Cover Image: Foul is Fair

Foul is Fair

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Member Reviews

I was provided this novel (as an advanced reader copy) by NetGalley. All views expressed in this review are my own.

I want to preface this review by telling you to look up the author's content warnings for this book; please read them if you are considering reading this book, as there are many triggering elements (some of which I have discussed in my review below). I commend Hannah Capin for being so thorough with her list and explanations, along with chapter titles, to ensure everyone has a safe time reading her book. They're available here:

I dnf'd this book at 5%, and believe me that is more shocking to me than it is to anyone reading this review. When I first heard about this book (before I had read the synopsis), I was so excited to read it. I love Shakespeare, and the idea of a Lady Macbeth/Weird Sisters-centric retelling of my favorite play (with an apt title) seemed like something I needed in my life. When I did see the synopsis, my feelings changed slightly; revenge fantasy isn't really my style, but I was still willing to give this a shot (especially because I had received an ARC of it).

To start, I do not like Hannah Capin's writing style in this book. It was very clearly stylized and supposed to be a sort of jarring thing (at least that was my understanding), but it came off as somewhat unedited and unwanted. I'm as much of a fan of repetition and parallelism as the next girl, but people just...don't talk like that. Clearly, this coven of women (which was quite diverse in the characters it hosted) was supposed to fulfill a "not like other girls" cliche that I couldn't get behind. The characters were written as just too much, and not in a good way. They're the girls who think "Bad Guys" by Billie Eilish is written about them.

I adore Shakespeare's works, and especially "Macbeth". It is my favorite play. I am always down with people having their own interpretations for scenes and characters in Shakespeare's plays, but I felt incredibly let down by this retelling. The MC is supposed to be based off of Lady Macbeth, but is done so in a way that felt that the author had read the play for the first time in high school while learning what feminism was (aka when I first read it), had seen Lady Macbeth as a badass with absolutely no personality, and then rewrote this MC as the most dumbed-down version of Lady M that I've ever seen. I don't mean that she's dumb, but the rest of her character and history is ignored in order to make this book edgy.

This book is edgy for edginess' sake, which is one of my pet peeves in books. Yes, it does deal with some heavy and true topics such as rape culture, but these girls are just so cringey it does not come across well. As for the rape culture, if you did not click on the link for content warnings above, please do so! The MC in this book is raped offscreen in between the first two chapters, and it is referenced many many times in flashbacks. This is the cause for the entire rest of the book. Even though the rape is not seen on page, the flashbacks are incredibly triggering and were the main reason that I had to put the book down so early.

I wanted to love this book, but was unable to get that far into it due to how triggering the content matter is. I knew going into it that this was an issue, and was willing to look past my other complaints with this book because I wanted to see what happened; ultimately, I could not do it and that's okay. Beyond that, this just wasn't the book for me unfortunately, and no one is more disappointed about that than me.

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"I don't lie when it matters."

Foul is Fair offers a cunning and enormously satisfying avenging story that centers a strong bond between friends, and how far they're willing to go for one another. This novel contains themes of sexual violence and murder, yet delineates itself from works exploring similar themes through it's stunningly-crafted language and the direction in which it leads.

Foul is Fair depicts a bond between friends that is strong, yet also tender and compassionate; the ultimate friend squad (with a dash of LGBTQ+ tension between some particularly close friends). The story offers a gratifying reaction to a brutal experience of violence, without insinuating that any less, er, progressive (read: murderous) reaction would be wrong or weak. Each and every response to an experience of sexual violence is valid, and there was nothing within this book to insinuate that either the author or its characters believe otherwise.

Despite what may initially appear to be a straightforward plot, there's added complexity nonetheless dotted throughout as Elle's avenging vision forward is disrupted by murkiness and instances of raw pain that accompany experiences of trauma. Will she trust her friends to stay by her? Can she trust them? Can she trust herself?

If you're disgusted by the continued relevance of #MeToo and frustrated with how sexual harassment, assault, and rape continue to be handled on a systemic level, Foul is Fair delivers on satisfaction. For a story that contains so much malice and disdain, there's also a lot of love...and a lot ~to~ love.

Grateful to the publisher & NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.

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5 out 5 Stars!! Thank you Netgalley for this fantastic ARC!

Wow! This book was just fantastic...full of scary, thrilling,intense and gripping storyline. I couldn't put this down!

It follows teenager Elle and her three friends through a harrowing experience happening at a Prep school party one night, and how the girls continue on afterwards.
I really don't know how to sum up this story without spoiling it but who's this is a must read.
The authors writing is very beautiful and poetic. I look forward to continuing with this series!

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<i>Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Foul is Fair was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</i>

Let me just scream this: Do you like Euphoria by HBO? If so, THIS IS FOR YOU. Truly, in my mind this is Thoroughbreds x Euphoria because of the elements woven throughout. i.e. teens & difficult subjects being discussed in the most honest way possible... with a few dashes of murder here and there

I can't stress how much this needs to be adapted like...<b>now</b>. I'm sorry but I dream casted Hunter Schafer to play Mads? It just makes so much sense!

I am utterly blown away with this entire book. The writing is visceral. It cuts you into tiny pieces and pieces it all back together by giving a stunning and flowing perspective from Jade.

My favorite part: It went from <i>You picked the wrong girl.</i> to <i>You picked the right girl.</i>. Those lines were so powerful and just mind altering to me. Yet they were so simple.

It did end how I expected it, but the events leading up to it were unexpected and twisty. I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect. I really can't see what Miss Capin will write next, this debut deserves major attention!

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Wow, I LOVED this book. I was so excited to receive a copy after really enjoying Capin's debut, The Dead Queen's Club. Foul is Fair is quite different, but just as much of a page turner and so, so well-written. This is the angry revenge novel that I - and probably a lot of girls/women - need nowadays. There is a lot of depth to it and profound prose, but it stays very readable. I'm also quite impressed with it as a modern day twist on MacBeth - super cleverly done. I look forward to whatever Capin writes next!

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THIS BOOK. This is a book I was waiting for. Jade is a girl I’ve always wanted to read. There is a terrifying beauty, a reckless fury, and a deafening truth pouring free from this book. This is a miracle of a novel. Blood and haunting prose will stain your hands as you read it. Someone give the girl a Printz.

P.s I’m ready to join your coven,

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Definitely a top read! Super awesome story and characters and that ending OMG! Some will cry (be warned) it’s a bit heartbreaking at the end but still so good. I loved how Jade (Elle) was so strong. What happened to her was definitely traumatic and yet she decided not to be a victim or to let what happened to her bring her down. The things she did were so bad but also perfectly done. Her friends are the best, I loved them all! And Mack, oh Mack! I fell in love :’(
This is one I’ll recommend for sure!

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The best way to describe this is that it’s Heathers by way of Shakespeare. Once you start to view it as satire and just accept that it’s gonna get weird, it’s a darn good book.

Elle is raped by several boys at a party and vows revenge. She reinvents herself as Jade, transfers to the boys’ school, and bodies start dropping.

This book plays with the theory that Lady Macbeth is a witch (in addition to the three witches who give Macbeth his prophecy), as Jade enlists her three best friends to help her complete her mission.

It’s interesting to see how the author translated the events of Shakesoeare’s text to a modern setting, and it’s pretty effective.

I enjoyed this book.

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This book sounded like it was going to be good from the description. Elle, Mads, Summer and Jenny are a close group of friends. I sit between a three star rating and four star rating. When they decide to go to this party with people who attend this private school called St. Andrews it isn't all what is imagined. Something tragic happens that night and Elle has sworn to get revenge. This book got to me because I can't imagine this happening to a girl, but yet it does. You don't hear about it often but it does happen. Now there were some things that bothered me with the book because I felt that Elle should have told her parents right away and they should have done something. Instead her parents were just like okay whatever you want dear. You want to transfer okay, you don't want to talk to the cops okay. I am not sure what parents are truly like that, because being a parent myself to a girl I would have come unglued....There were other weird things that went on such as things that were said or done that had me scratching my head. Like you meet a boy (which wasn't by chance) and some how within a week have him eating out of your hand and murdering his people? Like dang girl you must be a witch. That is the only thing I can think of. She also befriends the girls of the school pretty quickly. Enough to where they filled okay with telling her some things. I did feel like at times this was a bit poetic on how Ellie felt and did. Which was pretty neat to have in a book. I don't think I have read something like that before. The first murder that takes place I felt was very well done. There was some thinking going on that one, but then the rest of the others it just felt sloppy and not unique. It was just like a real rush job.

There was one part "Mack says Jade but we leave him bleeding on the ground." I want to know how is he bleeding? I kept going back and rereading but I couldn't figure it out. So if anyone knows please me know. Overall the story line was great, I couldn't put this book down as it was hard to. This is a revenge like no other.

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I just finished this story and my head is still spinning with the suspense of all that I have read! It should be noted that I have already mentioned this to several others that I know will devour it and they are now anxiously awaiting its release! Jade is such a dark and twisted character but I found myself haunted by her pain and quest for vengeance. The tremendous bond she has with her “coven” and the lengths they will go to for her on the quest for revenge is the sustaining lifeblood of this incredible story! Through each chapter, I found myself talking out loud to no one in particular to try and process all that was happening! To me, this is the hallmark of a story that keeps me on the edge of my seat. This story is one I will recommend continually because I believe the power of the plot and character interactions will make it memorable to future readers. It is extremely thought provoking and haunting in its own light. Highly recommend!

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It's basically a feminist Macbeth. What isn't there to love? It's a quick read but full of interesting details and prose. Very timely subject matter in a very readable form.

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I am ALWAYS all in for a Shakespeare retelling, and when it’s based on Macbeth?! Well, that makes it even better!

Foul is Fair DID NOT disappoint, holy shit this was fantastic! I couldn’t put it down and I didn’t want it to end. Loved everything about this from the setting to the writing and everything else in between. It was pretty badass.


I received an advanced copy from NetGalley and St. Martin’s in exchange for an honest review.

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The writing style is absolutely amazing. This is a book that I kept thinking about long after I finished it.

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Book: Foul Is Fair
Author: Hannah Capin
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Wednesday Books, for being so kind as to think of me by sending me this ARC. I was sent this ARC because I loved Sadie by Country Summer. I must say that this was very much like Sadie and I enjoyed it just as much.

Now, if you are looking for a revenge book, then this is for you. Jade and her friends go to this party, where Jade is raped by the golden boys of St. Andrews. Rather than let this define her-okay, she kind of does-she decides to get revenge on the boys. This is the part that gets kind of ugly. Think of it being Pretty Little Liars where your main character is the A Team. Yeah, that’s what we’ve got going on here.

Jade is one of those main characters who is going to stand out in the YA world. She’s strong, fierce, and deadly. She doesn’t let anyone mess with her. Not only that, but she can get people to do whatever she wants. Look at her coven and Mack….They will do anything for her, even if it means ruining their lives.

The golden boys of St. Andrews think they are untouchable and can get away with anything. Sadly, this is true with so many boys who have been put on a pedestal because they are good at sports. They drug a girl, Jade, and rape her. What’s most sickening is they think it’s okay. Plus, if Jade had reported them, they would have just batted their eyes and everything would had been okay. This happen in real life. So, Jade takes care of the problem and gets her revenge.

This entire book is action packed and violent until the end. I love how Hannah brings Jade’s pain to life and how we do feel sorry for her. I love that even though Jade is the victim, we get to see her gain so much strength through what has happened to her. If this was to actually happen in real life, I think boys would think twice before they take advantage of a girl.

This book does have a lot of trigger warnings: rape, drugs, drinking, murder…Just to name a few. Therefore, I do not recommend this book to younger teens or people who are sensitive to this content. This is a very important book to read and to have a discussion about with teens. There’s not enough out there on the subject of rape that doesn’t glorify it.

This book comes out on February 4, 2020. So, yeah, it’s a little bit away.

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Foul Is Fair is a psychological thriller that will keep you guessing every step of the way. The main character...Jade and her coven of girls are truly diabolical. The prep school boys from St. Andrew's never fully understand what hit them. After committing a horrific crime against Jade they must cope with the oncoming terror she has in store for them. Jade and the coven give all new meaning to to revenge. Happy reading if you dare!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of Foul is Fair, in exchange for my honest review.

!!TRIGGER WARNING!! - sexual assault, rape, suicide.

Four is Fair is a Macbeth retelling set in a high school, but 10 fold! This book is fast-paced and gripping, like reading the murderer's POV, and you're rooting for her! Jade is fierce, and her story will stay with readers for a long time.

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Wow! This book is a female Macbeth and I find it very well done. The emotional and physical effects of being sexually assaulted are described/portrayed but the actual assault is not. No one should ever have to go through that. The characters I really enjoyed, the protagonist was amazing and not white! The diversity was refreshing and the author chose the perfect setting for the story.

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Just, wow. I didn't know I had been waiting for a book like this. Immediately grabbing your attention, go ahead and plan a solid reading session once you begin FOUL IS FAIR, because you're not going to want to stop. The language is beautiful, and the characters (dark as they are), are a breath of fresh air in YA. I have to imagine this manuscript will get adapted to screen and can't wait to see these characters come to life (even though they are already bursting off the page). Extra points for diversity (which is seamlessly integrated), and an unflinching group of young women.

Based on this book, I would gladly pick up any future novel by the author.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of FOUL IS FAIR by Hannah Capin in exchange for my honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary e-copy of FOUL IS FAIR by Hannah Capin in exchange for my honest review.

TRIGGER WARNING - sexual assault, rape culture and attempted suicide

Four is Fair is the Macbeth on steroids, re-telling set in high school that will fuel your revenge fantasies.

It's stunning, empowering, and cinematic. Sharp, fast-paced, and gripping. It's like reading the murderer's side of a murder mystery, except you're cheering her on. Jade is fierce and unforgettable. Her story will sit with readers for a long time.

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First of all, I need to warn you: this book is not for everyone and the author has puts up a list of triggers warnings on her website to prevent readers from unnecessary exposure to materials they would not be comfortable with (such as abusive relationships, graphic depictions of murder and suicide attempt). This book also condones vigilante justice and revenge.
“A ritual, the same as getting ready for a party. The same as getting ready for a murder”
It is, in fact, dedicated to all the girls who want revenge, and I think it could represent a glint of hope for all of those who have not obtained it. My first reaction when finishing it was, this was a hell of a book. It leaves you alert, wide awake and strong. This book is obsessive and I could not stop to think about going back to it when I was not reading. It is a book that you open and immediately makes you feel safe. You’re no longer haunted or powerless, because, in these pages, you find power and weapons.
I also learned that this is a retelling of Macbeth. Since I’m not a Shakespeare connoisseur I cannot talk about the accuracy and the power of the retelling but I know that Lady Macbeth, just as Jade, crawls her way to the top leaving behind her a trail of bodies. I love how classics become the material to feminist reads and analysis of our society.
Foul is fair is the most unique and original book I’ve read in a long time. When Elle Jade Khanjara is raped at a party, her and her coven establish a deadly plan to make them pay. All of them. It is a wonderful tale about how justice fails the women in its society again and again and again until they take the matter in their own hands and solve it. Permanently.
The action takes place at the St Andrews prep high school where study the group of boys that Jade wants dead. She manages to infiltrate their daily lives, their school, their intimate circle. You can’t help but expect this to blow up to her face, but she won’t take no for an answer and she won’t back now. Jade is one of the most complex and fascinating characters of this year.
I loved Hannah Capin’s writing style. I adored it. I did not think you could publish a book with such prose: short, breath-taking, sharp, and relying heavily on metaphors. Foul Is Fair could show any dismissive readers who think that YA is not “true literature” that it can and is innovative in its format, its style, and specifically its themes. The story was not rushed and there really was a balance between introspective scenes and scene of actions. The plot in itself is not that complex since we follow the Path that Jade has carved for herself: taking the boys down one by one. You know what will open for most of the book but you can’t help this expectation, the satisfaction, the fear and the worries to submerge you.
“Tonight Jenny and Summer and Mads and me, we’re four sirens, like the ones in those stories. The ones who sing and make men die”
Sorority was one of my favorite aspect of this book. I loved how much her coven was there for her, through her ugly feelings, and her successes. Her group is constituted of a trans girl (there are transphobic aggressions but they are challenged) and of at least one sapphic girl. Girlhood is shared by half the earth population, it’s a major experience. It’s often hard and violent as much as it is good, securing and joyful. This girlhood, these traumas experienced by women in a patriarchal society, is what builds up a coven, a safety net for girls because they protect each other. We see on-page how girls have each other’s backs because no one but them will.
I often find crimes book or thriller hard to write because you must come up with the mastermind plans and the perfect execution. Killing is hard, and committing a crime without being suspected is not an easy task. Hannah Capin manages to write such perfect crimes, there is no place for improvisation and for failure. It is amazing.
It’s hard to describe all the reasons for which I love this book without spoiling it but let’s say that ruthless main characters are the best. Elle or “Jade” as she made herself called does not take a step back. She does not tone herself down. She manipulates, she plays and she takes what she wants. She is an ambiguous character because her actions are morally questionable and we, as humans, should not be the judge and the executioner at the same time but when you know the reality of our society, the more you read, the more you get it. You get it. You get why she is done waiting for someone to save her, why she is done with accepting her statute of victim.
I won’t be talking about the representation in this book since Jade is Indian and that I am not. However, her identity plays a very minimal role in this story. We could wonder why her skin color is the only thing making her Indian. Often, it is not enough of a representation.
One of my only regrets and the principal reason I’m not making this a 5-star review is that, maybe, I wanted more. More of Jade and her coven, more of their life, more of them. This book has definitely awakened something in me. An appetite.
“But bravery isn’t being fearless – it’s swallowing the fear and spitting it back out”
The climax of the book was a true surprise. It reminded me how much I empathized with Jade and her coven. In this book you are teeth and nails with the characters and they are the one making the strength of the book.
Overall, it is the perfect book for angry girls, for girls who are done with the patriarchy and the rape culture. In its essence, this book is an ode to vigilante justice through its prose and its multi-layered characters. I can’t wait for Capin’s future books (I also need to read her debut) because with this mastering of the prose intertwined with a strong sense of plot and characters development, she just became one of my auto-buy authors.

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