Cover Image: Foul is Fair

Foul is Fair

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Member Reviews

I devoured this book. Hannah Capin has written the revenge book I didn’t know I needed, with a fierce coven of mean girls, whom I can’t help but love. (For real squad goals.) The girls have the bond I wanted so badly to see when I watched movies like Jawbreaker or Mean Girls.
Most importantly, in my eyes, Foul is Fair deals with subjects like sexual assault without giving explicit details. Capin saves the pages of words we don’t need to be told, and uses them instead for a delicious plot. There are parts which are hard to read (emotionally), because it’s a hard topic, but it never feels like it’s bern drawn out.
I would feel comfortable recommending this book to someone who has experienced abuse of almost any variety— and I think that is rare for a book which deals with sex and violence and intimidation.

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The Quick Cut: A teen girl seeks revenge from a group of guys who raped her.

A Real Review:
Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

How far would you go for revenge? It's a simple question with far reaching consequences. Depending on how deep the wound is and how impassioned we can be to get back what dignity may have been lost, some will cross any line to take back what is theirs. In this story, that girl willing to take any risk is Elle Jade.

Elle and her friends (who call themselves a coven) find their lives turned upside down when she is raped by a group of boys at a party. Rather than take the usual aftermath routes, Elle cuts her hair, dyes it black, starts going by her middle name Jade, and transfers to the boy's school St. Andrews in order to enact her revenge plot. She's not alone either. Her coven are there every step of the way helping her setup the boys while Jade entraps a boy into murdering the guys for her. Will revenge be sweet or end unexpectedly bitter?

There's dark tales and then there is THIS BOOK. In all seriousness, the story told here takes thing to such a from place that I found a bitter taste in my mouth and a need to read faster to get the uncomfortable experience done sooner. It may be my disposition or possibly the plot holes I found in how elements unraveled, but this one left me unsettled in the wrong kind of way.

Jade gets her revenge in the process of a week and considering how much is done, there would be so many red flags that its unfathomable in real life. I get that in book reading you have to check reality at the door but the level of effort requested here is expansive. It would be easier to do if there was a likable heroine, but even with everything Jade went through at the beginning? I can't say I ever felt sympathy for her due to her sizable ego and generally lacking moral compass.

A fascinating story idea with details that go way too far into dark territories for the YA genre.

My rating: 2 out of 5

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Wow. This book was stunning. Fierce, angry, and unrelenting, Hannah Capin’s lyrical prose absolutely floored me. The protagonist’s voice was unique and captivating — it was like this book demanded to be read. Even though this is a fast-paced page turner, I read this one slowly, wanting to savor every ounce of revenge, every haunting word. And although I haven’t read Macbeth since high school, I really enjoyed the parallels I recognized. I’d recommend putting this high on your preorder list.

Thank you so much NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the early read!

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One thing I really like about this book is that the protagonist, Jade, is unapologetic to the very end. Soon after her assault, Jade vows to avenge herself through the deaths of the boys who were involved and she sticks to that. There are a lot of times in books where the female main character ends up killing for some sort of reason and she's consumed with grief and guilt. While those reactions are completely understandable and oftentimes moving to read, if that had happened with Jade, I would have felt severely disappointed. Instead, she's cunning and sly and unwaveringly determined to make sure they die. She's all jagged edges that are shined so that other characters are fooled into thinking she's just another beautiful girl. Each death is a victory in her eyes and having read what they did to her, I felt so deeply for her that I was rooting for each boy to die with her, boys who otherwise would have gotten off scot-free even if she had pressed charges. Boys with golden reputations and parents and money that would have made sure they never had to answer for their crimes. Boys who would never have thought about what they did again while their victims were left changed.
So yeah, I really enjoyed how ruthless and unapologetic Jade was.

I do have to admit though, that the book oftentimes is a bit over the top (I say after having raved about how I enjoyed reading about each boy's death). I know this is like a Macbeth retelling and it's supposed to be dramatic, but sometimes, it was so dramatic that I couldn't stay engaged. Everything happens almost too easily for Jade and she infiltrates the inner circle of the boys in almost no time. The "coven" at times made me cringe with their awkward dialogue even as I adored this group of girl friends so dedicated to each other, and at the same time, I wished they had played a larger role. The characters curse a lot and listen, I curse too, but for some reason, it just made the dialogue seem really awkward. It was like a caricature of "edgy, real" teenagers.

Overall though, this was a fun, quick read that I'd recommend if you want a book with a strong female character who will do whatever it takes to avenge herself.

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Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin is a fun modern revenge story. I really enjoyed the writing style that made this book feel like you were really in a teenage world. The book starts off with a trigger warning that the main thematic element is sexual assault and I really appreciated both that there is this warning right at the beginning of the book and also that the sexual assault is not depicted. It was a wild ride throughout this book to see how the main character Jade could get her revenge. Although completely unbelievable it makes for a great story and I could easily see this adapted for film. It would be great to see all the visuals brought to life. There are some great outfit looks described in this book. Overall I enjoyed reading this books and would definitely read more by this author.

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I have mixed feelings about this book. It's a "Macbeth retelling", very focused on revenge (other themes (triggers) include rape and suicide). It was *VERY* dark for a YA novel (lots of death --- not too graphic, but LOTS). For me this was less "you go, girl, get that guy back for what he did to you" and more "someone stop this book from making every teen girl who has felt the need for revenge go and kill everyone they know". I did like the writing style --- it was very well written --- but overall, I'd skip this one, and if you have any/know any teen girls..... Probably don't recommend it to them. Yikes.

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I discovered Hannah Capin when she wrote Dead Queens Club, a YA re-imagining of the story of Henry VIII, and honestly, I was kind of mad no one told me about it earlier because it was VERY on brand for me. But I started following her on Twitter and got an e-ARC from NetGalley of her Macbeth-inspired second novel, and wow, it is somehow even better than Dead Queens Club. The writing, the development, the intrigue. I'm amazed and I can't wait for everyone else to read Foul is Fair when it comes out in February 2020.

Macbeth meets #MeToo in this gripping, extremely well written story. After Elle is sexually assaulted by several boys at a St. Andrews Party, she and her "coven" of friends decide to get revenge, Lady Macbeth style. She becomes Jade, she transfers to St. Andrews, befriends the cool kids, and her attackers, and starts taking them out one-by-one with the help of her new boyfriend, Mack. There's murder, there's absolutely haunting language, there's plotting and prep school drama and friends turning against friends and secret texts and wow, this is a STRONG Book. Like, it's there. It's so well written I wanted to carve it into my skin, the message is strong (yasss strong women with plans & goals) and I can't wait for everyone to read it.

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1. I read this book in a day, so it is addictive (but please check out the content warnings!!!!!)
2. I could totally picture this being a movie with the cinematography being a mixture of EUPHORIA and KILL BILL
3. Oof manipulative girls I stan
4. Imagine meeting someone and within five days convincing them to murder their friend. What power.
5. The book has a dry narration style with a lot of flashbacks so if you hate sentence fragments then you’ll probably hate this book
6. Parts of the book were super thrilling and parts were kind of boring. So I teeter between 3.5-4 stars.
7. This book reminded me a bit of HUSHED (guy decided to murder a group of dudes who raped his best friend), only with girl power and full of ride or die friendship. With an MC that comes straight from THE YOUNG ELITES or any Courtney Summers book.
8. We have a really diverse cast: latina transwoman rep, east asian rep, south asian rep, sapphic rep.
9. A good discourse on how through inaction you’re still complicit, misogyny, and to maybe spread out your murders a bit more...

Content Warnings and Trigger Warnings: here are the content/trigger warnings taken directly from Hannah's site:
"the primary thematic material of FOUL IS FAIR centers on 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. for a more detailed description of sensitive content"
I want to add panic attack, hallucinations (lack of sleep), not eating due to stress

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This novel adapts Macbeth as a revenge tragedy set at a California prep school. The putative Lady M and her coven members--three other young women--attend a party held by members of the school's lacrosse team, where the narrator is drugged and raped. Vowing revenge, she changes her appearance and enrolls at their school in order to cause them to kill one another. She succeeds. The novels is extravagant and over-the-top, and has some commonalities with Tracy Chevalier's New Boy, in which she retells the story of Othello in a similarly short timeline and among schoolmates. Foul is Fair works as long as you read it as fantasy and don't expect realism of any kind, which is a bit difficult at times because of the way the author tries hard to situate it in the real world. If you're a fencer, expect to roll your eyes a lot: the fantasy even runs to that. Overall it's a dark romp through Macbeth with a backstory and alternate POV, and might appeal to readers who already know the play well.

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Hannah Capin takes Macbeth and turns into a feminist revenge fantasy. However, I couldn't get over the number of times I had to suspend my belief, which took away from the enjoyment of the book. Everything was happening too quickly for me, even though the deaths also come quickly in Macbeth as well. I didn't like the writing style, either. There was a lot of repetition that I didn't find necessary. There wasn't anything overly wrong with this book, I just didn't get along with it.

Some will love this reimagining of Macbeth but it wasn't for me.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Wednesday Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*

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Elle and her best friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer are the "Queens" who rule, the daughters of wealthy parents of Hancock Park, LA. On Elle's sixteenth birthday, drunk on Vodka and dressed to kill, they crash an Andrew's Prep party which results in the sexual assault of Elle. Afterwards Elle now Jade plots revenge, and ultimately death, for all of those involved. With the help of her friends they will kill them all and set up one of their perfect Golden Boys, Mack, as the killer.

Foul is Fair offers a warning about its sensitive content involving: sexual assault, rape culture, violence and also includes brief content about abusive relationships, a suicide attempt, and transphobic bullying. I will start by saying although all this content is in the story the story is written in almost a poetic prose that almost softens the edge off the harder hitting content. The violence is the only aspect of the book that is really depicted in its full severity. As I started reading this novel I was not sure exactly how I felt about the writing style but it really does fit this novel perfectly. The story is engaging and the characters are all unique, including a few who are very sinister for their ages. This book is about seeking violent revenge against those found guilty with a strong female protagonist who isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty. I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

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I'm not sure where to start with FOUL IS FAIR as it was honestly a mixed bag for me. The beginning was great -- dark and ruthless with a heavy dose of lyrical writing -- but then things sort of went downhill for me.

As much as I love the concept of a group of friends getting revenge on terrible boys, I found the lack of character development kept me from getting particularly attached to the coven's mission. Jade felt very distant as a main character and the three members of her coven -- Jenny, Mads, and Summer -- can easily be reduced into one-sentence descriptions. None of them had the rich interior life that's made other revenge stories, like SADIE and HELLO GIRLS, so enjoyable.

It's only fair to point out that FOUL IS FAIR is based off Shakespeare's MACBETH, which is one of his plays I've yet to read, so I'm unable to say whether it's a great adaptation of the play. It seemed to capture the ambiance I got from the Sparknotes summary (gah, just saying that makes me feel like I've failed every English teacher/professor I ever liked).

This book has a lot of trigger warnings which are described in detail on Hannah Capin's website ( for those who are interested.

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Oh my goodness, this story is crazy, crazy, crazy, dark and wild and I absolutely loved it! At one point it got very dark and violent but I was hypnotized and could not stop reading. Jade and her ‘coven’ are much more than just feisty, they are fighters and survivors. The writing is beautiful, sharp and never wasteful. Jade was sexually assaulted at a party and she and her group, the coven, plan revenge. I could not do justice in revealing more of the plot. This is a wild ride and you will not regret reading about the power these girls have.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Wow. Just wow. This book is so well-written, and it's absolutely marvelous and terrible in all the best ways. I found myself transfixed and utterly enthralled. I was horrified at the things I was reading, but had to keep going.

Let me back up - this is a retelling of MacBeth, and I'm a little embarrassed at how long it took me to figure that out (in my defense, I read it in high school, which was not recent). So if you know anything about MacBeth, you know there's a lot of really messed up stuff going on.

I had a couple of issues. The first was that the book seemed a bit "too" much of everything - things happened too fast (and not in a "gee this is fast-paced" way but in a "why would you react that way to a stranger" kind of way). Jade is too easily accepted by the popular kids, her plans go too smoothly. The writing is too lush, too symbolic. I spent way too much time trying to figure out if Jade and her friends actually possessed magical powers, because some things don't make sense if they don't. Jade's behavior is too over-the-top, and the cool kids are too trusting considering their secrets. I don't know. The writing definitely carried the book for me, because if I stopped to think about what was happening, I started to get annoyed.

The other thing that bothered me is a spoiler, so I'm going to keep it to myself, at least until I read a summary of MacBeth. Overall, this is really well done. If you like books like The Secret History - or, you know MacBeth - you'll love it.

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I received an ARC of this book through Net Galley. This review contains spoilers as my critiques were related to the basic plot of the book.

The story centers around a character Elle/Jade who is raped at a high school party on her sixteenth birthday. One thing I did appreciate about the story was that she is of Indian descent. However, one of the main issues I had with the book was that it seemed unfeasible that the prep school boys who assaulted Elle/Jade's would be unable to tell it was her when she transfers to their school days later. She dyes her hair blonde and wears color contacts during the party, but once she transfers to carry out her revenge, she only dies her hair black and removes her contacts. It seems very unlikely that at what seemed like a predominately white prep school that all the characters would be completely fooled by her previous "style" or look she wore at the party.

The book was easy to read, and I finished it quite quickly, so I felt that the pacing and story were interesting and compelling enough. However, it seemed like it was written to be immediately adapted into a TV or movie, and followed many tropes of the show Pretty Little Liars. In a similar way, the characters acted like adults and did not seem to be written as teenagers at all. I understand the author was going for a "Shakespearean" tale and that many of the plot points would be over the top. The reference to the washing blood off Elle/Jade's hands near the end seemed clunky and uninspired.

All in all, I would not say I particularly recommend the book. It seems like it will soon be adapted to the screen and would work much better in an episodic format. Simply too much happened in a week time frame to seem remotely possible in the real world.

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TRIGGER WARNING - sexual assault, rape culture and attempted suicide

First offffff that BOOOK COVER is AMAZING. I loved this book and the writing style was lovely.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

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I wasn't quite sure what to expect going into this and was more than a little hesitant about reading such a sensitive subject because there is so much room for error. My fears were unfounded, however, because the author tackles these subjects with care and precision. The book was phenomenal -- I was truly blown away by the quality of the storytelling and the new and timely spin on a classic story. Seriously, this book needs to be assigned reading in every high school. Masterfully done.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for allowing me to read an ARC of Foul is Fair.

What a empowering read!! The dramatic story tells of 16 year old being raped (no details) and getting her revenge! Yes, the actions were over the top BUT they deserved it! This story grabbed me from the beginning and kept me reading to the end.

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Foul Is Fair is an intense, angry, dark, and vengeful book. And damn is it good. Capin writes the story of a girl who experiences sexual assault, but rather than identify as a victim or survivor, she becomes an avenger. Jade is powerful and angry, and with the help of her coven she plots a way to make her attackers pay.

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I went into this book having read this author's first book. I enjoyed that one enough to see what her next was about. Foul Is Fair is a retelling of Macbeth which is one of my favorite plays. Unfortunately, this book lacked in a lot of areas for me and I found myself having a hard time getting through it.

The one major issue I had was the time span for the relationship between Elle and Mack. In the original, Lady Macbeth is married to Macbeth and so it's easier to understand why he was so quick to listen to her. For this one, he didn't even question anything. He just did everything without even knowing her for that long. I understand that this is high school kids but I still needed it to be more believable than it was.

The first issue then brings me to my next. I didn't like the characters. A lot of them were flat and I just didn't care about them. There was no connection and that is what I look for when reading.

The plot is centered around revenge from a rape that happened at a party. It is great the author took this topic on when it happens more than we want to think. The way it was executed just wasn't for me.

Overall, I didn't like it. It was hard to get through and neither the plot or characters could save it for me. I am sure that others will find this book to be intriguing.

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