Mar 14, 2022

Review--The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis


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.

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?


Mindy McGinnis at last bring us the exciting conclusion to The Initial Insult with The Last Laugh! Picking up where we left off, the story is a whirlwind of action as there's a clock counting down the minutes to the inevitable, as to what that is, well, time will only tell! This time around we get Tress and Ribbit's point of view, as well as the poetic style of Rue, the orangutan in her family zoo.

Tress is racked with guilt over what she did to Felicity. All Tress wanted to know what the truth behind her parents' disappearance, but Felicity took that secret with her to the grave. The next day after the party, Tress' carefree cousin, Ribbit has become internet famous with his drunken truth telling. Though, as we learn through his perspective, he's a bit sore over Tress "abandoning" him at the party where he ended up drinking too much and talking too much. In fact, we learn that Ribbit is not as carefree as we were led to believe. He's down right insidious.

A lot of truths come out in this story and Ribbit's secrets are far darker than anyone else's. Throughout the first book we saw little hints and nods to a possible theory that involved Tress and her parents' disappearance. The truth is revealed far sooner than anticipated, or at least the glimmers of the truth and the darker promise that Ribbit made as a child.

To be honest, Ribbit's chapters were some of the most disturbing ones to read. Granted, it's to be expected after you start to know his character, but the severity of his mental's positively bone-chilling! Which honestly makes for fantastic horror reading, but it still leaves you with a slightly bad taste in your mouth!

A ticking clock hangs over Tress' head and she doesn't even know it yet. Too much focus is being put onto the mess that was made with her hands. The whole town is rushing to find Felicity. Search parties are scouring the woods and other parts of town. Her friends show their true colors and not all were pleasing. Tress is dealing with an injured arm from the panther attacking her, it continues to grow worse by the day. All the while, guilt continues to knock at her...and she constantly hears the slow, thumping, of a beating heart! Yes friends, we get a bit of the classic Tell Tale Heart in this story! 

I positively loved that McGinnis continued the Poe-esque storytelling in this one! The chapters from Rue also remained poetic in essence and gave you that kind of Poe like mentality where you are trying to piece together the puzzle that Rue is describing.

The mysteries and chilling secrets continue in this one! While the larger part of what happened to Tress' parents is revealed, so are a few other secrets revolving around them and the end results were startling. I was honestly blown away by a few end results towards the end of this one. Fate can be a nasty b with an itch and McGinnis pulls no punches in this one.

The ending itself was the most shocking! I suspected a part of the resolution based on the hints but a few of the followup happenstances were a complete surprise! I felt like McGinnis took the right and realistic route with this one. While things may not have been 100% pleasant, they felt right, and real to the story. I'd like to say the ending was satisfying, and in some sense it was, but I also would not have minded a little bit more detail. But I guess in the end, it's okay that there wasn't enough detail. We have enough resolution to the questions proposed.

The Last Laugh is the epic conclusion to Mindy McGinnis' latest duology! This is a series you're going to want to binge read for chill factor alone! The story was tense and ripe with suspicion. The pacing was ideal, it wasn't quite what you'd call fast, but it wasn't overly slow either. It teases you piece by piece with the puzzle at hand and just as you think you have the picture formed, be prepared for a tailspin! This story will keep you guessing until the very end and it was glorious!


Overall Rating 5/5 stars






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