Cover Image: Foul is Fair

Foul is Fair

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. I love retellings of any sort and Macbeth is one of my favorite Shakespearean plays. The fact that the POV is from Lady Macbeth makes it extra fascinating. I always wanted to know more from her side of things. I really recommend this!

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I had higher hopes for this one since it is a Macbeth retelling but something about the writing style wasn't for me. It felt like a book I would maybe enjoy more if I read a second time to get more in the flow of the writing. I enjoyed the general plot and revenge is always a good thing to read about.

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Foul is Fair was such a whirlwind of a book! I loved the killer female revenge aspect of the entire thing! I was so impressed that these girls were willing to go to such lengths to take revenge for their friend who was raped, but it really did make me wonder why none of their parents were ever concerned by how absent they all are from their homes.

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The first thing I want to talk about in this book review is the trigger warnings that need to be included in this book if they haven't been already.

Rape, Sexual Assault, Abuse, Violence, and Murder.

The main focus of this book was getting revenge for rape at a party in the next town over. Our main character, Elle is set on making them pay. While I give the author props for writing about such a difficult topic I have to say that the way it went down in this book wasn't a good way. I'm actually concerned about the idea's that it might give younger children that read this book. As adults, we know how to handle topics like this and know what we should and shouldn't do. Planing to murder people for sexual assault isn't the right way. Elle had the ability to do things the correct way and go to the police with the evidence but she was too stuck on this crazy idea that she wants to destroy every single one of them. She doesn't handle anything the right or correct way and it really bothered me.

This book was supposed to a retelling of Macbeth but I haven't read that play and I couldn't see how it was a retelling of it.

The character's in this book were very flat and all of them, I mean all of them need some serious counseling and I'm not just talking about Elle. Her friends that go along with her crazy ideas and even encourage her into continuing her plan need some serious help. What on earth makes them act on their rage like this. I know this book was a work of fiction but damn if it's not distributing. I didn't really like any of the characters in this book. I didn't understand their actions or their reasoning behind what they did. I feel like the author wanted this book to be a very girl power kind of book but I wish it could have been done without the murder. The only characters that I thought that the author did really well was Elle's father and mother, I liked that they were very supportive and that Elle felt comfortable to tell them that it actually happened. I just wish so badly that the parents would have done more to stop the crazy madness that unfolded by their daughters doing.

If your looking for a realistic contemporary this book is not for you. I had so many issues while reading this book. While this book is set in our world it definitely doesn't go buy today's rules or standards in society. Elle was just able to change schools at the drop of a hat. She didn't even have to wait or anything. She even went to this new school with a totally different name which we all know would never be able to happen. She's not under any witness protection or anything so there would be no way for her to go buy a different name. I really didn't like how it seemed like no one at this new school was actually doing what they were supposed to be doing. There's like no school work ever. I also really disliked how the main character's relationship happened in like a day and they were already head over heels in love with each other. With that being said this book was a very quick read, I finished it in just a few hours.

This book definitely has some mean girl vibes if you're looking for that in a book but I took a chance of reading this book while I have previously dnf another book by this author. Personally, I believe that this book just wasn't for me and that if you like retellings of Macbeth and truly a book that's more fiction than reality this book would be for you. It's got some raging girl power but with the trigger warnings this book is not for everyone and I wouldn't recommend it for a younger audience.

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The author kindly lists trigger warnings for her work so I’ll link to that at the end, but the entire story hinges on something that I need to talk about so I’m starting with one trigger warning for date rape. That’s what happens to Elle when she goes out partying for her sixteenth birthday to a boy’s prep school party. Afterwards she tells her friends, her parents (withholding who the boys were), and transfers to the school the boys attend. Why? Revenge. All planned out. Every boy involved in her assault is going to die and her group of popular girlfriends, her coven, is going to help, along with one boy from the school she’s going to force to help. It isn’t going to be easy, but her mind is made up and these boys need to pay, and the school’s rape culture needs to come to an end at any cost.

This felt like a melodrama war cry meets Lady Macbeth meets Heathers and should be “fun” for fans of revenge fantasies that want to think of nothing more than revenge. It gets bloody!

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Before I begin this review it is very important to mention that this story is a story about rape and its aftermath; naturally if you are sensitive to this issue or feel like such conent is triggerring to you then I strongly suggest you sit this one out.

Foul Is Fair is a difficult read. It is difficult for more reasons than one: the writing style is extremely allegoric and flowery, which makes it hard to follow at times, the topic being discussed is hard to read and also the way this topic is handled doesn't leave room for comfort. The author doesn't sugar coat a thing; the way the story is told is brutal and it is honest.

I want to say that I loved the way Capin handled the issue but I'm really hesitant to use the word love in such a scenario. It would be a lie if I said I loved the story, since the story itself is something so wrong and twisted. So the word love or even like doesn't apply. Nor does the word enjoy. Instead I'll say that I hated every second of this book, since hate is the only word able to carry the emotions it made me feel. I hated what was done to Jade, I hated what Jade was made to do, I hated those boys and I hated every person complacent to the crime.
And this is exactly what makes this story a 4.5 star read. You are not supposed to enjoy a story that is essentially about rape and its effects on the human psyche; you are not supposed to love the fact that the girl may have come out stronger out of this situation, because she shouldn't have to go through it in the first place.

Another aspect of the story that made it for me is how unlikeable Jade and her friends are. In the book, Jade characterises her group of friends as a coven and that's what they are; they are the typical mean girls, the ones whom everyone hates, the ones who leave behind despair everywhere they go; the ones who "tease" boys, the ones who dress provocatively and don't care about it. This is a super smart device used: Capin takes all stereotypes related to justifying rape and applies them to Jade, so as to challenge the reader. It's as if she's saying: "Yes, she was dressed provocatively and she danced with boys and she wanted attention and so what?".

What I gathered from the story and what you should too, whether you decide to read this book or not is the following:

Rape is never, never justifiable. N e v e r. Even if you decide to go around the city butt naked no one has any right on you and on your body, no one has any right to violate you in any way.

Lastly, Foul Is Fair is a direct attack on society and rape culture. Within the confines of the book the reader is able to see and realise that the ones at fault are not only the ones committing the crime, but everyone else who knows. Everyone else who knows, or even has a small suspicion and does nothing about it. Because we find it easier to not get involved, to turn a blind eye to things that do not concern us rather than do what’s right and fight against injustice. Foul Is Fair will definitely make you turn your gaze inwardly and question your own self. What would you have done if you were in this situation? And most importantly, are you doing enough? Are you paying enough attention to what’s happening around you?

There are more things in the novel that could be unpacked like internalised misogyny that so many girls have; living in a society that teaches girls to complete against each other for the male gaze and which urges them to do anything for the entertainment and approval of men, class privilege, white privilege and more. I’m afraid that if I start talking about all that I will get carried away, so I think the things said above about the book is more than enough to get a good understanding about what Foul Is Fair is about.

Final consensus: A hard hitting book dealing with rape without concealing anything; brutal and honest it shows the lasting effects of such a violation of not just the body but also the mind. Rape is a crime and should be treated as such. Every other opinion is a bunch of bull**** 🙂

I received this e-ARC via NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Foul is Fair is a contemporary YA retelling of Macbeth, in which 16 year old Jade is out for revenge after being drugged and assaulted by a group of lacrosse players at a party. With the help of her coven, her 3 best friends, she plots to bring them down. What I loved about this book is how angry it is, and how angry Jade is allowed to be. It took me a little while to fall into the rhythm of the writing style, but once I got hooked I couldn't put it down. Foul is Fair is super violent and the action is extremely accelerated (the whole thing takes place over something like 2 weeks), but I was rooting for Jade and her friends and was happy to rage along with them. This book is smart and fierce and loud just like its protagonist and I can't wait to see what Hannah Capin does next.

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Oh my goodness....where do I even start!?🤦🏻♀️

I was certainly not the right candidate for this book. There are very few YA books that work for me. But every so often I’ll step out and try one. And whoa, this wasn’t the right one to choose from!

It’s Elle's 16th birthday. Along with her coven of girlfriends, the girls decide to crash a house party being thrown by students at a neighboring school. The party takes a dark turn resulting in Elle fleeing from the horrific incident. She is consumed with nothing but revenge. There will be no stopping her.

This story-line took on such a far-fetched scenario, I just couldn’t follow along with Elle and her devious plans. I struggled right from the start and probably should have walked away and DNF (something I rarely do).

This was a buddy read with Susanne who enjoyed “most of the book” more than I did. A rare occurrence...but it happens💁🏻♀️. Unfortunately this was just not my cup of ☕️.

There are many positive five star reviews for this book so please don't let my review sway you if this is on your list! You may just come away loving it!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC to read and review.

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This is a retelling of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Guess what...I didn't like studying Macbeth in high school and I didn't care for this novel. I won't sugar coat it, I just found it a little extreme for me.

If you like violent, bloody, and dark, revengeful reads...oh, you'll LOVE this book. I felt it was a little far fetched for kids in high school. The premise is Elle goes to a party and gets raped. She takes revenge on the group of kids that raped her with the help of her coven. She tells her parents in a roundabout way that she's going to kill the boys and they tell her she needs to do what she needs to do...what?

Elle transfers to their school and manipulates the group of friends to turn on each other and murder one another. It is a crazy, wild ride...just not for me. It was not a badly written has a different writing style...I just did not care for the content.

Elle's coven is a loyal group of friends who when she says jump, they say how high. This book certainly was unique and I have not read anything like it...again, there is a lot of blood, murder, and violence in this one. It is crazy how person can infiltrate a group of GOOD friends and turn their world upside down.

I know there are many of you out there that would LOVE this book. I am not in the book's target demographic. If the description of the book appeals to you, pick it up...if you're like me and maybe on the fence or thinking it isn't for it...pass it up. You can tell as soon as you start reading this one if the plot and style of writing is for you!

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An interesting take on a classic, it was suspenseful, thought provoking and bloody. I’m not sure I liked any of the characters, each was horrible in their own way and I felt such hatred for them. Foul is Fair is definitely worth the read to form your own opinions.

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A beautifully haunting retelling. I was instantly hooked and was blown away at how amazing this was. The writing style is not for everyone, and I found the ending a bit rushed, but ultimately, I had a fun time.

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The first thing it feels necessary to say is this: if you don’t like reading about sexual assault or violence, this is definitely not the book for you. The entire story centres around Jade being raped at a party and, although the rape isn’t graphically described and doesn’t happen on the page, it’s still not the most comfortable thing to read.

‘Every teenage girl thinks she and her friends are the mean girls, the ice queens, the wicked witches, but Jenny and Summer and Mads and me – we’re what they wish they were.

Everyone knows what the St. Andrew’s Prep boys get up to at the notorious parties they throw and their behaviour goes unchallenged. In fact, it’s a bit of a joke. One of the boys posts comments on their public Instagram pages alluding to their lewd behaviour, but they’ve still never experienced any repercussions.

Until now.

Foul is Fair is a pull no punches attack on rape culture. The morning after she is attacked, Jade gathers her coven around her and tells them how she wants to get her revenge: by killing all of the people who hurt her. Not only the boys who put their hands all over her and used her body without her permission, but the ones that allowed them to get away with it. The boy who stood outside and guarded the room they were in. The girl who left her alone with them, knowing exactly what they were going to do. The boy who crushed up a pill and spiked her drink.

And, if she can ever remember what he looks like, the boy who handed the drink to her.

This was an empowering novel. No, I’m not suggesting that you get revenge on the people who wrong you by murdering them, but you can’t lie and tell me that you’ve never been tempted.

I thought it was brilliant to see a character who had experienced something traumatic and wasn’t excluding everyone around them and keeping it to themselves. Before they even leave the party Jade has told her friends what she has experienced, and they support her unquestioningly. She then tells her parents the next morning, telling them that she wants to be able to deal with it herself, which they accept.

Quietly supportive parents in YA are rare – either parents don’t appear at all or they want the character to deal with their ordeal the way they think they should, rather than the way that they want to – and I thought this was one of the best things about Foul is Fair (along with the fact that Jade goes to the hospital to get checked out – something that is weirdly overlooked when characters experience sexual assault).

So many of the little choices Capin made elevated this novel. Mads is trans, while Jenny is in love with Summer (even though Summer doesn’t know it yet) and it’s great to read a story featuring LGBTQ+ characters whose identities are simply accepted.

As you can tell, there were a lot of things I appreciated about Hannah Capin’s second novel, but the one reason I didn’t give it five stars was because of the “mystery” surrounding the identity of the final boy. If you don’t guess it within the first couple of chapters I’ll be surprised, and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to believe that Jade herself wouldn’t have figured it out faster.

This book is wacky in the best kind of way, and it’s hard to resist gasping in shock at the audacious things Jade gets up to in her quest for revenge. Despite the dark subject matter Foul is Fair is a highly entertaining read, and if you’re someone who enjoys reading Shakespeare you’ll have fun seeing the clever ways that Hannah Capin brings the story into the modern age. It definitely feels like there must be a sequel on the way, and I can’t express how much I’m looking forward to picking it up.

For fans of: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill, Undone by Cat Clarke

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What I Loved:
Foul is Fair was this gritty and mean revenge story that was both shocking and thrilling for me to read. I loved the plot and the idea of self-inflicted revenge against an attacker. It is a Macbeth retelling, and I found the similarities and the detours from the original story to be interesting. I enjoyed seeing the story unfold in this way.

How I Felt:
The writing was different and it was something I had a love-hate relationship with. At times, I felt confused and would have to go back and re-read portions so that I could catch what was happening. Other times, I loved it and thought it was amazing. The struggle came from the disjointed feel of the writing. The thoughts would stop and start, as would the conversations. It felt, at times, like how an actual person thinks, where one thought stops partway and another idea comes in. At times this left me confused, but I did like real it made the story feel.

The characters were not very likable, but they were written well. They are all snobby, spoiled girls and boys with terrible, mean attitudes. That being said, I couldn’t help but enjoy Elle and her very tight-knit group of girls. I liked being a part of their plans as they plotted. Elle is an attacked victim of a terrible crime, and it was nice to see her take control of her situation in the aftermath.

The story is all about revenge. It reminded me a lot of Kill Bill. The main character is seeking vengeance on a group of boys who raped her at a party. She switches to her attackers’ school and infiltrates herself into their society and lives without them knowing. Now she’s ready to take them down, one by one.

Overall: This was an intriguing, different read. I enjoyed the story, and I liked the retelling of Macbeth. I would have liked the writing to be a bit more smooth and the characters, a bit more likable. It was, however, a story I enjoyed reading.

Content Warning:
This book’s entire premise is based upon the drugging and rape of a teen girl at a party. That scene is never written about in a detailed account, but there are many flashbacks to the event. The book’s revenge is focused on the girl’s attackers. I think this content could be problematic for anyone with rape, assault, or date-rape drug triggers.

To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend Foul Is Fair for readers that enjoy a dark, visceral story with YA-aged characters. I would not recommend this for readers that are averse to details of murder or discussion of rape.

I was provided an advanced reader's copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

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This book was amazing! I love strong female characters who can get their own kind of revenge when a group of boys take advantage of them. This book was such a good read!

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I cannot stop raving about this book. My students read Macbeth this year, and I was so happy to grab a couple of copies when it was published. I am hoping to use them more next year in our YA book groups while we read Macbeth in class. This book was EVERYTHING. The prose is absolutely beautiful and enthralling. It has been a long time since I have read a book written so beautifully. Believe the other reviews that say you have to suspend a bit of belief to read this book. Obviously this wouldn't happen to real high schoolers. This book is so much more than a Macbeth retelling. It says so much about the #metoo movement and really pushes the boundaries for anyone who wants revenge. This is a must-read and must-reread!

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I was so prepared to love this book, despite being disappointed by Capin's debut, but alas.... we did not get along. If I was perhaps less familiar with the source material, if I had not had my own expectations of what a Macbeth retelling could be, then I would have been able to enjoy it more. However, I had many issues with the writing style, the choices about character development, and with the overall messages. I do think there were parts of the original plot interpreted in very clever ways and that the premise was strong, but in the end it didn't work for me.

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<i><b>"[I can] still taste his fear when he knew ... that all his power was gone. That all his power was mine."</i></b>

Inspired by Shakespeare's <i>Macbeth</i>, <i>Foul is Fair</i> is a dark, lushly written retelling from Lady Macbeth's point of view. After Elle is gang raped at a party, she re-brands herself as Jade and infiltrates a new school to take revenge on the seemingly untouchable St. Andrews Prep boys who chose exactly the wrong girl to attack. With help from her trusty coven, and a beguiled lover named Mack, Jade weaves an intricate plan to take down everyone involved in her rape, starting with the group's king: Duncan. Come through revenge fantasy!

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3.5 Stars

Well, Holy Sh&t! Talk about the Ultimate Vengeance is Mine Storyline!

When Elle (nka Jade) goes to a St. Andrews Party with her friends Jenny, Summer and Mads, things go horribly, horribly wrong. None of the girls is the same after. Especially “Jade,” who takes on a completely different persona and who seeks the ultimate revenge on the boys who harmed her. Of course her “coven” is all in.

Jade’s plan of attack: Infiltrate their school and take revenge. Not just any revenge. We’re talking about a Murderous Rampage, and by gosh Jade gets others to do her dirty work. Talk about Brilliant, in a Sick and Twisted Kind of Way!

“Foul is Fair” includes sexual assault, violence, blood, drinking and drugs. This is not your typical Young Adult novel! For me, it started out really strong and I was all in until around the 70% mark where it started to get both redundant and just plain over the top. I am in the minority here as most others liked this novel from beginning to end, thus I would go into this with an open mind (being aware of the disclaimers).

This was a buddy read with Kaceey. (Thanks for sticking with me Kaceey!)

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Hannah Capin for the arc.

Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 4.5.20.

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The tone of this book is everything a sixteen year old version of me would have wanted. It was a bit much for the twenty-four version of me, but since it fit the subject (and the original material the book is based on) I didn't mind it. It read almost mystical, which was the point.
I had to take a break from reading around the middle, because it got a little bit much, so I would definitely advise paying attention to the trigger warnings ( before picking it up.
I liked some of the characters, especially the main character's friends, but although I can empathize with Jade's trauma and her way of coping (it's The revenge fantasy, and it reads exactly like it) I didn't really like her personality.
Overall I still enjoyed it, even though I loved The Dead Queens Club, the author's debut novel, way more. 3.5 stars.

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I loved this book!
Ok, first TW- sexual assault, extreme violence, gore

This is a modern, feminist retelling of a Macbeth and it’s the book that I didn’t know that I was waiting for! Was it dark? Yep! Was it uncomfortable at times? Uh huh. Was it outrageous? Oh yeah! Did I love every minute of it?! You bet!! You definitely have to suspend belief a bit while reading this, or you’ll spend the whole time going “ Seriously? These are 16 year olds.” But do so and enjoy!

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