Blog tour: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin
Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Foul is Fair blog tour. It has been a whopping six months since I last took part in a blog tour – I know, where has the time gone?! – but when Meghan from Wednesday Books reached out and invited me to take part in this tour I couldn’t resist.
If you haven’t heard of Foul is Fair I’ll be surprised, because it’s shaping up to be one of the most talked about 2020 YA releases. Marketed as a modern take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, I’ll tell you a little more about what goes on in Foul is Fair before I share my personal thoughts on the book with you.
Hannah Capin’s Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. 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.
The first thing it feels necessary to say is this: if you don’t like reading about sexual assault or violence, this is definitely not the book for you. The entire story centres around Jade being raped at a party and, although the rape isn’t graphically described and doesn’t happen on the page, it’s still not the most comfortable thing to read.
‘Every teenage girl thinks she and her friends are the mean girls, the ice queens, the wicked witches, but Jenny and Summer and Mads and me – we’re what they wish they were.
Everyone knows what the St. Andrew’s Prep boys get up to at the notorious parties they throw and their behaviour goes unchallenged. In fact, it’s a bit of a joke. One of the boys posts comments on their public Instagram pages alluding to their lewd behaviour, but they’ve still never experienced any repercussions.
Foul is Fair is a pull no punches attack on rape culture. The morning after she is attacked, Jade gathers her coven around her and tells them how she wants to get her revenge: by killing all of the people who hurt her. Not only the boys who put their hands all over her and used her body without her permission, but the ones that allowed them to get away with it. The boy who stood outside and guarded the room they were in. The girl who left her alone with them, knowing exactly what they were going to do. The boy who crushed up a pill and spiked her drink.
And, if she can ever remember what he looks like, the boy who handed the drink to her.
This was an empowering novel. No, I’m not suggesting that you get revenge on the people who wrong you by murdering them, but you can’t lie and tell me that you’ve never been tempted.
I thought it was brilliant to see a character who had experienced something traumatic and wasn’t excluding everyone around them and keeping it to themselves. Before they even leave the party Jade has told her friends what she has experienced, and they support her unquestioningly. She then tells her parents the next morning, telling them that she wants to be able to deal with it herself, which they accept.
Quietly supportive parents in YA are rare – either parents don’t appear at all or they want the character to deal with their ordeal the way they think they should, rather than the way that they want to – and I thought this was one of the best things about Foul is Fair (along with the fact that Jade goes to the hospital to get checked out – something that is weirdly overlooked when characters experience sexual assault).
So many of the little choices Capin made elevated this novel. Mads is trans, while Jenny is in love with Summer (even though Summer doesn’t know it yet) and it’s great to read a story featuring LGBTQ+ characters whose identities are simply accepted.
As you can tell, there were a lot of things I appreciated about Hannah Capin’s second novel, but the one reason I didn’t give it five stars was because of the “mystery” surrounding the identity of the final boy. If you don’t guess it within the first couple of chapters I’ll be surprised, and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to believe that Jade herself wouldn’t have figured it out faster.
This book is wacky in the best kind of way, and it’s hard to resist gasping in shock at the audacious things Jade gets up to in her quest for revenge. Despite the dark subject matter Foul is Fair is a highly entertaining read, and if you’re someone who enjoys reading Shakespeare you’ll have fun seeing the clever ways that Hannah Capin brings the story into the modern age. It definitely feels like there must be a sequel on the way, and I can’t express how much I’m looking forward to picking it up.
For fans of: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill, Undone by Cat Clarke
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Foul is Fair, you can get it directly from Wednesday Books here.
About the author:
Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.
Thank you so much for visiting my stop on the Foul is Fair blog tour. See you soon!