Happy Monday, Book Nerds!
Today is my stop along Hannah Capin’s Foul Is Fair blog tour. This Shakespearean retelling of Macbeth is dark, twisted, and full of poetic rage. It’s hands down one of my favorite reads of the year, and if unapologetic female leads on a quest for vengeance are your jam, I strongly encourage you to pick up a copy when it hits shelves tomorrow.
**Due to the heavy topics featured in this dark contemporary, Capin provides detailed content and trigger warnings both in the book and on her website. The link provided will contain spoilers, so I’ve only included the warnings listed in the ARC. If based of the description below you need more details to ensure a healthy reading experience, please click the link above.**
CW/TW: “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.”
Foul Is Fair by Hannah Capin
Title & Author: Foul Is Fair by Hannah Capin
Genre: YA Contemporary/Thriller/Shakespearean Retelling
Release Date: February 18, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Series Details: Standalone — confirmed directly with the author!
Page Count: 336 pages
Opening Line: “Sweet sixteen is when the claws come out.”
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 (now Jade) 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.Thank you so much to Wednesday Books for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dedicated to “every girl who wants revenge,” Foul Is Fair quickly establishes its dark and unapologetic tone before readers ever reach the first page. But once they do, (and the opening chapter has been consumed) the spell will be cast. Readers will be hooked and desperate for answers on how this retelling will unfold. Full of fierce prose, theatrics worthy of a Shakespearean play, and one of the most ruthless covens ever encountered on the page, Capin’s sophomore novel sets out to prove to fuckboys that women aren’t their toys. A message that screams its necessary anthem out of the book and into the world. A modern day “Jagged Little Pill” for the #metoo era.
“There on the screen Summer’s holding, I see the boys we’re going to ruin.”
Elle crashed an elite prep school party the night of her sweet sixteen with her three ride-or-die besties. That was the night king Duncan chose her to be his crew’s latest victim. That was the night the dazzling smile of a now faceless boy handed her what turned out to be a drugged drink. That was the night Connor dragged her into a room where Banks slammed the door and Duffy stayed inside despite being chewed out by his girlfriend for cheating with “some roofied slut.” That was the night that now returns to Elle via hazy memories that bubble under the surface. That was the night the St. Andrew’s golden boys picked the wrong girl.
“Guilt won’t ruin boys like them.“
Elle wakes up the morning after her sweet sixteen with a plan to take down the boys that wronged her. Adopting a new look and a new name, Jade (formerly Elle) summons her coven of
witches besties to plot out the vengeance she is rightfully owed. Refusing to leave it up to the authorities, her parents, or the justice system, she decides to destroy the boys one by one. And she’ll do it by recruiting an earnest and innocent bystander to dole out her biddings killings.
Now it goes without saying that there is no right or wrong way to react as a victim/survivor/avenger of sexual assault. And of course, I’m not condoning the murderous rampage our fearsome female lead takes on in this twisted contemporary. Readers have to suspend their disbelief in order for the influences from Macbeth to land in this modern day retelling. However, I do applaud Capin for giving us a defiant narrative when we’re so often exposed to a quieter or meeker take. Again, not saying one approach is more “right” than the other, but it’s refreshing to see a character in a contemporary taking the repentance she’s rightfully owed.
“I‘m not just a girl anymore. Tonight I’m only cruelty. No pity. No mercy. No fear of what comes next.”
As you’ve probably gathered this is a hard-hitting novel that came to slay. And despite it’s heavy content and intense elements, it was such a responsive read. From the diversity in the characters sexual orientations, gender identifications, and race to the intense loyalty of Jade’s coven and parents, there’s just so much to love about this book. My words can’t touch the power of those found within Capin’s pages, but I hope they’ve done enough to encourage you to give this story a chance.
All quotes were taken from an advanced copy of this novel and may not match the final release.
Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.
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