Author: Hannah Capin
Publisher: Wednesday Books
First Published: 18 February 2020
Rating: 4 stars
“He said, Make your rage fight for you. It’s your greatest gift.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much Meghan Harrington and team at Wednesday Books for sending a copy my way. I am very thankful for be part of this Blog Tour.
Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.
They picked the wrong girl.
Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.
Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.
I’m not normally one for contemporary novels. However, Foul is Fair reminded me of Sarah Henstra’s The Red Word — which I adored —so I was curious to see how to topic would translate to a YA market. This book was dark gritty, all about revenge and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Elle Jade Khanjara and her friends sneak into St. Andrew’s Prep party on her sweet sixteen where she’s drugged and raped by four boys. Elle becomes Jade and she swears to a bloody and unforgiving takedown of those who attacked her. Although her memory is fragmented, Jade and her friends piece together their plan piece by piece. Jade infiltrates St. Andrew’s with one goal in mind; manipulating Mack and have him kill the boys responsible.
I will put a little warning here and say this book isn’t going to be for everyone. Unsurprising, the topic matter is quite dark. The rape and the subsequent revenge killing is the main focus on this story so if you find these topics triggering I would recommend avoiding this one.
Despite the heavy themes, the story isn’t graphic, which is thanks to Hannah Capin’s gothic writing style, which I fell head over heels in love with. The lyrical writing is what kept me hooked and it ties in really well with the Macbeth retelling. The boys who assaulted Jade are contently referred to as a pack of wolves — power-hungry, vicious and unrelenting — while Jade and her friends are eagles — just a ruthless but just and majestic. The imagery throughout is fantastic. It would be interesting to see it adapted for the screen.
Female friendships in books are one of my favourite things to read about. I adored that this was a huge part of the story. Jade has her friends — Mads, Summer and Jenny— with her every step of the way. They support her through the aftermath of the assault and with the planning and executing of Jade’s revenge. The girls fiercely follow Jade’s lead but what I adored is that while they followed and support Jade no questions asked but it did not mean they always agreed with what was happening.
Some times the Macbeth storyline does feel at odds with the prep school setting. But I guess that’s only to be expected since these events had different consequences during Dark Age Scotland compared to modern-day LA.
Also, I found the timeline of events to be slightly off. Mack is head of heels in love with Jade and ready to turn on his childhood friends after a few days. That for me was too quick. I felt like the story would’ve benefitted from a longer time frame, it takes place over three to four week, to develop the pair’s relationship and play into the Lady Macbeth and Macbeth dynamic.
Overall this was a fun, stabby, feminist thriller and I was happy to go along for the ride and see these privilege boys get what they deserved.