ARC Review | The Initial Insult

Title: The Initial Insult

Author: Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books

Release date: February 23, 2021

My rating: ★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.


Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I have always heard really good things about this author’s writing so of course I was very excited to pick up their newest title. The synopsis sounded pretty dark & thrilling which is something that I usually enjoy. Unfortunately though, this book just wasn’t the right one for me. I didn’t connect with it like I thought I would. In fact, I actually had a hard time sticking with the story. It lost my attention quite a bit.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the characters. Both were unlikeable, which was meant to happen, but I had more issues with Tress than I did with Felicity. Tress has gone through a lot in her life. Her parents disappeared and she was sent to live with her neglectful grandfather. Yes, her life has been rough, but that doesn’t excuse her actions. She is violent and petty. Most of her chapters were spent blaming Felicity for everything that has gone wrong in her life. It was too much. Felicity hasn’t had it easy either. With frequent seizures that she keeps a secret & parents who care more about popularity, Felicity’s life isn’t perfect. She wants to move on from everything that happened with Tress’s parents, but Tress isn’t about to let that happen.

I wasn’t a fan of how the topic of seizures was handled. As far as the representation, that I cannot comment on. I do not have any knowledge or experience there. What I didn’t like was the fact that Felicity’s parents were very insistent on keeping the seizures a secret. Their reasoning behind this was if people knew then no one would want to marry Felicity. I feel like that is the wrong message to send, especially when there wasn’t anyone challenging their mindset. Am I reading into this too much? Probably. But as someone with a disability, It angers me when someone says that type of thing.

The past & present timelines were hard for me to follow. Throughout the story we get throwbacks to Tress & Felicity during the school years. I would get confused on where exactly we were at certain points. Since I did listen to the audio, I do think that had I physically read this book, that wouldn’t have been an issue.

I feel like there were lots of random elements of the story. The roaming panther and the mysterious flu just seemed out of place. I’m sure they connect to the story somehow, but I’m not sure. 

I really enjoyed the mystery aspect! I was super intrigued and wanted to know what exactly happened to Tress’s parents. The author did a good job keeping me guessing! 

The ending was satisfying. We didn’t get all the answers, but I think I got enough to have closure. This is the first book in a duology, but as of right now, I have no plans to read the second book. 

Overall, I do think that other readers will enjoy this book. It wasn’t bad by any means. It just wasn’t the right fit for me!


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