The Last Laugh

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. (The Initial Insult: Bk. 2). Mar. 2022. 384p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062982452.
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.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing