Cover Image: The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh

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Member Reviews

Mindy McGinnis is just an incredible writer through and through. In this sequel to The Initial Insult, the story is even darker and concludes in a remarkable way. I truly cannot recommend this duology enough! If you haven't started it yet, this is your sign. Highly recommended!
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Mindy McGinnis is an auto-buy for me, and I’ve been anxiously looking forward to this one ever since I read “The Initial Insult,” the first in this duology. My expectations were VERY high—and they were completely exceeded. No one does gritty, visceral YA quite like Mindy McGinnis.
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4.5 stars. I thought the first book was dark but dang this one upped the ante. There are so many characters and families in this story but the author somehow managed to flesh them out very well. The things people will do for money. Even killing your own sister. This duology was a wild ride. I highly suggest it.
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Thanks to NetGalley for my eARC. This conclusion to the duology was absolutely wild! I know that McGinnis books are always filled with creative twists and turns, but I never see them coming! This Edgar Allen Poe retelling (more like reimagined) is fascinating! I’m not quite sure what else to write without spoiling book 1 or 2, but I will follow McGinnis anywhere she takes me because each book they write is so smart!
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I seriously enjoyed this one, which is saying a lot because I wasn’t super enthused about the first one. But this wraps things up quite nicely and there’s some major Springer shit going on along the way. Like I can’t even with parts of this book. It was so entertaining in a sick, omg what’s going on here, kind of way… 

I don’t even really like Tress. I think she’s kind of a pain in the ass, but she’s so good at it that you have to sort of admire that in her. 🤷🏻‍♀️ She’s a strong character even if she’s not likable all the time and she does have some redeeming qualities. But as far as the characters are concerned, there aren’t many that you can relate to, but (view spoiler) Lol… sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, they’re all interesting and definitely worth reading about. 

Shit obviously got crazy in the first book, but even though I wasn’t looking forward to this read, it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. It was so intriguing and thrilling that I could hardly put it down!! It’s just one thing after another. Major jaw dropping moments here. In fact, I threw my kindle down on the bed at one point because I was so thrown over by this book. I can’t give anything away because just about everything that happens is essential to the plot and you have to find out sequentially or else shit just won’t make sense. But trust me when I say this book is awesome. 

I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoyed the first one. Actually, even if you didn’t, you may still like this one, because I know I certainly do. And the first one just wasn’t my cup of tea. 

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Harpercollins Childrens Books, and Mindy McGinnis for the opportunity to read this for my honest and unbiased opinion!!
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The best thing about a Mindy McGinnis book is that it pulls you forward and you just don’t want to stop reading it. Tress like the first one is still fighting to figure put what is going on with her and what happened to her parents, she is also struggling with the consequences of the choices she has made. While some of the events of this I wish I could rewrite and make them better, they did add to the store. I loved the story but I’m also glad to be out of Amontillado.
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I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a sequel book (and finale) to The Initial Insult, which I review previously and loved. This was no different. There was a lot of good twists throughout with character development, interactions between characters, and the plot. There was a part that was so vivid I became nauseous. The whole story was beautifully written in a horrifying way. I highly recommend for those with stronger stomachs or those (like me) who are obsessed with complicated morally gray characters!
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Cover Story: Montell Jordan

GIF from Montell Jordan's music video "This Is How We Do It"
HOLY COW Y’ALL. I am losing it over this cover and the new, matching cover for The Initial Insult as well. These covers are a million times better than the original hardback for The Initial Insult. They capture the chaotic, dark vibe of this duology, and I love seeing the side-by-side of Tress and Felicity’s faces. Truly, this feels like such a breath of fresh air compared to all the cutesy cartoon covers out there right now. BRAVO, NO NOTES.

The Deal:

~*~sPoILeR aLeRt~*~ This is your official warning that The Last Laugh is the second installment in The Initial Insult duology, and thus, this book report contains some major spoilerage. Continue at your own risk, babies.

It’s the morning after the party at the Allen house. Tress Montor just murdered her best friend, Felicity, and she’s no closer to knowing why her parents disappeared all those years ago. She was also just mauled by a jaguar that escaped her grandfather’s roadside zoo attraction, and she can’t get medical attention for her arm without drawing attention to herself and putting her home and the other animals at risk.


 
Her cousin, Ribbit Usher, is still trending online after a video of him being bullied and humiliated at the party went viral. Everyone in school has seen him naked, and heard him admit all his most embarrassing secrets. Ribbit plans to get his revenge, but first, he has to find Felicity.

The Allen house is scheduled to be demolished soon, and Tress is the only person who knows Felicity is bricked inside a coal chute in its basement. As the aftermath of the party and Felicity’s disappearance coincide with Amontillado’s Homecoming and the seven year anniversary of her parents’ disappearance, Tress has to figure out what happened to her parents before people learn what she did to Felicity – if she even lives that long.

BFF Charm: No, Hell No and OH HELLLLLLLL NO

Hell No BFF Charm in Flames
It’s the same BFF charms I handed out before, but now with a slight shift in recipients!

No: Tress

Tress gets upgraded from a Hell No to a simple No this time around. She has realized the error of her ways, and now she’s nursing a NASTY jaguar maul, just trying her best to stay alive. She’s also dealing with the guilt and pain and regret of accidentally killing Felicity. As her story unfolds in The Last Laugh, it’s hard not to wonder how different Tress would have turned out if it weren’t for the adults in her family – or even more broadly, in Amontillado. She gets a bit of a redemption arc this time around, and though I was happy with the ending, I’m still not giving her a BFF charm and tbh, I doubt Tress would want one.

Hell No: Rue the Orangutan

Since the jaguar is still out on the prowl, this time, we get the occasional chapter from the perspective of Rue the orangutan. I actually loved Rue – she loves and protects Tress, and tries to warn her of danger. But Rue is still a wild animal and McGinnis quite graphically shows us exactly what Rue is capable of when her instincts kick in. And for that reason alone, I can’t give her a BFF charm. Hell no.

OH HELLLLLLLL NO: Ribbit

Since Felicity was left dead at the bottom of a coal chute at the end of the first book, we now get alternating chapters from Tress and her cousin, Ribbit Usher. After Ribbit went uber-viral for the video from the party, he’s been getting more attention from the popular people at school, and he plans to use that attention for two reasons: 1) to find Felicity and 2) to enact revenge. I can’t tell you much about Ribbit without spoilers but HOLY SHIT THIS GUY. *makes fingers into an X*

Swoonworthy Scale: ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Tress is fighting for her actual life throughout the entire book, there is nary a moment for romance in her story.

But Ribbit……whew, girl. Ribbit has been convinced since he was a kid that he and Felicity Turnado are meant to be together by some divine right. His plan to rescue her is all driven by the idea that he’ll be the white knight and she’ll be his Princess Peach or whatever and they’ll live happily ever after. And the whole thing STINKS of incel.

Talky Talk: Mindy McGinnis Award For WTFery

I won’t lie, this book was dark even for Mindy. There were times, especially in the first half, where things felt so dark it made my stomach hurt. But I was ENTHRALLED from start to finish, y’all. Every time I thought the story couldn’t get wilder, it WILDED. Every time I thought Mindy wouldn’t go there, she freaking WENT THERE. I assure you, you will not guess where this plot is taking you.

But most importantly, this book tied up all the loose ends from The Initial Insult in a masterful way. My main complaint with the first book was that it felt like a lot – maybe too much – was going on at once. But this go around, McGinnis has me putting my foot in my mouth (not literally, but then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone ate a literal foot in this book).

Bonus Factor: Family Secrets

The cast of Knives Out as a family portrait.
Everyone in Amontillado has secrets, but Tress’ family is particularly full of them. Tress was so frustrated and fed up with not knowing WTF was going on with her family that she tried to murder her best friend in the first book, so you can imagine how satisfying it is to watch the layers of the Montor / Usher family onion get peeled back.

Anti-Bonus Factor: Dan Scott Award for Awful Parenting

Evil Dan Scott from One Tree Hill
No, the parents were NOT better in this book. We finally get the backstory of Tress’ parents and it is even wilder than I could’ve imagined. Truly out of left field – I did NOT see it coming.

Relationship Status: Flight Risk

I read the second half of this book on an overseas flight and I could not read fast enough. My eyeballs could not open wide enough to ABSORB all the madness. It was a wild ride, and when I finished, I looked around me at a bunch of strangers on a plane, desperate to talk about WTF I’d just read.

So what I’m saying is read this duology immediately. I need to talk about it.
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Mindy McGinnis is one of my very favorites. Every single one of her books is beautifully dark and gothic, with flawed and complicated characters that you can’t help but want the best for, and THE LAST LAUGH is certainly no exception.

Picking up right where The Initial Insult left off, the story of family secrets, betrayal, murder, missing people, and toxic relationships continued to surprise and delight me. And also confound me, because there were some hefty twists and turns this time around. I thought for sure that I knew where this story was going and I can only say that I was completely wrong. Not even close.

This series reads like a gorgeous love letter to Edgar Allen Poe with its many nods to his various works including The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, and The Cask of Amontillado, among others. Every time I finish one of Mindy’s books, I’m convinced that that particular one is my *very* favorite. I guess I’ll have to make this series my *very very* favorite, because it ticked so many boxes for me and made my goth, Poe-loving heart so happy. 5 stars, and I can’t wait to see what Mindy graces us with next.

*eARC received courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher.
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I downloaded this book because I wanted to see if my issues with The initial Insult would be addressed in this book. They were not and I would even say that they got worse. Full of ableism.
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Well… that was 🦇 💩 crazy!!!
And I loved every minute of it.
If you haven‘t read this book and it‘s predecessor, The Initial Insult, I suggest you do. You‘ll be in for a bananas good time. Thank you to #netgalley for an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
McGinnis is a new must read author for me.
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This has to be one of the weirdest books I've ever read, and I have read some weird books.  That said, it's good, in typical McGinnis semi gory fashion.  Tress has always been an interesting character, and the end of The Initial Insult left a LOT of things unresolved.  I felt a little lost still through a good chunk of this book, but the insanity was enough to keep me interested, and by the end everything was fairly well tied up.  A solid conclusion to this duology!
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The only negative thing about Mindy McGinnis books is that we only get one like once a year. Because she's a human, and writing takes time. It isn't her fault she's not a cyborg. But man, do I get excited when the time for one is here! The thing I love most about her books (in a long list of things I love) is that they're simply unlike any other books out there. There's always something unique and fresh feeling about them, for me. And this series has nailed that.

I absolutely devoured The Initial Insult last year, and was kind of giddy for this sequel/finale. And it delivered! I don't want to give away much, because you should really read this series, but if you thought everyone in book one was messed up? You haven't seen anything yet! This town is full of the Who's Who of Human Crap (heh, Friends reference that I finally have a reason to use), with many, many folks sinking to new, vile lows. Like, yes, Tress is a mess, but Tress owns that she's a mess. Plus, her backstory is rough, so you can definitely see why she makes some terrible life choices. In this sequel, we also get the POV of her cousin, Ribbit. Ribbit is... he sucks, okay? His chapters will probably infuriate you, but they're great for the story overall.

I could not put this one down, much like its predecessor. And I kind of wanted to pace myself, because like I said, we only get one Mindy McGinnis book a year! But alas, I was too invested in the story, too pulled in by the darkness and debauchery of this town, to do anything but absolutely fly through the pages. If you loved the first book like I did, know that this book will give you a very satisfying conclusion. And if you've yet to read the first book... what the heck are you waiting for?!

Bottom Line: Nobody does messed up and wildly entertaining as well as Mindy McGinnis.
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While I didn't like this one as much as the first book, I had to know the end of the story! A suspenseful, gory, and twisted finale. Readers who enjoyed book #1 will want to read it.
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This was really great. I loved how The Last Laugh built upon the story of The Initial Insult. These dark and twisted teens are super entertaining. Oh, and I was pleasantly surprised by how gruesome the body horror got.
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I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review. The opinions are entirely my own, and any quotes are taken from the ARC and may be different in the final published copy.

The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis continues where The Initial Insult ended. It is Saturday, the day after the infamous party at the Allan house. Felicity is missing. Tress is injured. Ribbit wants revenge. The cat is loose.

Tess is still looking for answers. She thought Felicity knew what happened to her parents, but Felicity cannot answer any more of Tess's questions. Ribbit knows the secret Tess wants to know, but he promised his mother not to help Tess. Besides, he is tired of being the butt of everyone's jokes and is ready to get his revenge on them, revenge on all of them.

For at least a year, the Initial Insult was on my "to-be-read" list. To give The Last Laugh an honest review, I read The Initial Insult. Both books grabbed my attention right from the beginning. To fully understand and appreciate The Last Laugh, you need to read The Initial Insult.

The series did not disappoint. The story is full of dark humor. While the characters are not the most likable, they are well-formed and memorable. The novel wraps everything up so there will probably not be a third novel.

McGinnis is now on my author-to-read list.

This 200-word review was published on Philomathinphila.com
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This was a great conclusion to the duology. If you haven't read The Initial Insult, you'll want to read that book first.

These books have so many parts of Edgar Allan Poe's stories. The first book played on the ideas found in The Cask of Amontillado (tricking someone for revenge and then leaving them to be bricked into a wall).  This one is heavy on The Tell-Tale Heart and Fall of the House of Usher. Even the character names are familiar from Poe's different stories and poems.  Annabelle, Lenore, and even Felicity Turnado (who name is based on the character Fortunado from Poe's The Cask of Amontillado).  It's fun for Poe fans to recognize these subtle hints in the story.

This book takes place right after the end The Initial Insult (Book 1). The entire town is looking for Felicity Turnado, who has been missing since the party.  Tress knows where Felicity is, but she doesn't want to admit it to anyone because she doesn't want to be labeled a murderer.  And, what if they find her before Felicity actually dies?  Instead, Tress helps in the search parties for Felicity, knowing that they're not going to find her.

The panther from Tress's grandfather's roadside animal attraction is still on the loose and she knows she can't report this fact without causing a lot of trouble at home (the panther had escaped its enclosure prior to the party in the last book).  The panther took a swipe at her arm, which is now starting to get infected. Tress knows she can't go to a doctor for treatment without folks asking too many questions.  It's just one big mess.

A great book that will keep you reading until the very end.



.
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An amazing sequel! Stories are often reimagined, and Mindy McGinnis does Poe the best way. A great way to get students into the genre!
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More things are sinister and rotting in Amontillado, Ohio beyond the infection ravaging Tess’s injury and the guilt tearing at her mind. So many threats have always surrounded her. More are added as long time betrayals are revealed. Featuring new dueling narrations, and a new animal perspective. Can money salvage the reputations of traditional names tarnished by selfish bad decisions, revenge and cruelty?

Rich and heavy with emotional tension from page 1. Readers who love twisted, small town thrillers full of secrets and hidden dangers will love this conclusion to The Initial Insult #duology. Full of characters who tread the line between victim and villain roughly smudging the boundary as they go about the business of survival. Perfect for readers who enjoy complex, unpredictable characters and fans of Karen McManus. Fans of McGinnis already pre-ordered this newest gem. This is an invitation to those unfamiliar with her work to start right now with the Initial Insult and feast your way through both volumes.  

Thanks to #netgalley @harperkids for the opportunity to preview this title.
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"You can only swallow so much of your own blood before it turns your gut black, tinting everything inside you darkly."

This is one of my favorite duologies and I couldn’t ask for a better conclusion! The Initial Insult was one of my favorite books last year and I will admit, I felt done dirty by the cliffhanger McGinnis left me with but The Last Laugh makes up for it. All is forgiven!

If you’ve read the first book, you’ll know that this series is based in part on Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado and The Fall of the House of Usher – plus a few other references to some of his other works. The Last Laugh picks up immediately after The Initial Insult and the town of Amontillado is in an uproar looking for the missing Felicity Turnado while Tress Montor is barely hanging on by a thread, literally. Ribbit Usher has really done it now, ensuring that Amontillado in all its entirety has seen his humiliating shenanigans. 

The characters are so freaking emotive and I was so invested in them that I was having anxiety as events unfolded. And believe me, there’s an unfolding of motives and events that is so mind blowingly deep and heavy that it’s easy to be taken off guard. Between Tress and Ribbit’s dual narrative, it’s easy to see how the molding of an unstable mind takes place. This is not a book for the faint of heart, there is gore and disgustingness and I loved every single word. 

Will I be recommending this series? Hell. Freaking. Yeah! My thanks to Harper Collins Books for this gifted copy.
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