Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Foul Is Fair (Foul Is Fair, #1) by Hannah Capin

Synopsis (via Goodreads): 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.

"So I say it, stupid and bold in one quick breath: 'Promise me you love me.'
He says, 'I promise.'
He says, 'I've never loved anyone more.'"
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I was supposed to review this book for a blog tour, but didn't want my negative feelings (few, but significant) to detract from the purpose of the promotion. However, today's the last day of the tour, so here's what I thought about Foul Is Fair.

Initially, I thought a Macbeth retelling (of sorts) would make a brilliant book, but there were too many unbelievable aspects for me to fully immerse myself in the story. The entire thing takes place over a two week period, and that just wasn't enough time for Jade to do everything she did. Yes, the author managed to squeeze it into her story, but realistically, I don't think it would have been possible. The police, people's parents, the school... someone would have said or done something. Surely people weren't that clueless.

There's actually very little adult involvement throughout the book, which was also very surprising. I understand that the girl's parents were a little shady and a lot crooked, but their lack of participation in what was happening felt off. They verbally claimed to be there, but were rarely physically present. The same can be said about the teachers, detectives, and anyone else with the authority to actually do something - - they simply weren't around.

I'm happy that there's a book out there that shows girls fighting for themselves, and righting the wrongs done to them, but murder is an extreme reaction. Regardless of whether or not the girls thought the boys would get away with it, killing people shouldn't have been an immediate response to a problem. It was an odd perspective, that's for sure. We see mean girls being ruthless and cunning, so you dislike how awful they can be, but you also feel sorry for what happened to them. It was a weird paradox, but one that I found to be very interesting. You don't have to like someone to understand their motives, and you don't have to agree with their motives to understand their reasoning.

Mack. Nothing about Mack made sense. He fell hard and fast for a girl he barely knew (seriously, like 5 minutes), and he was professing his love within a matter of days. Why was he so quick to love a girl that had no past and a million secrets? What about Jade made him feel like he couldn't live without her? He did some pretty extreme things for a girl he new nothing about. Why? Did I miss something about his past? Should the author have developed his character more? All of the other characters I understood. I might not have liked who they were or what they did, but I understood their motives and rationalizations. Mack was a huge question mark.
  • Foul Is Fair was incredibly suspenseful, but also somewhat predictable. 
  • Jade, Jenny, Summer, and Mads were fascinating and brutal characters that I wanted to know more about. 
  • I love how the author described people - - especially the coven - - and her writing was both melodic and sinful. Capin conveyed her story in a way that felt inevitable. 
  • Everything was tainted by that night, and even going forward it will be a bruise that never fades from their memories. Jade may have proven she wasn't broken, but she couldn't hide all of the cracks her attackers left behind.
If you like retellings, Foul Is Fair is an original take on an old story. I like that the author chose to show girl's fighting back, and refusing to stay silent about what about happened to them. They raged, they destroyed, and they got even. It was extreme, but that's what will make this book stand out from others like it. It wasn't realistic, but I'm sure it's a secret wish more than a few people carry in their hearts. This book gives you justice for rape victims, for those who have been silenced by fear, and for the people who have been wronged by a justice system that's supposed to be fair and honorable. This book is Revenge. (★★★⋆☆)


  1. Yikes, this seems a little extreme! I can definitely see your issues with it. Wonderful honest review and I hope your move went well and you are settling in nicely!

    1. You have no idea how many times I've redone this comment, haha. My brain isn't making words today. ;) Yes, this book was extreme, but I think that was the point. However, the lack of character development took the edge off. It's hard to justify someone's actions, or even understand why they're doing what they're doing, when you don't really know the person.

      We made it! It's been nearly a month, so hopefully a predictable routine presents itself soon. <3

  2. I appreciate your truthful, in-depth review of this book. I hadn't heard of it and it's not really my kind of book but it sounds like one others would probably like.

    1. I know other people have enjoyed it, and I can see why it would be appealing, but it just wasn't a great fit for me. :)

  3. I think murder would definitely be a leap for most normal people, but since it's a Macebeth retelling, I think it probably fits for the book - suspension of disbelief a bit. However, it does seem like it takes place really quickly and that might be off-putting. Thanks for your honest thoughts!!!


    1. Yes! I tried to look past the insta-murder (hah) since I knew going into this one it was a Macbeth retelling, but everything else happened quickly too. She got a guy to do crazy things for her, for LOVE, and he knew nothing about her.


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless