Foul is fair

Hannah Capin

Book - 2020

"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."--

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Subjects
Genres
Thrillers (Fiction)
Published
New York : Wednesday Books 2020.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
326 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781250239549
1250239540
Main Author
Hannah Capin (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Violent DelightsWhen we think of violence and women, most of us probably tend to think of violence against women. This is the pairing that's given the most attention: it's what's in the headlines, what's in our entertainment. In crime fiction, women are, most often, the victims; in superhero stories, they're fridged. Slasher movies of the 1970s reacted to a growing cultural acceptance of women's sexuality and autonomy by violently ripping apart female bodies onscreen. When women are given the opportunity to be violent, it's often sexualized and on behalf of the male gaze (Nikita, Black Widow, the femme fatale—all play to the camera) or they're monsters, and punishment is inevitable (Medusa, Lilith, Lady Macbeth).The conversation grows more complex when race enters in—men of color, and especially black men, are often victims of violence, and face much higher consequences for perpetrating it than white men. But for men of a certain background, with certain privileges, violence has no consequence. Violence makes them kings.Shakespeare knew it, and Hannah Capin does, too. In her slick, divisive sophomore novel, she revamps Macbeth as the contemporary scorched-earth story of Jade Khanjara, who is gang-raped by a group of St. Andrew's Prep lacrosse players at a party on her sixteenth birthday. But violence, as they say, begets violence; afterward, Jade cuts her hair and dyes it black, and she and her three best friends—her coven—vow revenge. And because the boys who tried to destroy her—prep school elites—are untouchable by the law or the justice system, Jade knows that revenge means murdering them herself. There are those who may be disturbed by this sort of mutually assured destruction. Surely, they might say, the answer is not to kill off the men. But here Capin raises an interesting, if extreme, counterpoint. Why not, she asks, when women have been dying violently for centuries? In a different sort of novel, Jade wouldn't follow through with her plan. She would lose her nerve as she infiltrates St. Andrew's as a new student, or she would bond with the boy who is the key to her plan—Mack, the golden boy, the lacrosse player who was uninvolved with her rape, but whom she needs in order to murder the others. She would, like Lady Macbeth, falter at the sight of blood on her hands. She would feel the sting of consequence as her plot unwound and the bodies began to fall.But Capin isn't writing that kind of story.Vicious, manipulative Jade will have her critics, but she's unconcerned with likability. Men have been rampaging across Tarantino films for years—hell, any kid who's read a Shakespeare play in an English class has been privy to unchecked male violence. It is jarring to see a 16-year-old girl commit (or conspire to commit) the acts of violence that Jade makes happen, if only because it is so far outside of what we have come to expect. But this isn't a how-to-murder-your-classmates manual; it's a ferocious, frenzied reaction to a world that has, for too long, treated women as collateral damage in stories that have been deemed more important than theirs.Through Jade and her coven—a group that, despite its brutal mission, is fiercely loyal, open to all different ideas of what a woman can be, and not so close that it can't accept someone new—Capin bulldozes through Macbeth, tackling rape culture and those who benefit from it with the claws-out, take-no-prisoners approach of someone who is done with being afraid. Jade's first-person narrative, steeped in rage and drenched, unapologetically, with gore, moves at a relentless pace. The plot is not rooted in any sort of reality; it is a fever dream, a vicious fantasy, an allegory with bloody teeth.It will not be a book for everyone. There is no moral, no debate. This is about vengeance in its most biblical sense. If you need a story about a teenage girl to be rooted in ethics when boys and men are allowed moral ambiguity in theirs, then this is not the book for you. But for those who, like Jade, have witnessed and experienced violence against women in its many forms, who are tired of taking the high road, who are seeking catharsis, this book may be exactly what is needed. We've been hurt enough, it whispers. Your turn. Grades 10-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Violent DelightsWhen we think of violence and women, most of us probably tend to think of violence against women. This is the pairing that's given the most attention: it's what's in the headlines, what's in our entertainment. In crime fiction, women are, most often, the victims; in superhero stories, they're fridged. Slasher movies of the 1970s reacted to a growing cultural acceptance of women's sexuality and autonomy by violently ripping apart female bodies onscreen. When women are given the opportunity to be violent, it's often sexualized and on behalf of the male gaze (Nikita, Black Widow, the femme fatale—all play to the camera) or they're monsters, and punishment is inevitable (Medusa, Lilith, Lady Macbeth).The conversation grows more complex when race enters in—men of color, and especially black men, are often victims of violence, and face much higher consequences for perpetrating it than white men. But for men of a certain background, with certain privileges, violence has no consequence. Violence makes them kings.Shakespeare knew it, and Hannah Capin does, too. In her slick, divisive sophomore novel, she revamps Macbeth as the contemporary scorched-earth story of Jade Khanjara, who is gang-raped by a group of St. Andrew's Prep lacrosse players at a party on her sixteenth birthday. But violence, as they say, begets violence; afterward, Jade cuts her hair and dyes it black, and she and her three best friends—her coven—vow revenge. And because the boys who tried to destroy her—prep school elites—are untouchable by the law or the justice system, Jade knows that revenge means murdering them herself. There are those who may be disturbed by this sort of mutually assured destruction. Surely, they might say, the answer is not to kill off the men. But here Capin raises an interesting, if extreme, counterpoint. Why not, she asks, when women have been dying violently for centuries? In a different sort of novel, Jade wouldn't follow through with her plan. She would lose her nerve as she infiltrates St. Andrew's as a new student, or she would bond with the boy who is the key to her plan—Mack, the golden boy, the lacrosse player who was uninvolved with her rape, but whom she needs in order to murder the others. She would, like Lady Macbeth, falter at the sight of blood on her hands. She would feel the sting of consequence as her plot unwound and the bodies began to fall.But Capin isn't writing that kind of story.Vicious, manipulative Jade will have her critics, but she's unconcerned with likability. Men have been rampaging across Tarantino films for years—hell, any kid who's read a Shakespeare play in an English class has been privy to unchecked male violence. It is jarring to see a 16-year-old girl commit (or conspire to commit) the acts of violence that Jade makes happen, if only because it is so far outside of what we have come to expect. But this isn't a how-to-murder-your-classmates manual; it's a ferocious, frenzied reaction to a world that has, for too long, treated women as collateral damage in stories that have been deemed more important than theirs.Through Jade and her coven—a group that, despite its brutal mission, is fiercely loyal, open to all different ideas of what a woman can be, and not so close that it can't accept someone new—Capin bulldozes through Macbeth, tackling rape culture and those who benefit from it with the claws-out, take-no-prisoners approach of someone who is done with being afraid. Jade's first-person narrative, steeped in rage and drenched, unapologetically, with gore, moves at a relentless pace. The plot is not rooted in any sort of reality; it is a fever dream, a vicious fantasy, an allegory with bloody teeth.It will not be a book for everyone. There is no moral, no debate. This is about vengeance in its most biblical sense. If you need a story about a teenage girl to be rooted in ethics when boys and men are allowed moral ambiguity in theirs, then this is not the book for you. But for those who, like Jade, have witnessed and experienced violence against women in its many forms, who are tired of taking the high road, who are seeking catharsis, this book may be exactly what is needed. We've been hurt enough, it whispers. Your turn. Grades 10-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A young woman chooses "avenger" over "victim" or "survivor" in this take on Macbeth for the #MeToo era by Capin (The Dead Queens Club). After 16-year-old narrator Elle Khanjara is drugged and raped by a group of prep school boys at an L.A. party, she determines to handle the situation herself. Requesting that her parents not contact the authorities, she asks her father, a connected plastic surgeon, to facilitate her transfer to St. Andrew's Prep, the boys' school. Taking the entitled young men out herself would be too easy. Elle, now going by her middle name, Jade, plans to bring them down from within, and she launches a scheme devised with her "coven," close friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer. Nothing short of murder will do, but falling for the boy she's set up to take the fall isn't part of the plan. Elements of the coven's elaborately staged scheme are hard to swallow, and a lack of character depth may blunt the impact for some, despite intersectional inclusivity across secondary characters. Still, Capin's twisty, blood-soaked take on Shakespeare's play is a propulsive, white-hot juggernaut of vengeance that packs a viscerally satisfying punch. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sarah Burnes, the Gernert Co. (Feb.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 10 Up—Kids are on their own in the world of the wealthy in Southern California; their posses are tight, and "get even" is their code. Elle's "coven"—Mads, Summer, and Jenny—have been bullies and vigilantes since eighth grade. On her 16th birthday, Elle decides it would be fun to crash a prep school party with the coven where they know no one. She's drugged and raped by four football players who've done this before and whose dominance among peers, and loyalty to each other, makes them feel invincible. The author uses the culture of denial surrounding sexual assault effectively: despite a mounting body count, no one figures Elle, Jenny, Summer, and Mads to be the killers because they're girls and, it's assumed, incapable of such pitiless revenge. Gory scenes of death and dying are the norm here, although the rape scene itself is not explicit. The author offers a helpful "content advisory" on her website for more details about potentially sensitive material. The book is laced with profanity, too. VERDICT This revenge fantasy told from the point of view of a rape survivor will shock and awe some readers. Suitable for mature audiences.—Georgia Christgau, LaGuardia Community College, Long Island City, NY Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Targeted by predatory students from a local prep school after crashing a party, 16-year-old alpha girl Jade and her circle of popular friends seek revenge against the boys who wronged them. By the author of The Dead Queens Club. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

After being drugged and gang-raped while crashing a St. Andrew's Prep party on her sixteenth birthday, Jade leads her friends in exacting a horrific revenge on the golden boys who attacked her.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Hannah Capin's Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Perfect for fans of Karen M. McManus and A Good Girl's Guide to Murder. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

Jade and her friends Jenny, Mads, 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 Jade's sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Jade as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Jade transfers to St. Andrew’s Prep. 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.