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The Last Laugh
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The Last Laugh
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In the dark and stunning sequel to The Initial Insult, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis concludes this suspenseful YA duology as long-held family secrets finally come to light . . . changing...
In the dark and stunning sequel to The Initial Insult, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis concludes this suspenseful YA duology as long-held family secrets finally come to light . . . changing...
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Description-

  • In the dark and stunning sequel to The Initial Insult, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis concludes this suspenseful YA duology as long-held family secrets finally come to light . . . changing Amontillado forevermore. Perfect for fans of Truly Devious and Sadie!

    Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity's heartbeat pulsing from the "best friend" charm around her fevered neck.

    Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he's willingly played the fool, but now it's time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.

    With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress's grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents?

    * Junior Library Guild selection *

About the Author-

  • Mindy McGinnis is the author of Not a Drop to Drink and its companion, In a Handful of Dust, as well as This Darkness Mine, The Female of the Species, Given to the Sea, Heroine, and the Edgar Award–winning novel A Madness So Discreet. A graduate of Otterbein University with a BA in English literature and religion, Mindy lives in Ohio. You can visit her online at www.mindymcginnis.com.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    January 1, 2022

    Gr 9 Up-The town of Amontillado is reeling. Felicity Turnado is missing. Kermit "Ribbit" Usher has gone viral, after partygoers recorded his drunken shenanigans and livestreamed them. Tress Montor is the only one who knows the truth of last night-that she murdered Felicity-but she's determined to keep the secret for the rest of her life. Which might not be that long, considering she is currently bleeding out due to being attacked by the panther that got loose from the Amontillado Animal Sanctuary. As Tress fights for her life against infection-and the guilt over what she has done-Ribbit is busy exacting twofold revenge: against the classmates who've ruined his life, and a revenge 18 years in the making against his own family. The second book of McGinnis's latest duology picks up hours after The Initial Insult, with alternating perspectives between Tress and Ribbit and verse chapters from the perspective of Rue the orangutan. McGinnis continues drawing inspiration from the works of Edgar Allen Poe, this time more heavily from "The Tell-tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher." Suspension of disbelief is required a little more this time around-part of the plot revolves around characters willingly setting themselves on fire, with a teacher's permission-but it all serves to deliver a sequel that is just as thrilling and dark, if not as cohesive, as its predecessor. VERDICT A serviceable ending to a dark and twisted tale. Definitely hand over to readers of the first book.-Tyler Hixson

    Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    January 15, 2022
    While one cousin grapples with murder, another seeks revenge in this Edgar Allen Poe-inspired sequel to The Initial Insult (2021). Picking up where the first novel ended, this duology closer once again follows Tress Montor in mostly White, small-town Amontillado, Ohio. Still looking for answers about her parents' mysterious disappearance 7 years ago, Tress is also haunted � la "The Tell-Tale Heart" by the murder of Felicity Turnado, whom she entombed alive in the previous entry. Alternating with her first-person narration are chapters from her often taunted cousin, Kermit "Ribbit" Usher. Reminiscent of the title character in Poe's "Hop-Frog," Ribbit plans for a deadly revenge against his tormentors as well as a heroic rescue of Felicity and a family-ordered killing. As before, the alternating point-of-view chapters, with taut storytelling, dark twists, and allusions to Poe, effectively play off one another. Reinforcing the converging storylines are interspersed cryptic free-verse poems by Rue, a caged orangutan who lives at the illegal exotic animal attraction owned by Tress' grandfather. The overall effect this time ups the mystery, intensity, and horror (emphasis on the latter!), with a satisfying ending delivering answers about ongoing family questions and clashes. Readers must be familiar with the first book to fully appreciate this one. Masterfully modernizing the gothic horror genre, McGinnis outdoes herself. (Thriller. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Booklist

    May 20, 2022
    Grades 10-12 McGinnis pulls out all the stops for this darkly thrilling conclusion to her Poe-inspired duology, which picks up where The Initial Insult (2021) ended. The town of Amontillado, Ohio, is focused on the search for missing golden girl Felicity, whom everyone believes will eventually turn up--except for Tress, who entombed Felicity's body during a Halloween party. Wracked with guilt at a scare tactic taken too far, Tress is haunted by the sound of Felicity's beating heart emanating from their best-friend necklace. Additionally, Tress continues to search for the truth about her missing parents, information long buried by Tress' cousin Kermit "Ribbit" Usher. Ribbit, the so-called last Usher, narrates in alternating chapters while he plans Tress' murder and his own fiery revenge on the classmates who livestreamed his humiliation during the fated Halloween party. The dual narratives create crackling tension, until they converge into an explosion of stunning revelations, betrayals, and deaths on the night of homecoming. McGinnis shrewdly blends familiar, and not-so-familiar, Poe tales into an addictive gothic horror story for older teens. Fans of the first volume will not be disappointed.

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Booklist, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "The overall effect this time ups the mystery, intensity, and horror (emphasis on the latter!), with a satisfying ending delivering answers about ongoing family questions and clashes. Masterfully modernizing the gothic horror genre, McGinnis outdoes herself." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

    "A sequel that is just as thrilling and dark, if not as cohesive, as its predecessor. Definitely hand over to readers of the first book." — School Library Journal

    Praise for The Initial Insult: "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. 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)

    "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

    "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

    "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

    "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

    "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

    "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

    "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

    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

    "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 gracefully avoids the pitfalls of creating a teenage vigilante, instead maintaining a sense of piercing realism." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    "An unflinching look at rape culture and its repercussions." — Kirkus...

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