Review by: Ivy
“Mack picks up the knife and holds it, blade up, in both hands. ‘And if we fail?’ I wrap my hands around his. ‘Take your courage and nail it down. Nail it to your heart. We won’t fail.’ The starlight sparks off the knife and paints his face darker than I’ve ever seen it.”
Jade and her friends are a coven: power, beauty, and danger. When a group of partiers does something unspeakable, they’ve crossed the wrong girls. Murder and passion cross in the clash of blades as Jade fights her way to the top at St. Andrew’s Prep School, determined to make each student who wronged her pay. She selects Mack as her way in, a golden boy who’d never turn against his friends. But that was before he met the coven.
I was inherently surprised by Foul Is Fair. I picked it up because of the rockin’ cover, so there was nowhere to go but up, but I didn’t expect it to fly so high. Books about girls trying to become the queen bee can feel tired, but none of them are pitch-perfect retellings of Macbeth. Even then I’ll admit that the reimagined Shakespeare style could’ve been cringy, but it wasn’t! Part of the reason I enjoyed this book so much was that its incredibility came out of nowhere.
Hannah Capin’s prose is vicious and intelligent. The writing in Foul Is Fair felt like it could’ve been poetry, abstract and full of juice. The detail never felt distracting and added more to the story than most other books when they try to add in randomly fantastic writing. I appreciated Capin’s commitment to her style since it made the book feel slick and darker than the plot already was.
Foul Is Fair was savage with a perfect tone, black and bloody. The concept feels fresh, the characters were clear and bright, and the writing was the poisoned cherry on top. I love Hannah Capin’s style (author of 2019’s Dead Queens Club, a high-school version of Henry the VIII’s wives), and hope she continues to do these fiercely delightful retellings.
Rating: five damned spots/five
For Fans Of: People Like Us by Dana Mele, One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus, The Cheerleader by Kara Thomas