther eats every single person at the house party or not. If the suspense doesn't kill you first. Find more of my books on Instagram

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This is an exceptionally well-written YA book that I wholeheartedly recommend. I was a big reader of YA thrillers as a kid (Christopher Pike was my favorite!) and one of the things that was most important to me was that the adult writer not "talk down" to me for being a kid. I wanted my YA books to sound like they were actually narrated by other young adults. McGinnis is *fantastic* at this. She does not underestimate her young readers' intelligence or capability of understanding mature issues. This is an exceptionally well-written YA book that I wholeheartedly recommend. I was a big reader of YA thrillers as a kid (Christopher Pike was my favorite!) and one of the things that was most important to me was that the adult writer not "talk down" to me for being a kid. I wanted my YA books to sound like they were actually narrated by other young adults. McGinnis is *fantastic* at this. She does not underestimate her young readers' intelligence or capability of understanding mature issues. I would have totally devoured this as a kid when I was fully immersed in some of the issues the kids are going through here, and I also really enjoyed it as an adult. Also, it's really great to listen to a book where kids act and talk like kids actually do - sometimes swearing, sometimes talking about sex, sometimes doing other stuff kids do that adults would prefer they not do, and sometimes completely dark, as adults can be. The use of social media was also very authentic and did not have the feeling of "stodgy adult trying to explain how kids use The Face Book." (I am guilty of this sometimes myself...it comes with age, I suppose.) I don't want to say too much about the plot because I think it's best to let it unfold, but I will say..... *Stefan voice* YA's hottest new book "The Initial Insult" has everything: a "white trash zoo," secret drug deals, a compelling lead, a potentially shady best friend, missing parents, prose that is almost poetry, a mysterious, moneyed town where everyone has secrets, and a spooky poetic cat narrator. (Wait, what? Yes, seriously. Not for the whole book, don't worry.) As you may gather from the spooky cat, the book is influenced by Edgar Allen Poe, so if you are a Poe fan, you will have some guesses at different directions it could go, but will still be surprised. This is a totally unique and interesting book. I was not sure how my experience with a synthetic voice audiobook would be, and it was completely fine. I think I was imagining that it would be a TV-robot type voice, but instead the voice sounds more natural. Of course, it does not carry the acting and vocal performance an audiobook reader will give to it, which primarily impacted the end of the book in my opinion - but it was an interesting new way to listen to the book. You have to sort of picture different emotions in your head with the words so it takes a bit more work and may not be for everyone. I predict the actual audiobook will be way more sinister. I am definitely going to read the second book. The ending was so great and creepy that I can't imagine what might happen next, and will love to see where the series will go from here. 4.5 stars rounded up for the amazing, totally experimental Poe-esque theme and writing. Thanks to Harper Collins, Mindy McGinnis and NetGalley for this totally original and fun YA read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    3.5 Stars — THE INITIAL INSULT gives a modern YA spin to the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe, taking inspiration from several of his classic tales of suspense. In Amontillado, Ohio, at the condemned Usher House, Tress Montor devises a sinister plan to get information out of her former best friend, Felicity Turnado. Tress's parents disappeared seven years ago, and the only witness was Felicity, though she's buried any memories of that terrible night in her subconscious. So in The Cask of Amontillad 3.5 Stars — THE INITIAL INSULT gives a modern YA spin to the imagination of Edgar Allan Poe, taking inspiration from several of his classic tales of suspense. In Amontillado, Ohio, at the condemned Usher House, Tress Montor devises a sinister plan to get information out of her former best friend, Felicity Turnado. Tress's parents disappeared seven years ago, and the only witness was Felicity, though she's buried any memories of that terrible night in her subconscious. So in The Cask of Amontillado style, Tress plans to wall up Felicity, brick by brick, in Usher House's coal chute, unless she finally admits what happened to Mr. & Mrs. Montor. This book was strange and dramatic, and gruesome at times. None of the characters were particularly likable, but I'm glad there was a dual narrative between Tress & Felicity, so at least we could hear where both were coming from. There was also a third POV from the character "Cat," whose voice was confusing. I'm not sure that being inside Cat's head was necessary. Something to note: THE INITIAL INSULT is the first book in a duology, so it's left open-ended in regards to the mystery of the missing parents and other points. There was A LOT of drama going on in this book (drug abuse, animal cruelty, bullying, class struggle, family secrets), so I'm assuming the second book will make sense out of everything, though we'll have to wait until next year to see. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ellen Gail

    The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. - The Cask of Amontillado Edgar Allan Poe in Appalachia!? SOLD. Mindy McGinnis knows the weird stories my brain wants before I do. This did not disappoint. At all. Except that I finished it and now I feel a little shell shocked and a lot impressed. Just. What the fuck is this? What did it do to me? Possibly her best yet. I've likely said it before at some point, but I'll reiterate he The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. - The Cask of Amontillado Edgar Allan Poe in Appalachia!? SOLD. Mindy McGinnis knows the weird stories my brain wants before I do. This did not disappoint. At all. Except that I finished it and now I feel a little shell shocked and a lot impressed. Just. What the fuck is this? What did it do to me? Possibly her best yet. I've likely said it before at some point, but I'll reiterate here; Mindy McGinnis is a motherfucking fearless writer. She crafts such well developed characters, but is unfraid to kill or maim her darlings. To plagiarize myself quickly, from when I talked about Be Not Far from Me, "She writes holding nothing back and it will make you simultaneously squirm and cheer." I would advise going into this without reading into the plot too heavily. I mean, Edgar Allan Poe in Appalachia; what else do you need to know? I will say that a knowledge of Poe might be beneficial and enhance the reading experience, but it's certainly not necessary. Even a skating pop culture awareness is fine. Because as much as this is inspired and crafted by Poe, it's ultimately its own story of revenge, pain, secrets, and mistakes. Tress and Felicity, our two main characters, are both harboring regrets and fueled by desperation. It's so easy to like them both, even when their motives are in direct opposition. Whether they're cruel or vulnerable, violent or wounded, they are ultimately solid and believable characters, making painful and life altering decisions in a heart rending, captivating story. I also just found out this is a DUOLOGY? After that literally breathtaking ending, I have ZERO idea what to expect next. I could write a solid 200 page novella just on the HEART STOPPING conclusion. I'm worried I'm over-hyping it, but at the same time, this book metaphorically punched me in the face. It's brazenly shocking, but it's earned. Every step taken by the characters in the pages before support what happens. It's a wham moment that's earned, arisen from character and plot and not just wanting a cheap shock to amp up the finale. I've done nothing in this review but rant about how much I loved The Initial Insult. And I'm okay with that. I just had a heck of a good time reading this. It pushed all the right buttons for me and I loved every bloody page of it. Thanks to Edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for the review copy!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    I’ve read a book by Mindy McGinnis in the past and I was a big fan so I was super excited to get an advanced audiobook from Netgalley for her newest novel! So the audiobook is told by a synthetic voice narrator until the actual audiobook is published…. I don’t know why they just didn’t wait till they started real production. The voice drove me insane, I felt like Siri was reading to me and it’s not the most enjoyable experience. Hopefully when the final copy is out it will add to the experience I’ve read a book by Mindy McGinnis in the past and I was a big fan so I was super excited to get an advanced audiobook from Netgalley for her newest novel! So the audiobook is told by a synthetic voice narrator until the actual audiobook is published…. I don’t know why they just didn’t wait till they started real production. The voice drove me insane, I felt like Siri was reading to me and it’s not the most enjoyable experience. Hopefully when the final copy is out it will add to the experience because for me, it personally ruined it. I had to start it over three times because I had a hard time paying attention. Okay now that I got that out of the way, let’s move on to the actual book itself. This reminded me of Tiger King (even though I never watched it) mixed with Edgar Allan Poe. Our main characters Tress and Felicity are ex-best friends. Tress’s parents disappear when they give Felicity a ride home and she has no recollection of what happened to them. Tress lives with her alcoholic grandpa who has a zoo (Tiger King) while Felicity is off living her best life. Tress takes matters into her own hands to try to scare Felicity into telling her what really happened that night by sealing her shut in a basement brick by brick (my worst nightmare). We get to hear from both girls and while you feel bad for them both, Tress was not that likable. It jumps around from when the girls were friends and what happened for their inevitable break up. Tress is too petty and immature, I know it’s the point to not like her but damn, she’s crazy. They both are messy and complicated so the relationship surrounding them was pretty intriguing. I will definitely continue with the series HOWEVER I will not ever be reviewing a synthetic voice ever again, I have to make sure I look out for that because I think this made it a lot less enjoyable. I tried to not like it affect my review too much but it does, sorry. The Initial Insult will be published February 23rd, 2021. Thank you to Netgalley, Harper Children’s, and Katherine Tegen books for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura Peden

    “Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.” I listened to this book 5 months ago. I had an early copy from NetGalley; my first ALC with a synthetic voice - not a copy of the official audiobook. I still rated it 5 stars. Mindy is my favorite YA author; her material is definitely on the darker side. The Initial Insult is a Poe-inspired YA thriller that draws from elements of Edgar Allan Poe short stories - The Cask of Amontill “Welcome to Amontillado, Ohio, where your last name is worth more than money, and secrets can be kept… for a price.” I listened to this book 5 months ago. I had an early copy from NetGalley; my first ALC with a synthetic voice - not a copy of the official audiobook. I still rated it 5 stars. Mindy is my favorite YA author; her material is definitely on the darker side. The Initial Insult is a Poe-inspired YA thriller that draws from elements of Edgar Allan Poe short stories - The Cask of Amontillado, The Black Cat, and The Masque of the Red Death. This is the expertly crafted story of Tress Montor & Felicity Turnado and the dissolution of their friendship. The two BFF’s are no longer speaking. It was hard enough to maintain their friendship; one is from an affluent family (Felicity) & the other considered white trash (Tress). One night, Tress’s parents go missing while driving Felicity home. No one knows what happened to them except Felicity, but she doesn’t remember. Tress now has to live with her drunken, one-eyed grandpa at his white trash zoo. There are 3 POV’s: Tress (read by Lisa Flanagan), Felicity (read by Brittany Pressley), and the panther (read by Tim Campbell). Tress engineers a way to get Felicity to finally tell her what happened to her parents. The Initial Insult is graphic & fueled by vengeance. Just imagine the possibilities of what could possibly go wrong at a white trash zoo...(hello Tiger King). My favorite things about it: the retelling aspect had me wondering if Poe came back from the dead to write one more story; the suspense builds at such a great pace; Mindy’s plots are tight, she doesn’t use fodder...the audiobook is only 7.5 hours. I hope this book does well! I highly recommend! 5/5

  12. 4 out of 5

    h o l l i s

    I think we can all agree that what the actual fuck. I have such a weird relationship with McGinnis' books. I love that she writes the strangest but often most compelling, unflinching, kind of things. But I seem to either love them, hate them, or not know whether I love or hate them. This is in the last category. And it's a stranger feeling, too, considering this isn't a standalone and there's to be a sequel. Maybe I'll know which camp I fall into after reading book two? Because I will. I couldn't I think we can all agree that what the actual fuck. I have such a weird relationship with McGinnis' books. I love that she writes the strangest but often most compelling, unflinching, kind of things. But I seem to either love them, hate them, or not know whether I love or hate them. This is in the last category. And it's a stranger feeling, too, considering this isn't a standalone and there's to be a sequel. Maybe I'll know which camp I fall into after reading book two? Because I will. I couldn't tear myself away from this, could only stare unblinking as things got weirder and continued to escalate, and then.. that ending. Which we know isn't an ending, but. Wow. I've read this two months early so I'm going to be incredibly interested to see where this goes, and how people feel, as more readers pick it up. There's really not much more to say! Compelling, yes, but definitely a qu'est-ce-que-fuck kind of read. ** I received an ARC from Edelweiss+ and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. ** ---- This review can also be found at A Take From Two Cities.

  13. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary audio copy of THE INITIAL INSULT by Mindy McGinnis in exchange for my honest review.*** Small town hi-jinx, secrets and mystery permeate this atmospheric mystery centered around family, friendship and class. Teen girls acting badly, yet they’re portrayed in a sympathetic way that doesn’t excuse their behavior that only Mindy McGinnis can do. “Yes, I can understand why she knocked out her former friend with a brick” is a phrase I never imagin ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary audio copy of THE INITIAL INSULT by Mindy McGinnis in exchange for my honest review.*** Small town hi-jinx, secrets and mystery permeate this atmospheric mystery centered around family, friendship and class. Teen girls acting badly, yet they’re portrayed in a sympathetic way that doesn’t excuse their behavior that only Mindy McGinnis can do. “Yes, I can understand why she knocked out her former friend with a brick” is a phrase I never imagined thinking. I’m usually someone who can only do audio books an hour at a time, but I couldn’t stop listening to McGinnis’s newest masterpiece. I’m usually a creature of habit when it comes to reading. I like my favorite writers’ books to feel familiar and don’t usually enjoy when they stray too far from the genres I love. McGinnis has a way of writing truly different books, ones I wouldn’t normally pick up after reading the blurb. But she’s Mindy Friggin McGinnis and I’ll can’t not read. THE INITIAL INSULT is the first of two in a series, which means readers will get to read (or listen to) more of these flawed, yet easy to root for characters. I enjoyed THE INITIAL INSULT so much I’m going to purchase the book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sana

    'Mindy McGinnis's YA duology, The Initial Insult and The Last Laugh, which blends retellings of Edgar Allan Poe stories in a contemporary Appalachian Ohio setting.' INTO IT 'Mindy McGinnis's YA duology, The Initial Insult and The Last Laugh, which blends retellings of Edgar Allan Poe stories in a contemporary Appalachian Ohio setting.' INTO IT

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nastassja

    It was such a weird book. Insult#1: Because it was one of the anticipated releases I was so utterly disappointed with it basically from page 1. The thing is, Mindy's books have always been a hit or miss for me. Unfortunately, this one is a miss. Though it's not as terrible or weir as Given to the Sea, for example. Insult#2: The story itself is very... underwhelming. We have two friends(?) who have been acting weird around each other for years. I can't even call them friends to the full extent of t It was such a weird book. Insult#1: Because it was one of the anticipated releases I was so utterly disappointed with it basically from page 1. The thing is, Mindy's books have always been a hit or miss for me. Unfortunately, this one is a miss. Though it's not as terrible or weir as Given to the Sea, for example. Insult#2: The story itself is very... underwhelming. We have two friends(?) who have been acting weird around each other for years. I can't even call them friends to the full extent of this word. So, one friend decided that the other kept secrets from her, and as a master plan she came up with the idea of mummifying her friend in the brick wall while trying to find out the truth. And the truth that this other friend supposedly knows what happened with the parents of our builder friend. Uh-huh, the problem is, I am not sure either of them knows anything about what happened. It was quite obvious. On top of that, both girls have some serious mental issues. Sarcasm included, this story would be better if they united together and mummified guys who assault women, for example. Insult #3: This book was inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's. Well, if you count the Byronic Panther, who roams around expressing its thoughts in verse (I kid you not) and eats people and animals alike, I suppose you can call this book quite creative. But honestly, the whole Wild Cat business made this story even weirder than it initially was. Insult #4: Now is spoiler time, so I'll put this one in a tag. If you want your curiosity eaten by the cat (pun intended) proceed reading the spoiler (view spoiler)[ So, after some weird running around, friend number 1 mummifies her friend number 2. By accident. Because she believes the other one is dead. But the other one was unconscious due to some weird seizure she had. Basically, she wakes up alone in the darkness with the brick wall all around her. It's a huge cliffhanger. Honestly, I am a little bit curious if she is going to survive the brick wall. At least something for me to look to in book 2 (hide spoiler)] Final insult: This book is weird but it ends in a huge cliffhanger. So if you do not want to involve a curiosity that most probably will be eaten by the Byronic Cat I've mentioned before - do not pick this book up. If you want to start with something saner but written by Mindy, better turn your attention to The Female of the Species or Be Not Far from Me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. The Cask of Amontillado is one of my favorite Poe stories! Mindy McGinnis has written an excellent retelling that kept me on my toes until the very last page. There is so much going on in this book, and I'm not sure where to start! Should I begin with the fact that there's a JAGUAR POV that pops up througho I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product. The Cask of Amontillado is one of my favorite Poe stories! Mindy McGinnis has written an excellent retelling that kept me on my toes until the very last page. There is so much going on in this book, and I'm not sure where to start! Should I begin with the fact that there's a JAGUAR POV that pops up throughout the book? Because that alone was amazing. It was eerie, haunting, and AHHH! Loved it! This was also my first experience with a synthetic voice. I didn't hate it, but it was difficult to know who was talking unless I paid really close attention. Normally, I clean the house or do something else that occupies my hands, but the sameness of the voice required me to pay more attention to the chapter changes and what was going on. I saved this audio for when I was alone and painting the new house, so I was able to concentrate more on the story. My overall enjoyment wasn't impacted by the lack of a "real" voice, but I do think this book will be even better when properly narrated. The Initial Insult is dark, and I don't mean because it takes place at night (which it does). If you don't like it when bad things happen to animals (insert sob here), then you might need to mentally prepare yourself before starting this one. I still can't think about what happened without wanting to cry. I know that means McGinnis is just really good at her job, because she made me feel BIG emotions for her fictional characters and their pets. If I haven't lost you after that last paragraph, I think it's worth noting that Tress's entire plan is dark and disturbing. I totally understood her motives, but damn. Everyone has secrets in their small town, and she's determined to find out what they know about her parents. Felicity's flashbacks show that even Tress's parents had secrets, and how those may have played a role in their disappearance. It all ties together somehow, but I still don't know the specifics. Apparently, this is going to be a series (I didn't know that at first), so we're left with a pretty big cliffhanger. We learn something massive about Tress's parents, Tress herself makes a huge mess of things, and everyone at the party... just wow. McGinnis did me dirty with that ending, but I can forgive her since this retelling was awesome. I am definitely looking forward to the next one! (★★★★☆) Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Bloglovin' | Amazon | Pinterest

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bradley (AudioShelf)

    I don't know what to say guys. 2.5 ⭐️ I really wanted to love this one because I'm a huge fan of Mindy McGinnis. I also was looking forward to a Poe-inspired YA novel that had me on the edge of my seat with chills and frills. The pros: -I loved the premise. I found it so interesting that this poor girl's parent's disappeared and the only person that knows what might have happened to them is her former best friend. -I also loved gruesome storytelling that Mindy was able to portray with these chara I don't know what to say guys. 2.5 ⭐️ I really wanted to love this one because I'm a huge fan of Mindy McGinnis. I also was looking forward to a Poe-inspired YA novel that had me on the edge of my seat with chills and frills. The pros: -I loved the premise. I found it so interesting that this poor girl's parent's disappeared and the only person that knows what might have happened to them is her former best friend. -I also loved gruesome storytelling that Mindy was able to portray with these characters. -Finally, I love the "white-trash zoo" that was featured and the fact that there was a panther let lose and hunting the humans. -I appreciated the inspiration that came from Poe. The darkness, the tragedy, and the mystery. -I also enjoyed the three character perspective---Tress and Felicity, as well as the CAT! So cool! The cons: -I felt no connection with any of the characters, which was personally hard for me to relate and/or root for any of them--even the tragic main character, Tress. However, I did feel bad for both her and Felicity because both suffered a trauma that night Tress's parents disappeared. -I listened to the audiobook through Netgalley and the voice they used for the "ALC" was a synthetic voice, so I felt like I couldn't get the full experience of the audiobook. I think I would have liked it better if a robot wasn't reading the book to me. This book had a lot of emotions, which were not evident from the horrendous synthetic narrator reading the ALC. I WANTED THE REAL NARRATOR--how do you review an audiobook without hearing the audiobook narrator?? ugh! -I wasn't a fan of the pacing. I felt like the story was jumping around and I honestly couldn't wrap my head around time, person, or even place in which the story was being told. I think reading this book in a visual format would be best. -There were several moments I was just like "What? Come on! Not necessary!" --especially with the dog dying and all the nonchalant comments about kids using hard drugs/addiction. -Finally, it ended on a somewhat cliffhanger and I still don't know what happened to Tress' parents, which I don't like. We find out secrets they had, but not really how they disappeared. I also might have missed it, which is why I plan to go back and read again. You really have to pay attention to every detail of this book. Overall, I wanted to love this book so much more than I did and honestly I might re-read it when it officially comes out--maybe check out the real audiobook so that I can change my review to showcase more positives and a review of the narrator who may make the story better! However, at this time, I don't think I'd continue on with the duology. I'm still a fan of Mindy McGinnis and can't wait to see what else she comes up with. Not every book from an author you love isn't going to "hit the spot" every time. Thanks to Harper Audio and Netgalley for giving me this ALC in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shannara

    So I read The Cask of Amontillado when I was younger and decided Poe was a genius! So when I saw a full length book based on the concept I was thrilled. And I mostly enjoyed it too!! But... Poe really had it right the first time. It was made to be a short story. This was super interesting even amidst the stupid teens doing extremely stupid things. I even liked the unlikeable characters, but the the ending came and smashed me in the face and, honestly, I didn’t appreciate it. There are going to b So I read The Cask of Amontillado when I was younger and decided Poe was a genius! So when I saw a full length book based on the concept I was thrilled. And I mostly enjoyed it too!! But... Poe really had it right the first time. It was made to be a short story. This was super interesting even amidst the stupid teens doing extremely stupid things. I even liked the unlikeable characters, but the the ending came and smashed me in the face and, honestly, I didn’t appreciate it. There are going to be lots of people who enjoy this, but I was hoping there would be a couple major changes from the short story to the book. When I realized the changes made weren’t the ones I thought would make the story translate into a full length book, I was disappointed. While I can’t recommend this book, like I said, there will be plenty of people who will really enjoy it!! Thanks to NetGalley and Katherine Tegen Books for the opportunity to read this for my honest and unbiased opinion.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    At first you might think you’ve heard this one before: A friendship unravels. One ex-BFF becomes the pillar of popularity while the other is viewed as town trash. Drama ensues. It’s not quite what you think it is. But maybe you HAVE heard this one before. Or a story like it. A story you may have read a long time ago: Told through alternating perspectives, The Initial Insult is a sad and disturbing book. Tress’s parents disappear while driving her best friend, Felicity, home and Felicity claims she At first you might think you’ve heard this one before: A friendship unravels. One ex-BFF becomes the pillar of popularity while the other is viewed as town trash. Drama ensues. It’s not quite what you think it is. But maybe you HAVE heard this one before. Or a story like it. A story you may have read a long time ago: Told through alternating perspectives, The Initial Insult is a sad and disturbing book. Tress’s parents disappear while driving her best friend, Felicity, home and Felicity claims she has no recollection of what happened to them. Tress now lives with her one-eyed alcoholic grandpa and his animal oddities while the beautiful Felicity leads a charmed life. But Tress is determined to get the truth out of Felicity. In an effort to scare her former friend into a confession, Tress begins, brick by brick, to seal Felicity into the wall of a basement underneath the raging noise of a loud Halloween party. Oh, and as luck would have it, there is a panther on the prowl in the neighborhood. Aside from the most obvious nods to The Cask of Amontillado and The Black Cat, this book has a number of Poe story and poem references creatively woven into the narrative. You don’t need to be a fan of the deceased author to appreciate this modern tale, but if you do love his work, your dark heart might brighten a bit, as mine did! The reader gets to see both girls’ perspectives vividly. I found myself sympathizing with these characters, but I did feel a greater pull toward one girl over the other, once I understood her point of view. It was interesting to see how differently both characters processed the same situation. The Initial Insult is the first book in a duology. The story carefully foreshadows a dark possibility but the cliffhanger conclusion was far creepier than I could have ever predicted. McGinnis has masterfully left me hungry for more. I want to note that I listened to the review audio copy, narrated through a synthetic voice. This was not the finished product. With that being said, I think I may have enjoyed this even more if I had not indulged in that format. The story jumps around to a lot of different time periods, which disrupted the flow, and I was sometimes confused. I suspect that I would have connected it all better if I’d been processing the story visually. It’s impossible to say for sure. The Initial Insult is a story of friendship, misunderstanding, prejudice, and loss. There is a mystery at its center but there is also a cleverly crafted horror underneath all of the other layers. So far, this is the best Poe inspired tale that I’ve read and while I can’t even imagine what new terror awaits me in part two, I’m looking forward to finding out! Thank you to the publisher for my review copy through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. The Initial Insult is due to be published in February 2021.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea

    bruh this cover is so ugly

  21. 5 out of 5

    Angela Staudt

    3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. Thank you to Epic Reads and the author for a finished hardcopy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Mindy McGinnis has such a way with writing that no matter what she writes about I immediately get hooked and just want to read the entire book in one sitting. Tress and Felicity are the main characters of this extremely wild book that is a retelling of a famous Edgar Allen Poe short story. Tress and Felicity used to be best friends until one night in fourth grade 3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. Thank you to Epic Reads and the author for a finished hardcopy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Mindy McGinnis has such a way with writing that no matter what she writes about I immediately get hooked and just want to read the entire book in one sitting. Tress and Felicity are the main characters of this extremely wild book that is a retelling of a famous Edgar Allen Poe short story. Tress and Felicity used to be best friends until one night in fourth grade Felicity has Tress’s parents take her back home from a sleepover. Felicity is found abandoned on the side of the road and Tress’s parents are never seen again. With no other family to take her in, Tress is forced to live with her crazy drunk uncle. He owns a zoo, that the town nicknamed, “white trash zoo”, it kind of reminded me of the Tiger King Netflix show. Tress has had to grow up basically alone and around a bunch of wild animals. She makes money by selling drugs to her classmates at parties. Enough time has passed since her parents’ disappearance that Tress wants answers, and she thinks Felicity knows what happened and isn’t saying anything. We get both perspectives of the main characters, and we also get a perspective of the black panther at the zoo. Strange, I know. Tress basically wants revenge and answers to why her parents vanished. Her life has been a literal living hell since she had to move in with her uncle, and Felicity hasn’t made it any easier. She plans to get revenge on Felicity at the high school party that is happening at an abandoned house. Felicity has her own issues, and while she seems like a stuck up mean popular girl, she has a lot of things she is trying to overcome. I don’t want to spoil and say how Tress plans to get her revenge, but it is 100% one of the craziest things I’ve read. My heart was pounding as I was reading because I was shook that Tress could even do such a thing. While I didn’t care for either of the main characters that much, I think that was what McGinnis wanted. While this story was quite frankly very weird and kind of all over the place at times, McGinnis made it work. Her writing is what gets me every time and I just become almost entranced and love the wildness that was this book. The only thing that really had me turned off in this book was the insane amount of bullying we witness. I don’t really know for what reason either. I understand the bullying Tress endured and that played a vital role in who she is now and why she wants revenge. We even get flashbacks of what happened to her. The bullying I hated with all my heart was with a side character Ribbit. He gets horribly bullied and at the end of this book, I don’t get why it was such a big part of the book. It doesn’t affect the main plot, Tress doesn’t do anything about the bullying, no one really cares that he is being bullied. I just don’t know why we get such detailed accounts of his bullying, it made me feel ill because I felt so bad for Ribbit. I didn’t like the subtle animal abuse either to the zoo animals. You can tell they don’t live in the best of conditions hence the name white trash zoo. I just really don’t like reading about animal abuse especially if there was no point to it. We didn’t need to get all close and personal with the animals besides the panther. I didn’t need to know about the orangutans, the zebra, or the crocodile. Other than that, I really did enjoy this book. The ending had me internally screaming because I couldn’t believe what I had just read. I will 100% be picking up the next book in this duology because I need to know what happens. The Initial Insult left a lot of unanswered questions that have me wishing the next book was already out. Knowing that this is a Poe retelling makes sense how this was so wacky and weird, but all made sense in the long run.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    3.5 / 5 stars The Initial Insult is book one of a Young adult mystery duology. It is my sixth book by this author. I don't think that I've ever come across a YA author who writes such profound and intriguing books. Her books are so unique. And they are always so different from what you expected. The Initial Insult has two main female teen 1st person POVs: former best friends Tress and Felicity. The book takes place on Halloween night. The mystery has to do with what happened to Tress' parents 7 year 3.5 / 5 stars The Initial Insult is book one of a Young adult mystery duology. It is my sixth book by this author. I don't think that I've ever come across a YA author who writes such profound and intriguing books. Her books are so unique. And they are always so different from what you expected. The Initial Insult has two main female teen 1st person POVs: former best friends Tress and Felicity. The book takes place on Halloween night. The mystery has to do with what happened to Tress' parents 7 years before. Tress lives with her grandfather (who doesn't take care of her at all). So she is super poor. Felicity is the opposite. She lives with her parents and has money. But she has a secret. The characters were definitely less likeable than I was hoping they would be. And the story was much darker than I was expecting. But the relationship between the two narrators was very intriguing. There is a third POV which I won't spoil. But it is super bizarre. The book has very short chapters. And it is a very quick read. Tress' grandfather runs Amontillado Animal Attractions. And they have all kinds of wild animals on their property. This was such an unusual and odd thing. Tress goes to crazy lengths to find out what happened 7 years ago. And I definitely was not expecting such a creepy and disturbing story. The story goes back in time to see different periods in Tress and Felicity's lives. This gives us some insight into what happened with their friendship. Overall this was an interesting and unique story. But it was definitely dark. The end leaves off in such a crazy place. Wow! *This is a retelling of "The Cask of Amontillado", a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Thanks to edelweiss and Katherine Tegen Books for allowing me to read this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    ❐ Overall Rating 4⭐ | Narration 😁 = Very Good ❐ Narrated by Lisa Flanagan, Brittany Pressley & Tim Campbell ❐ Listening Length: 7H 30m ❐ YA Contemporary ❐ Mystery/Thriller ❐ Weird AF --like only Mindy McGinnis can do I originally received an ARC of this or actually an ALC (advanced listeners copy) from Netgalley but couldn’t listen to it at all with the monotone reader that it had. The actual finished Audiobook has three separate narrators...and is a much better performance and can actually be cal ❐ Overall Rating 4⭐ | Narration 😁 = Very Good ❐ Narrated by Lisa Flanagan, Brittany Pressley & Tim Campbell ❐ Listening Length: 7H 30m ❐ YA Contemporary ❐ Mystery/Thriller ❐ Weird AF --like only Mindy McGinnis can do I originally received an ARC of this or actually an ALC (advanced listeners copy) from Netgalley but couldn’t listen to it at all with the monotone reader that it had. The actual finished Audiobook has three separate narrators...and is a much better performance and can actually be called a performance. So, I’m glad I waited. The only thing, I should’ve waited until book #2 was closer to coming out...because this literally feels like it ends right in the middle of the story. We learned almost nothing about why Tress was building a brick wall around her once best friend….other than that she did some terrible things to her...that were not necessarily her doing...but we never find out what happened to Tress’s parents on the night they disappeared. Plus... ...there’s a Halloween party going on while she is building the wall above them and there is a shitload of teens behaving badly up there... ...oh yeah, there is a black panther on the loose and he even has his own POV, which probably sounds really weird and it totally is... ...it’s exactly what you might find when reading/listening to a Mindy McGinnis story...pure f-ing madness. And...I’m still here for it. But still, I’m kinda pissed that I have to wait till next year for the second half of this madness. (cawpile score = 8.07/10)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Meigan

    A loose reimagining of THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO, The Initial Insult takes Poe’s classic tale and infuses it with plenty of modern elements while still keeping true to the bones of the familiar story. Much like Poe’s tale, McGinnis’s centers around two friends and a plan to bury one of them alive. Well, not *exactly* bury them, but merely build a wall around them, literal brick by agonizing brick. Tress doesn’t want to kill Felicity, exactly, just scare her into finally telling the truth about the A loose reimagining of THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO, The Initial Insult takes Poe’s classic tale and infuses it with plenty of modern elements while still keeping true to the bones of the familiar story. Much like Poe’s tale, McGinnis’s centers around two friends and a plan to bury one of them alive. Well, not *exactly* bury them, but merely build a wall around them, literal brick by agonizing brick. Tress doesn’t want to kill Felicity, exactly, just scare her into finally telling the truth about the last night her parents were alive. Felicity was the last one to see them and Tress knows she’s hiding something. But Tress’ plan goes horribly wrong on many fronts — from a mysterious flu that’s infecting people at the Halloween party where Tress plans to bury Felicity, to an escaped black panther with bloodlust, and everything in between. Mindy McGinnis definitely proves her ability to tell a fantastically dark story with her latest book, and this is precisely the reason she’s one of my favorite authors. She brings readers a delightful small town with quite a bit of history, and plenty of residents that stick to the belief that people still care about “good” families and Old Money. Tress and her family have certainly fallen out of that favor, while Felicity and her family’s new money are trying to weasel their way in. The characters were also spectacular and I loved both Felicity and Tress and their complicated and pain-filled relationship. And much like McGinnis’ other books, don’t go into this book expecting rainbows and happy endings because you won’t find them. This is a dark tale and Mindy McGinnis is a certainly a master of the dark tale. This story wraps up nicely, though there are still plenty of questions that need answers. Luckily this is the first book of a duology, and I can’t wait to see what the second book holds for these characters. 4.5 stars. *Many thanks to NetGalley and Katherine Tegen Books for the audio ARC!

  25. 5 out of 5

    HollyLovesBooks

    *This was not the real narrated audiobook* This was a surprise offer to read and review The Initial Insult prior to publication, not by visually reading it, but by listening to an early synthetic voice release of the eARC. The voice was difficult at times to follow, causing me to go back to be certain that I heard something correctly. I think this was also due to this wild story! There are multiple POVs and one of them is an actual cat. Crazy right? But essentially, without spoiling those who lik *This was not the real narrated audiobook* This was a surprise offer to read and review The Initial Insult prior to publication, not by visually reading it, but by listening to an early synthetic voice release of the eARC. The voice was difficult at times to follow, causing me to go back to be certain that I heard something correctly. I think this was also due to this wild story! There are multiple POVs and one of them is an actual cat. Crazy right? But essentially, without spoiling those who like to go into a mysterious or thriller read with zero knowledge of what to expect, this is a story about teenage girls who are on opposite ends of socioeconomic standing in their small town. It is based on a classic Poe story and has the atmosphere for it, if somewhat fluffier. Set in the small town of Amontillado, OH, the story centers on Tress who has lost her parents with no explanation as a small child and is living with her crazy grandfather who can't sufficiently care for her and Felicity, who is from the wealthy side of town, and who was being taken home by Tress's parents when they disappeared. Tress wants to know what Felicity knows and will try many ways to pry the truth from her. The story takes off as the kids are having a costume party and ends on a cliff-hanger. It was a fun read and hasn't changed my opinion of the author. I enjoy her work and will anticipate the conclusion to this duology. #HarperChildrens #KatherineTegenBooks #TheInitialInsult #NetGalley

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    What do you get when you mix an angst-ridden Appalachian teen horror with Poe's The Cask of Amontillado? The Initial Insult. All told, I really enjoyed this, but then, I was in the mood for extreme cattiness, thousands of miscommunications, and the devolution from love to hate. Fortunately, this YA horror/thriller definitely fits that bill. I won't say it is the most unique thing in the world since I've personally read something like 7 books very similar to this in the last two years, but if you ha What do you get when you mix an angst-ridden Appalachian teen horror with Poe's The Cask of Amontillado? The Initial Insult. All told, I really enjoyed this, but then, I was in the mood for extreme cattiness, thousands of miscommunications, and the devolution from love to hate. Fortunately, this YA horror/thriller definitely fits that bill. I won't say it is the most unique thing in the world since I've personally read something like 7 books very similar to this in the last two years, but if you have an itch you have to scratch and its name is REVENGE, then you probably ought to pick this up. I can see a few of you out there tearing up (for one reason or another) by the end of the tale.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danielle (always_read_the_end_first)

    Wow. This was very intense. All the trigger warning beware. I enjoyed this soooo much. It reminded me of SADIE!!! It left me feeling gutted like Sadie did. Thank you so much for this ARC! It was left open ended and there will be a sequel surprisingly.

  28. 4 out of 5

    KTReads

    4.5 This was such an interesting mystery thriller that I really enjoyed! I really loved the complicated friend and family dynamics and I was honestly scared while reading it. I really loved the atmosphere and the subtle tension that built throughout the story. There are a lot of trigger warnings so be careful going into this but I would definitely recommend it. TW: kidnapping, Torture, Blood, Gore, Graphic description of injuries, Alcohol and Drug use, Neglect, A character deals with seizures, s 4.5 This was such an interesting mystery thriller that I really enjoyed! I really loved the complicated friend and family dynamics and I was honestly scared while reading it. I really loved the atmosphere and the subtle tension that built throughout the story. There are a lot of trigger warnings so be careful going into this but I would definitely recommend it. TW: kidnapping, Torture, Blood, Gore, Graphic description of injuries, Alcohol and Drug use, Neglect, A character deals with seizures, slight animal abuse. ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary audio copy of THE INITIAL INSULT by Mindy McGinnis in exchange for my honest review.***

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kylie

    I received an audiobook copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars Wow what a ride. This was definitely a thriller! This book jumps around in time A LOT, so if you don't like that, this book may not be for you, but if you do like that or can wrap your head around it, read it! In present day, one of the main characters Tress has knocked out and chained her former best friend (and other main character) Felicity to the wall of a basement in an abandoned house where a I received an audiobook copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars Wow what a ride. This was definitely a thriller! This book jumps around in time A LOT, so if you don't like that, this book may not be for you, but if you do like that or can wrap your head around it, read it! In present day, one of the main characters Tress has knocked out and chained her former best friend (and other main character) Felicity to the wall of a basement in an abandoned house where a party is happening upstairs to try to find out what happened to her parents years in the past. Felicity was a witness, but happened to have a seizure at the time so doesn't remember what happened. If that doesn't get your thriller senses excited, I don't know what will! It was a little bit confusing getting into the mindset of having the book jump around in time so much. The main part is the present, where Tress has Felicity held hostage. Then we jump around from kindergarten to the recent past, reliving moments that were significant to both of them (the moment they became friends, the moment Felicity's new "friends" made fun of Tress, and Felicity didn't stand up for her). Every moment made you understand their current relationship more and more and I could totally see why Tress had Felicity chained to the wall. I spent the whole book hoping they would reconcile their friendship and have a happy ending. BUT this is a thriller, so of course it ended on a cliffhanger. I came to understand both Tress and Felicity and really enjoyed both their characters. The side characters were great too. The one thing that just kind of baffled me was the POV of "cat." At first I thought it was a person named Kat, but it is an actual panther. I know this will probably make more sense in the second book, but especially at the end, this POV was really confusing. This may be due to the synthetic narrator, but I literally had to listen to the end 4 times and slow it down to understand what happened because at this point, the cat POV doesn't make any sense. I'm almost upset at myself for listening to an advanced copy of this book because now I have to wait a really long time for the second one and I need to know what happens!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an audio galley of The Initial Insult in exchange for an honest review. This was weird. I mean obviously a YA, 2 book adaptation of The Cask of Amontillado is bound to be weird but oh my god was this weird in the best way possible. Told in 3 points of view, 1 belonging to rich, popular Felicity, another belonging to her ex-best friend Tress, and the 3rd belonging to a panther. Still with me? Cool. So basically Felicity and Tress used to be best friends but had Thanks to the publisher for providing an audio galley of The Initial Insult in exchange for an honest review. This was weird. I mean obviously a YA, 2 book adaptation of The Cask of Amontillado is bound to be weird but oh my god was this weird in the best way possible. Told in 3 points of view, 1 belonging to rich, popular Felicity, another belonging to her ex-best friend Tress, and the 3rd belonging to a panther. Still with me? Cool. So basically Felicity and Tress used to be best friends but had a falling out and now Tress wants answers from Felicity that Felicity won't give her. If you've read The Cask of Amontillado you already know what comes next. Logically, Tress decides to chain Felicity up underneath a halloween party (putting Felicity in a 'sexy clown costume' was a really fun nod to the source material by the way) and slowly entomb her in an old mine chute by closing it up with bricks. And somehow it all makes sense? Felicity and Tress are both believable characters with believable character motives. We switch between their present and their memories and it gradually becomes easier and easier to figure out what led to the night of the Halloween party. Past and present collide in a conclusion that has me dying to find out what happens next. Not to be dramatic but my jaw literally dropped. Will Tress kill Felicity? Will Felicity tell Tress what she wants to know? What's going on with that third panther perspective I mentioned earlier? This is the kind of story best experienced if you know as little as possible going in so I'm just going to leave you there.

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