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.)
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"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...Jade’s first-person narrative, steeped in rage and drenched, unapologetically, with gore, moves at a relentless pace." - Booklist (Starred Review)
"Rhythmic, propulsive prose drives this bloody retelling of Macbeth at a relentless pace all the way to its violent end...impossible to put down." - Kirkus
"An unapologetic, addictive tour de force that will leave readers entranced and empowered, a fantastically grafted story with an inevitable ending that you won’t soon forget." - The Nerd Daily
"This revenge fantasy is as brutal as it is beautiful...An absolutely gorgeous retelling, artistry on every page, Oscar-worthy if it were a film." - NPR.org
"Capin’s twisty, blood-soaked take on Shakespeare’s play is a propulsive, white-hot juggernaut of vengeance that packs a viscerally satisfying punch." - Publishers Weekly
"This revenge fantasy told from the point of view of a rape survivor will shock and awe." - School Library Journal
"This book is not to be missed." - Paste
"Capin’s writing will seduce you with its beauty and then, when you least suspect it, slice you to the bone—just like Foul is Fair’s captivating, vicious, entirely unforgettable heroine, Jade." - Layne Fargo, author of Temper and co-host of Unlikeable Female Characters Podcast
"Fierce, vicious, and electric. If books had teeth, Foul Is Fair would have fangs. Capin's language glitters dark and her writing cuts deep. Revenge is a dish best served by this deliciously unapologetic coven." - Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts and Last Girl Lied To
“Vicious and beautifully brutal, Foul is Fair gives a sword to every girl who has ever been a victim and makes them a warrior. This book is pulls no punches and will make anyone think twice before uttering the phrase ‘just a girl’. An unapologetic feminist battle-cry that leaves you breathless and thirsting for vengeance.” - Sonia Hartl, author of Have a Little Faith in Me
"Foul is Fair delivers the story of a girl who snatches control back from a world that stole it away, through whatever means necessary. Hannah Capin deftly combines stunningly lyrical prose with the raw power of engulfing fury, sending a message written in blood. In a world where too many are forced into silence, this book roars back." - Sophie Gonzales, author of The Law of Inertia and Only Mostly Devastated
"Jade does what uncounted sexual assault survivors have dreamed of doingshe takes matters into her own hands. What ensues is part Buffalo Bill-style revenge fantasy, part diabolically well-planned manipulation, and it's all done in lyrical prose that feels dreamy and so much like Shakespeare. A gorgeous, scorchingly emotional novel perfect for fans of Mindy McGinnis' The Female of the Species or Courtney Summers' All the Rage." - Wendy Heard, author of Hunting Annabelle and The Kill Club and cohost of Unlikeable Female Characters podcast
“Foul is Fair is a clever reimagining of Macbeth centering a teenage Lady M. It’s a dark, brutal revenge fantasy, sharply feminist and brimming with melodic prose. Capin’s sophomore novel is bloody brilliant—exceedingly bloody, and every bit as brilliant.” - Dana Mele, author of People Like Us
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
A teen and her best friends exact revenge on the prep school boys who raped her.
Elle, Mads, Jenny, and Summer are wealthy Los Angeles teens who crash a prep school party on Elle's 16th birthday. After four boys spike Elle's drink and rape her, the girls decide to kill them. Using her middle name, Jade, Elle enrolls in the boys' private school and launches an elaborate scheme of manipulation and retaliation, choosing golden boy Mack, who is in their friend group, as her scapegoat for murder. But when Jade falls for Mack, her friends start to question her loyalties, and she must decide how far she'll go. Rhythmic, propulsive prose drives this bloody retelling of Macbeth at a relentless pace all the way to its violent end. Readers will find little moral or emotional complexity in these pages and hardly any character development or examination of the self-destructive power of vengeance. What they will find, after they leave their disbelief at the door, is a steadfast sisterhood repaying heedless assault with red-hot rage; and perhaps, in the age of #MeToo, that is enough to begin with. Jade's father is an Indian immigrant (her mother's ethnicity is not mentioned), dark-skinned transgender Mads has a Latinx name, Jenny is implied Korean, and Summer is bisexual. Besides a backstory involving transphobic bullying, none of these identities go much beyond name and appearance. Other key characters are white.
Intense, implausible, and impossible to put down. (Fiction. 14-18)