Friday, February 12, 2021

The Initial Insult by Mindy McGinnis

I am a little late getting to the Mindy McGinnis party, but now that I'm here, I will not be missing any of her future books and I'm excited to work my way backwards through her titles. I was utterly ravaged by her North Star YA Award nominee Heroine and I read Be Not Far From Me Now in one gulp.  Both share a gritty realism that is hard to witness, but is ultimately redemptive.

The Initial Insult takes "gritty" to a whole new level. In creating this story, McGinnis was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe and that is obvious, both in the deliberate way the plot unfolds and in the terrifying crescendo/cliffhanger ending (this is the first in a duology and yes, I eagerly await for #2).  Generally I don't do scary. I'm a wimp when it comes to horror and generally I won't even get close to gore.  I make an exception, here, though, for McGinnis.

Tress Mentor's parents disappeared into thin air seven years ago when they were driving Tress's friend Felicity home. Tress's life has been a mess ever since. She lives with her alcoholic grandfather in what the locals call "White Trash Zoo," and while she manages to get to her senior year of high school, she is tormented by the question of what happened to her parents and filled with rage towards her former best friend.  Tress, certain that Felicity remembers more than she has shared, puts a sinister and horrifying plan into place to force Felicity into telling her what happened that evening.  No spoilers here, but suffice to say Tress is a mastermind of the macabre.  

Interspersed throughout the book are poems in the voice of a panther who is a resident in the "White Trash Zoo." Tress shares a weird affinity with the panther and McGinnis' descriptions of this wild cat, caged, are haunting. 

Publication date for The Initial Insult is 2/23/21, so it's coming to a library near you soon.  

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