Book Reviews

Book Review: Foul is Fair: A Novel, by Hannah Capin

Foul is Fair: A Novel,

by Hannah Capin

Publication: Wednesday Books; February 18, 2020

foul is fairAbout the book:

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.

**My Review**

A while back, I saw Foul is Fair pop up on NetGalley and was immediately drawn to the cover. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the cover has nothing on what is inside of this amazing novel. Described as a modern-day retelling of Macbeth, this also has a lot of Heathers in it mixed with a touch of Mean Girls and Quentin Tarrantino. It’s psychologically, emotionally, and physically violent – but, oh so good.  

Elle and her powerful, beautiful friends (the coven) decide to crash a party thrown by the king of neighboring school St. Andres Prep the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen. Unfortunately, a group of over-privileged and over-indulged St. Andrews boys decide to make Elle their next target. By the next morning, Elle has cut and died her hair, decided to go by her middle name, Jane, and asks her parents to transfer her to St. Andrews Prep. Jade and her coven – Mads, Summer, & Jenny – have devised their plan to make each boy pay. And after looking at the pictures of the Lacrosse team (all of her attackers), she finds one unfamiliar face and decides that he will be the one to kill them all for her – Mack. 

Foul is Fair is undoubtedly the bravest, most unashamed, and unique novel that I have read in a long time. To say that there are **trigger warnings** is the understatement of the year, which Capin addresses prior to the start of the novel, including rape/date rape, suicide, bullying, and murder. However, the main theme of the novel is rising above one’s trauma, power, control, and revenge. And because this is based on a tragedy, there are no signs of forgiveness.

Everything that happens to Jade and everything that she does eventually catches up with her and she certainly has some dark moments, but she chooses revenge and strength, united with her coven, over letting herself feel like a victim. Granted, the majority of events that occur once Jade transfers to St. Andrew certainly require some suspended belief, but I was so incredibly addicted to this book by that point that I easily overlooked some things that seemed just too far-fetched. 

This was my first time reading author Hannah Capin and I cannot find enough words to praise her beautiful writing. It sounds sort of silly to use the word beautiful to describe a novel about repeated murders, but once you start reading, you will understand. She writes with a prose-like quality and uses enough imagery to make you squirm at times, while also leaving things intentionally vague at other times. The characterization is similar to where some characters you feel as if you know intimately and with others, you keep wondering if you are missing something. Mack was a difficult character for me because I initially loved him. I wanted to love him. But then I felt like I wasn’t allowed to love him anymore. Again, a tragedy. 

Foul is Fair is a compilation of pain and violence wrapped up into a deliciously addictive package. I’m not sure that this is a book for just anyone, but it certainly blew me away and it is one that comes with my highest recommendation. Hannah Capin is an author to watch and I can easily see her becoming a screenwriter in the future. Her characters are uncomfortably honest, thinking and doing the things that we really think we shouldn’t think or do. Overall, this novel is absolutely brilliant and one that I know I will read again. 

*Thanks to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.


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