May 28, 2021

#BookReview: The Initial Insult (The Initial Insult #1) by Mindy McGinnis

Synopsis: 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.


Rating: 3 Stars
My Review: I am not really sure what in the world I read after finishing this one.  I kind of liked some things about it but others I am at a loss for words.  Crazy and insane might be the best way to describe it. This one has a lot of trigger warnings as well from drugs and alcohol to wild animals on the loose to child neglect to even more.  It's just insane how much crazy is in this book.  I think that if you are a fan of the crazy this one might get you. 

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Tress Montor lost everything the night her parents disappeared seven years ago: her family, her friends, and the respect her last name usually demands in the town of Amontillado. Now she lives on the Amontillado Animal Sanctuary-what the locals call "the White Trash Zoo"-with her alcoholic grandfather Cecil and a motley assortment of animals. The town has turned its back on her, and she wants answers-or revenge. Felicity Turnado doesn't have a storied surname and everything that's perfect in her life she's earned on her own: her grades, her popularity, and the respect of the community. What isn't perfect is that her former best friend, Tress, won't even look at her. Felicity was with the Montors the night they vanished, but she's worked so hard to make the community forget she was there that she herself doesn't remember what happened. Sick of being the butt of everyone's jokes, Tress has a plan to get Felicity to talk-one that involves a costume party in the crumbling Usher House, an empty coal chute, and a pile of bricks. McGinnis draws heavily upon the works of Edgar Allan Poe to deliver a gripping modern retelling of "The Cask of Amontillado." Tress and Felicity are expertly fleshed out; the chapters are written from alternating viewpoints of the two girls across their entire friendship. Their linked tragedy and trauma is expressed in prose that is by turns gritty and heart-rending, and they join a lineup of strong, flawed, and intriguing McGinnis main characters. As the first book in a duology, the story ends in a cliff-hanger, which heightens anticipation for the second installment. Most characters are white. VERDICT Well-versed Poe fans will gobble this up, but the heartache, revenge, and anger that ooze from these pages should entice any reader.-Tyler Hixson, Brooklyn P.L.α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


“Each word has been specifically chosen, each character superbly and humanly sculpted, the plot line masterfully completed. McGinnis plays with the readers and they are at her mercy.” -- Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (starred review)

“McGinnis can surely tell a story.” -- USA Today

“If Edgar Allan Poe came back to write the scariest high school murder story ever, it probably wouldn’t be half as good as Mindy McGinnis’s The Initial Insult. You must read this book!”  -- James Patterson

Praise for This Darkness Mine: “Rich imagery and a ruthless protagonist propel the novel forward to its shocking, ominous conclusion.” -- Booklist

"An intricate, duology-opening story of mystery and revenge by McGinnis with significant nods to Edgar Allan Poe’s macabre work. An engaging tale." -- Publishers Weekly

“[I]t’s raw. Not “raw for YA.” Real-deal raw. And violent. And unforgettable. McGinnis explores both and she goes there in a way no one really has before in YA.” -- Globe and Mail (Toronto)

"McGinnis is known for writing tough female protagonists and gritty realism, and she holds nothing back in this latest novel. Ashley is angry, vulnerable, smart, and compelling, and her journey is marked by setbacks, terror, and plenty of gross-out moments. This captivating, fast-paced novel is Hatchet for an older crowd. Highly recommended where adventure and survival fiction are popular." -- School Library Journal

“McGinnis gracefully avoids the pitfalls of creating a teenage vigilante, instead maintaining a sense of piercing realism.” -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for A Madness So Discreet: “McGinnis excels at rich character development; every person readers meet makes a dramatic impact on the story and on Grace.” -- School Library Journal

Praise for Be Not Far from Me: "McGinnis' visceral and emotional tale features a strong, stubborn, and alarmingly capable protagonist with unwavering respect for the natural world... Impossible to put down." -- Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Female of the Species: “[A] gripping story that should be read and discussed by teens, as well as those who work with them.” -- Booklist

"Lush, dangerous, and deliciously twisty, The Initial Insult is an Appalachian Gothic for the ages. A smart and vital reworking of one of Poe's most chilling stories." -- Brittany Cavallaro, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlotte Holmes series

Praise for Heroine: “[A] realistic portrayal of how easy it is to develop an opiate addiction and the very real consequences of addiction. A timely and important message for teens everywhere.” -- Booklist

“This is an astoundingly dark but beautifully written tragedy.” -- School Library Journal (starred review)

"McGinnis cleverly weaves elements from Edgar Allen Poe’s stories... The slowly unfolding mystery and chilling cliff-hanger will cement interest for the next volume." -- Booklist

"McGinnis draws heavily upon the works of Edgar Allan Poe to deliver a gripping modern retelling of “The Cask of Amontillado.” Tress and ­Felicity are expertly fleshed out. Their linked tragedy and trauma is expressed in prose that is by turns gritty and heart-rending, and they join a lineup of strong, flawed, and intriguing McGinnis main characters. As the first book in a duology, the story ends in a cliff-hanger, which heightens anticipation for the second installment. Well-versed Poe fans will gobble this up, but the heartache, revenge, and ­anger that ooze from these pages should ­entice any reader." -- School Library Journal (starred review)

"A wickedly disturbing and wildly entertaining tale of vengeance, guilt, and secrets. Poe enthusiasts will appreciate McGinnis’ adherence to her inspiration’s darkness." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

"The elevator pitch is "Poe's Cask of Amontillado meets Tiger King" and that's exactly what this book delivers. McGinnis has crafted an artful tire fire that burns so bright and hot that I couldn't look away. My only complaint is the devastation I felt at the end when I realized this is the first book in a duology and I have to wait for the conclusion." -- NPR Books

"Expertly crafted and absolutely chilling. Mindy McGinnis holds nothing back in this twisty, ruthlessly compelling story of a friendship gone wrong." -- Karen M. McManus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying

“Those in search of fierce female survivalist characters need look no further than this.” -- Booklist

“A compassionate, compelling, and terrifying story about a high school softball player’s addiction to opioids. The writing is visceral, and following Mickey as she rationalizes about her addiction is educative and frightening. A cautionary tale that exposes the danger of prescription medications by humanizing one victim of America’s current epidemic.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An unflinching look at rape culture and its repercussions.” -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Your heart may still be pounding after you’ve finished this book.” -- New York Times Book Review 

Praise for Not a Drop to Drink: “The intensity of action moves the story forward, but not at the expense of character development. The honest and hopeful ending-while not ‘happily ever after’—will resonate with readers and leave them asking for more.” -- Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)

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