RELEASED: February 18, 2020
PUBLISHER: Wednesday Books
FORMAT: eBook [AD – Thanks to the publisher for a review copy!]
GENRE: YA Contemporary, Retelling [Macbeth]
GOODREADS RATING: 4.05
TRIGGERS: Off-page sexual assault, rape culture, violence, abusive relationship, suicide attempt, brief scene with transphobic bullying, murder, manipulation, drowning
REPS: LGBTQIA+, trans side character, POC, survivor of sexual assault
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.
I read the synopsis of this book and immediately felt Foul is Fair is one I just had to read. I had to. As a survivor of rape, books like these are extremely important to me and.. imagine my face when I actually got approved to read and review this one! Was it everything I expected? Was it less? Was it more? Read on and find out!
My goodness. This is the first time I find myself staring at my banner with “The good”, thinking.. “Where do I even start with this one?” And, of course, there’s been reviews in the past I struggled with but it doesn’t feel the same this time around. Mainly because this book was.. this book. If that makes any sense?
I’m ten times stronger than they’ll ever be. A thousand times more ruthless.
As you might or might not know, I’m a survivor myself. Reading about rape is never an easy thing for me to do, but I do it anyway because I know it matters to give these books a louder voice. Foul is Fair isn’t like most books I’ve read in the past. On the contrary. Those books were about reclaiming yourself, accepting what happened in a way. This one? This one is brutal, unforgiving and filled with bloody revenge. And I loved every word of it.
Brutal and unforgiving. Words I immediately think of whenever recalling this book, because it’s true. I didn’t expect this book to be like that, but it fits perfectly. Not only that, the whole story is lifted by the descriptive, beautiful writing. Looking back, it seems like a weird combination – to have such a tough read still feel like something.. whimsical almost? But Hannah Capin definitely succeeds at making it work! Twisted and spontaneous, the writing follows Elle’s anger, distress and.. everything is portrayed in a way that grabs you by the throath.
White lilies blossom thick under my words. A snake weaves through their stems, but no one will see it until it’s wrapped itself around them and choked their breath away.
We don’t see the rape on page, but we do get glimpses of what happened right before and.. those are pretty hard to swallow already. I didn’t have to put this book aside, like I had to do with The Sky Is Mine – another amazing read regarding rape culture – but it did have a huge impact on me. I loved seeing the main character – Elle – taking charge of her life, taking revenge in her own hands. She becomes stronger through what she had to survive and leans on her best friends, her coven, to support her.
I can take every single thing they tried to ruin and make it mine again. Make it a weapon that cuts them down and bleeds them dry.
Those friends are definitely worth mentioning. It shows she has a tight-knit little group of people – girls not afraid to do what needs to be done to help one another. Jenny, Mads and Summer prove that exact thing throughout the book. Not only that, they’re not afraid to call Elle out whenever she’s lying. They don’t shy away from trying to help in their own ways either. I loved seeing that. [Note that Mads is the trans woman I mentioned in my rep-section!]
But bravery isn’t being fearless – it’s swallowing the fear and spitting it back out.
Specifically regarding the story.. I did see a lot of things coming – events and reveals alike – but I didn’t care. I honestly didn’t. This is one of those books where the journey to those moments matters way more than the actual events themselves.
The girl in the mirror is defiant. She is merciless. She is revenge.
This isn’t a normal book where a survivor reclaims their body and tries moving on. It’s a story about a survivor set on revenge – bloody and brutal as it might get. It’s a story that’ll stick with you long after you’ve read it, which makes it all the more worth it. It’s a story anyone should read to see how certain events can make you stronger and will if you allow them to.
I don’t have any questions for you this time.
The only thing I want to ask is for you to try and read more books about survivors, by survivors, for survivors because we deserve to be seen and heard.