Cover Image: Foul is Fair

Foul is Fair

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Member Reviews

This sadly was a DNF for me. I'm all here for a revenge fantasy, but unfortunately the writing style for this just wasn't for me right now.
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I picked up this book because I heard some amazing things about it, but I didn't know any particulars.  I did enjoy reading this book.  I felt that it was a creative retelling of McBeth.  I am also a fan of vengeance books.  

The trigger warning that was offered is very helpful especially with some of the themes that this book hits on.  The writing style was fantastic along with the retelling. 

I would recommend this book to everyone and request to read it in my YA book club
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Hannah is great at giving you the creepy Vibes and making you question everything. I love all of Hannah Work and always look forward to her next book. I will always recommend her work and read it. This book is so creepy good it gives me the chills. I also think Hannah did a great job at creating this plot and bringing in these characters.
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I enjoyed Foul Is Fair's spitfire writing, action-packed plot, and overall general premise. The idea of a feminist, Macbeth retelling featuring an awesome girl gang and and a revenge plot? WOW. This book hooks into you and never lets you go, making it an incredibly quick and fun read that has you at the edge of your seat.
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I apologize - I emailed the marketing firm that sent me this book, but neglected to include my review here as well. I did not personally enjoy this Macbeth retelling, and was unable to finish it. I am sure that many people really liked it, but I just couldn't seem to really dive into the story.
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A modern day retelling of MacBeth. Think The Heathers meets Mean Girls but with extra Murdery vibes. Beautifully written. Paints a vivid picture. I found multiple color themes running throughout. 

TW: rape and ptsd from that rape.
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Woooow that was a wild ride! Set at a rich L.A. prep school, where Jade and her coven are on the warpath after a horrible sexual assault at a party, Foul Is Fair is a glittering and gory retelling of Shakespeare's MacBeth (if MacBeth and Lady MacB were J.D. and Veronica from Heathers, and the Three Witches were the girls from The Craft). Capin's writing is fabulous, sparing no detail, perfectly capturing the descent into madness - Jade's, Mack's, and the pack's - and makes you root for every moment of terrible revenge. 

This is the second Hannah Capin book I've read (the first was The Dead Queen's Club), and both were hands-down 5 stars. Guess I have a new author to add to my short "read every last word they write" list.
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I wanted to love this book, I really did. For months I’ve been stewing over the words. But in a culture increasing in rape, murder and suicide, this book took shocking to a whole new extreme. 

I was so embarrassed I couldn’t tell or recommend this book. Honestly, I decided that I wouldn’t finish this book but I. Stuck it out and it wasn’t worth it.

This book idolizes suicide, rape and bullying.
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Right from the synopsis I knew this was definitely going to be a book for me. I remember being in thralled right from the first chapter. This whole book revolves around revenge, and it was so well written that I actually felt like the revenge is warranted. That’s not normally like me, but I do love reading a good revenge plot.

Elle is one of the most determined characters I’ve ever read. She manages to do everything that she does with an air of superiority surrounding her. The simple fact that she switch schools and these boys had no idea it was her was just the icing on the cake. She may definitely be one of my all-time favorite characters.

If you are looking for a good revenge plot buck with a feminist take, this is definitely the book for you. I found that I had a hard time putting this book down because I needed to know if it was going to end the way I wanted it to. I was a huge fan of this book and would recommend it to absolutely everyone.
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Atmospheric, stunning, mysterious.  I loved these strong, morally grey girls.  Foul is Fair tackled heavy themes and had me hooked the whole way through.   
*Content warnings for sexual assault and violence.

(Will update with a link to my Bookstagram when it is live)
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Full disclosure, Foul is Fair is not for the feint of heart. It is intense, gritty, dark, explorative in its storytelling, and it tells the tale of so many women through the ages. But Jade refuses to be just another one of those women, violated by men—or more aptly, boys who like to think they are men as they hide behind their parents’ status and wealth. Jade may have been bested in a single instance, incapacitated by a date-rape drug on her sixteenth birthday, taken to a room by certain players of the St. Andrew’s Prep lacrosse team, a room that flashes bright white and surreal in her mind again and again throughout the novel, haunting her despite her every effort to remain strong in the after of her trauma. And she does remain strong despite those flashbacks; they serve as reminders to her of what those golden boys did, her purpose in pursuing them, and ultimately besting them at their own game. But she isn’t a victim or a survivor, labels that a counselor tries to pin on her.
“Why do you need a word for it?” I ask, all mocking uncertainty.
“I don’t—I don’t know.” She’s grasping and too nervous. “What do you mean?”
​My smile is lethal. “I mean those boys didn’t turn me into anything I wasn’t before.”
​She is power. She is focused. She is wronged but not wallowing in the past trauma. And she has chosen vengeance as her course of action, one that leads her to transfer to St. Andrew’s Prep, into the thick of the lacrosse team’s complicated and dynamic fellowship. No, she isn’t a victim or a survivor—she’s a wolf in sheep’s skin, retribution singing in her blood and justice at her lips.
​This book is as if Shakespeare’s Macbeth was remade in a collaboration between the creators of the Cruel Intentions, Mean Girls, and the Kill Bill movies. It is fast, quick, cruel, calculating, and nothing like I’ve seen in YA before. It was jarring to pick up the story and begin, because Capin does not hold back for a second. The assault happens right out the gate, and the writing breathes with Jade’s mix of angry strength and the trauma that fights to bring her down. In the immediate aftermath, within hours of the assault, her internal dialogue says, “I’m not crying. I don’t fucking cry,” and she begins the process of reclaiming who she is, the girl she was before that night began: she removes her jade-colored contacts; she dies her hair back to black (bleached blonde for her sixteenth birthday and the party she and her friends crashed); she cuts her hair short using a knife from her sister’s wedding silver (from a marriage that ended and left her sister miserable); and she trims her broken nails (mangled during the assault) and has them redone shortly thereafter. But even more importantly, aside from the physical transformation, is her choice to now go by her middle name Jade instead of Elle, the nickname for her given name Elizabeth. The physical transformation allows her to step back into who she was beforehand, but changing her name is the first significant indicator that Jade isn’t as okay as the cold and controlled appearance she puts on. She acts as if she is simply resetting herself to a time before, but she is doing so much more than that—she is creating a new identity, one that she can craft into whatever she wants, one that she can use to seek her revenge. 
​However, Capin is brilliant in how she balances Jade’s newly crafted identity with the trauma she is trying to tamp down, slipping through when she is most vulnerable, and Capin specifically has those who most intimately know Jade as participants in these moments where the effects of the trauma peek through. Jade prepares a bath for herself one evening when she lets herself mourn the loss of her hair from the before and her mother silently joins her, and without a single bit of dialogue we see the love and care in every motion as her mother runs her fingers through Jade’s hair. Even as her mother sees the bruising on Jade’s neck for the first time.
—and my hands come up out of the water so fired-red I can feel it all the way to the bone.
​My fingers find hers over the dark blue spots that mark my skin.
Capin does what I love most, and it packs such a punch that I couldn’t put the book down: she shows us. She lets the characters’ actions speak for them, because no matter how much Jade says she is fine, that Jade internally and externally claims she is strong, she is a young woman who has experienced violence that wounds deeply, far deeper than the skin, and Jade’s actions tell the truth of how she really is.

​As a revenge fantasy novel where a wronged woman shows her male attackers that she won’t stay down, I enjoyed the inclusion of a male character who contrasted with the boys who violated her and stood as her equal. Mack—Jade’s ticket into the St. Andrew’s Prep lacrosse team dynamics—may be another jock, friends of those who violated her, but he is set far apart from them. He isn’t part of the inner circle at first, unaware of what they do to young women at parties, and when he does eventually find out, his actions show his shock and disgust. Then when one of the inner circle refuses to call her by her name, Mack refuses to allow him to continue dehumanizing her.
“Jade,” Mack says again, half-turning toward me. “Her name I Jade.”
“Jade,” says Duffy. It catches in his throat: half in scorn and half in fear.
“She’s not a damn prize. She chose me.”
The presence of a young man who refuses to remain complicit in the subtle and blatant injustices toward female characters is refreshing and what I want to see more of this in books.

​I give Foul is Fair 4.5 out of 5 stars for the amazing storytelling that hits you right in the gut with all its grit. And there is a lot of grit in these pages, mixed with a frankness we need in books to help unveil and combat toxic masculinity and violence against women. Change isn't made by those who keep hush-hush and keep to the status quo. Be loud like this book. Be daring like Jade, because it is her--your--right to exist in a world where you are safe, where you don't have to worry about unknowingly consuming a date-rape drug at a party, where women don't have to reinvent themselves to get away from trauma. Where women aren't targeted and violated at the whim of men around them, men who get away with this disgusting behavior because those women "were asking for it." No one asks for this. No amount of makeup or exposed skin asks this.

The only reason I deducted half a star from my rating is because there were a few times where the formatting of the writing didn't work for me, and that format persisted throughout the entirety of the novel. I believe the intent was to jar the reader, just as much as rape is a jarring experience that alters a person's entire perspective. While I can understand that reasoning, if that was Capin's intent, it just didn't work for me the entire time. This is 100% a personal preference and I know there may be individuals who are completely unfazed by this formatting choice. Don't let this one aspect I didn't like dissuade you from picking this book up. It is well worth your time for all the other reasons I explained above, and more.
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"Revenge is a dish best served cold."

Annnnd that's what you're getting with this one folks. It's very cold and calculating. The level of violence we're seeing is just sociopathic really. Personally, I am not a vengeful person, so perhaps that's why this one just didn't work for me. Or, maybe it's the fact that this is all storyline and no character development. By that, I mean we're just taken through the motions, the story continues to unfold, but there are very little opportunities to connect to our protagonist. 

This is definitely not something I could, in good faith, recommend to a teenager, someone of the age of these characters (16). The teenage mind is a fragile thing. There are far greater novels out there on the subject matter of teenage rape, and the actions that follow.
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An ARC of Fair is Foul by Hannah Capin was given to me thru Netgalley for an honest review.  Right now all I can say is,wow. Fair is Foul read is not for everyone, but for me, I truly enjoyed, loved and cheered with it. Some people may loathe Jade, mads, Jenny, and Summer, but me, I can understand t heir anger, their pain, their betrayal, and their bond stronger than friends.  
  I loved Hannah Capin's writing, the way she used wolves to describe the "never do wrong" of some of the lacrosse players,and continued with it thru out the story.  Hannah Capin describing the girls who follow the pack as a flock.
  Another reason why I admired Fair is Foul, her descriptive and powerful writing.I was pulled in to this from the very first page of this unique story. My true feelings of this story is I loved it, I loved how she wrote about the coven, the way Hannah described Elle(Jade), Mads, Jenny, Summer and other friends that come along the way. Hannah weaves about privileged teen-boys, the girls who protect them willingly and unwillingly, and what they (think) can get away with. 
 The wolves within the pack chase the wrong the young lady that Friday night.Yes, she was brutally assaulted that night, but with furious, loyal sisters by choice, and standing beside Jade, she wanted them to pay. Pay they did.
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I’m bad about procrastinating on reviews and this one...well it’s a tricky one. Not only does it focus on very sensitive material, as quoted from the email I received “sexual assault (not depicted), rape culture, and violence. Additionally, the book includes an abusive relationship, a suicide attempt, and a brief scene with transphobic bullying”, but it also takes any and all painful emotions tied to those things and I guess attempts to offer a cathartic revenge fantasy? 

I’m not an authority on this subject. I’ll defer to anyone that might be. Anyway. 

When I started this book I read it constantly. I pretty much read all 39% in two or three lunch breaks. I was definitely drawn into the story. I’ll even go so far as to say I found some of the characters like able. Also when I squinted really hard I could see the comparisons to Macbeth but other than that this book left me confused, upset, definitely angry, and a little sad that this is potentially the gold standard for young adult literature these days. I find that I’m even angrier if this is the sort of thing that we pass off as a good feminist book as well. I read a decent amount of contemporary YA in my days as a teen and well into my college years and as far as I’m concerned this book was not only NOT worth finishing I regret that it made it out into the open to further degrade what we accept as good YA literature these days. Or even just good literature. 

- @LetRachelRead❤️

To the author: you write quite well. I enjoyed your writing style and I think your character building could be used for better stories than this. I’m glad you have accomplished so much. If you get another chance I’ll most likely look into that as well.  - Rachel
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I was able to read this book thanks to NetGalley. It was a quick fun and entertaining read! I really enjoyed it and I will be recommending it to friends and family l. Thanks again to NetGalley
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Foul is Fair is AMAZING and gripping and Hannah Capin has my full attention. 

First, BIG THANK YOU to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for providing me a copy of the ARC to read and review. 
Second, trigger warnings galore!!  Sexual assault, violence, and a handful of others. I’m not triggered by a lot and this book shook me.  
On to the review~ 

It takes a lot for a book to grip me from the first few pages. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve read a lot of books, or 50. 
This book GRABBED ME. I’m talking less than 10% in and I was hooked fully. I realize I need to give you more information for my review but I just needed to express how amazing the hook for this novel is from the get go. #iamallin

Foul is Fair is book one in a series. I’m not sure how many books there will be, as I have no further information right now, but I NEED MORE. That’s all I can tell you. 

This novel follows the story Elle. A girl who is targeted by a group of boys at a party and let me just say, they chose the wrong freaking woman for that. Elle transforms herself into a new person, Jade, and these poor boys are not prepared for what they unleashed. 

  “I am the exactly wrong way to be a victim” – Foul is Fair, Hannah Capin
Note, this novel is also a retelling of Macbeth, so that intensity ports right over and into this plot and environment.

To try and pick a favorite out of the main crew is hard. All of them have a specific brand and role that adds to this story. Each of the characters in this book is integral really. It’s weird to say, but this story has no ‘small parts’ and each chapter is important. 

The focus of this book is, revenge, which was probably obvious…. However, I have never had a story explain it so well. I felt the drive, the anger, and the chaos. Each step further, the reader is there for it and dragged with the current. The plot pulls you and leads you. 

The writing is amazing. At no point was I tempted to stop reading. Even the ending wasn’t so much as a closure as a “what did I just read and oh my goodness”. 

I realize what I wrote above is a lot, but I’m that shocked. I’m still shook by this book even after it ended and I still think about it. 
So for a more concise summary. Foul is Fair is a book of intensity and thriller. A novel that articulates vengeance and how it whips a person into chaos and tumbles into tragedy. 

If you enjoy dark horror, or dark action, I would recommend this book. Also if you enjoy classics and retellings, this book is for you! I hope it grabs you by the heart and pulls you right into the telling. 

Happy Reading
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TWs: Please be aware that this book is about rape and the trauma of sexual assault, and that it's going to be mentioned in my review. Please make sure to read a full list of warnings before you read this book. You can find them here:  

I love this book so much that I really don't have the right words to describe it. Foul is Fair is the vicious, merciless revenge book of my dreams, and I loved every second and every line in it. It's a retelling of Macbeth, and it keeps the heart of the story while giving it a fresh, feminist take.

Foul is Fair is told from the perspective of Jade, who plays the role of Lady Macbeth in this retelling, as she seeks revenge on the boys who sexually assaulted her at a party. I hadn't realized that this was a Macbeth retelling when I picked it up, I hadn't actually seen anyone say it was, so I had just assumed the title had borrowed the famous Shakespearean line until I was a few chapters in, which was a fun surprise. I liked the plot of Macbeth, but found myself really frustrated with it's execution and how it blamed the women in the story for Macbeth's downfall. In contrast, Foul is Fair lets Lady Macbeth and the Weird Sisters take their share of the blame, without subverting their roles in the story. The women are the ones running the show, and the golden boys from St. Andrew's are just along for the brief ride, before they get what they deserve.

I adored Jade. She was angry and cunning, while still being vulnerable and loyal. I loved her relationships with the rest of her "coven": Jenny, Summer and Mads. The four girls had an unbreakable bond, they had each other's back no matter what and did literally anything for each other. I appreciated that they were all just as vicious as Jade too, rather than trying to use them to offset her sharp edges, Capin had them support her by being just as ruthless.

Capin wrote Foul is Fair in an unusual manner. There are jagged, broken sentences framed by em dashes, and macabre descriptions of almost anything, like the sky. She really captures not only the anger Jade has at the world and the boys who assaulted her, but her pain and loss. Jade isn't the type of character to dwell on her pain, and by painting more gruesome imagery it conveys her actual feelings, and helps to maintain the dark atmosphere of the original Macbeth. I really liked how the sexual assault was handled, it was actively on Jade's mind, rather than something to be ignored until it was needed. Not having the assault written out explicitly in it's own chapter was an excellent choice too, in my opinion. It was a good reminder that Jade was the one controlling the rest of the situations while her avoidance of remembering everything played a key role in showing the reader her personality.

If you're looking for a book with a shamelessly angry woman as the main character, a retelling of Macbeth or something to replace what you thought Promising Young Woman, this is the book for you. It's beautifully written and is such an excellent take on a rape survivor's story. As I stated at the beginning, just please remember to look up trigger warnings before you read. I believe the finished copy has a warning at the front, before the story begins, and you can find a detailed version from the author, linked at the start of my review.
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Thanks @netgalley for the gifted ebook! // Hey there everyone. I'm honestly just out of things to say today. I've got nothing clever to write. The world is a mess right now and my brain is too full with the news of it all. I'm trying to make a dent in my netgalley reads so I can atleast feel like I'm accomplishing something and to keep my mind occupied. I was excited for Foul is Fair but I don't think I was in the right headspace to read it right now. It's a YA feminist revenge tale that I would normally be super into but the story felt so unbelievable and it just kept getting more and more unrealistic as it went on. It was an okay book so I gave it three stars but it's not a book I would necessarily recommend. -- ♡M.


SYNOPSIS: 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.

#deweyrating: ⭐⭐⭐
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This was an absolutely fascinating read. At first I wasnt sure I liked it as the prose was a bit too much for me, too sharp, too scissoring. But this was actually incredible. I finished it and I was like "Holy shit!"

I absolutely adore novels about revenge. They make me so happy because they're entirely opposite to me as a person and I admired Jade's tenacity. To go through what she went through and to then basically plot the downfall/death of seven people was pretty awe-inspiring to say the least.

I loved every page of this. I probably wouldnt read it again, but it was magnificent. So clever and biting. So unapologetic about what it was. Foul is Fair will likely be a marmite book but I absolutely devoured it. Bravo Hannah Capin, bravo!
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Very dark book, but you will definitely be rooting for the "bad girls!" After Jade is assaulted at a party, she and her friends get revenge on the boys who did it. The writing and plot are phenomenal and I couldn't put it down..
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