Review of ‘The Initial Insult’

The Initial Insult delves into the past of two friends in a dark and gritty way, going back to the moment that changed everything for both of them.

Excellent Storytelling

the initial insult

The Initial Insult
Mindy McGinnis
Katherine Tegen Books

The Initial Insult is an incredible novel. A big part of what makes this novel so good is how the author interprets Edgar Allan Poe’s work and can weave it into her own story seamlessly.

Following the lives of Tress Montor and Felicity Turnado, the story goes back and forth between them, exploring the facets of their lives, how they see the world, and how the world looks at them. They live in a small town where appearance is everything, making this town full of entitled, petty, and unhappy people.

It is insightful to see how focusing on how you look and what people think of you instead of being true to yourself and tear you apart. Felicity is so wrapped up in her mothers’ vanity and nonsense that she loses her voice and sense of self. This ends up harming Tress’s life, which is already in shambles.

When her parents vanished, taking Felicity home one night, Tress stopped caring about how people viewed her. All they saw was an orphan sent to live with her grandfather at his zoo. Tress has not been fortunate, all of it going towards Felicity, so there is a build-up of tension between the two.

This build-up reveals itself early on, but the impact it has on the reader happens when Tress knocks her out and ties her up. She plans to wall her inside this condemned building unless Felicity tells her the truth about her parents’ disappearance. It is an incredible scene felt throughout the story as their memories push the story forward. Both girls are forced to face the past, see the lies, the secrets, and the truths behind them. Those memories build up the suspense and the characterization, highlighting how Felicity has become a “bad” person by staying silent while others tear down Tress.


The story propels itself forward by the way they remember the past. This way of storytelling gives readers depth to the characters and their dynamics with one another. It allows the reader to become invested in the underlining mystery of the disappearance of the Montor’s.

Tress and Felicity are not black or white characters; they are multidimensional, full of faults, dreams, guilt, and heartache. Those feelings reverberate off the pages and cling to the reader. Writing such as that should never go unnoticed.

However, there is also a third personality that the readers get to follow along this journey: the Cat.

The Cat is such a chilling perspective because they are this third lens of storytelling, giving an artistic and thoughtful third eye to the story. Their story is also told in verse, making for a compelling and unique way to bring to life his character.

All three of these characters give the story dimension and highlight how real they are. Moreover, the Cat gives the story this edge of fantasy without being fantasy.

Final Thoughts

The Initial Insult is a compelling and addicting story. It keeps the reader glued to the page, and the element of Poe is perfect for Poe fans, littering the story, shining love of his work creatively and uniquely.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Product Details:

Pub Date: February 23, 2021
Page Count: 384ppAge Range: 14 & Over
ISBN: 978-0-0629-8242-1Publisher: Katherine Tegen BooksList Price: $17.99

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Writing Quality


Character Development


"Couldn't Put It Down"-ness


Intellectual Depth





  • Tension
  • Poe's work littered throughout the story.
  • Strong Realistic Characters.
  • Engaging plot and narrative.

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