THE BRUTAL REVENGE OF A SURVIVOR ~ Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin


Foul Is FairTITLE: Foul Is Fair
AUTHOR: Hannah Capin

RELEASED: February 18, 2020
PUBLISHER: Wednesday Books
FORMAT: eBook [AD – Thanks to the publisher for a review copy!]

GENRE: YA Contemporary, Retelling [Macbeth]

TRIGGERS: Off-page sexual assault, rape culture, violence, abusive relationship, suicide attempt, brief scene with transphobic bullying, murder, manipulation, drowning
REPS: LGBTQIA+, trans side character, POC, survivor of sexual assault

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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I read the synopsis of this book and immediately felt Foul is Fair is one I just had to read. I had to. As a survivor of rape, books like these are extremely important to me and.. imagine my face when I actually got approved to read and review this one! Was it everything I expected? Was it less? Was it more? Read on and find out!

The good

My goodness. This is the first time I find myself staring at my banner with “The good”, thinking.. “Where do I even start with this one?” And, of course, there’s been reviews in the past I struggled with but it doesn’t feel the same this time around. Mainly because this book was.. this book. If that makes any sense?

I’m ten times stronger than they’ll ever be. A thousand times more ruthless.

As you might or might not know, I’m a survivor myself. Reading about rape is never an easy thing for me to do, but I do it anyway because I know it matters to give these books a louder voice. Foul is Fair isn’t like most books I’ve read in the past. On the contrary. Those books were about reclaiming yourself, accepting what happened in a way. This one? This one is brutal, unforgiving and filled with bloody revenge. And I loved every word of it.

Brutal and unforgiving. Words I immediately think of whenever recalling this book, because it’s true. I didn’t expect this book to be like that, but it fits perfectly. Not only that, the whole story is lifted by the descriptive, beautiful writing. Looking back, it seems like a weird combination – to have such a tough read still feel like something.. whimsical almost? But Hannah Capin definitely succeeds at making it work! Twisted and spontaneous, the writing follows Elle’s anger, distress and.. everything is portrayed in a way that grabs you by the throath.

White lilies blossom thick under my words. A snake weaves through their stems, but no one will see it until it’s wrapped itself around them and choked their breath away.

We don’t see the rape on page, but we do get glimpses of what happened right before and.. those are pretty hard to swallow already. I didn’t have to put this book aside, like I had to do with The Sky Is Mine – another amazing read regarding rape culture – but it did have a huge impact on me. I loved seeing the main character – Elle – taking charge of her life, taking revenge in her own hands. She becomes stronger through what she had to survive and leans on her best friends, her coven, to support her.

I can take every single thing they tried to ruin and make it mine again. Make it a weapon that cuts them down and bleeds them dry.

Those friends are definitely worth mentioning. It shows she has a tight-knit little group of people – girls not afraid to do what needs to be done to help one another. Jenny, Mads and Summer prove that exact thing throughout the book. Not only that, they’re not afraid to call Elle out whenever she’s lying. They don’t shy away from trying to help in their own ways either. I loved seeing that. [Note that Mads is the trans woman I mentioned in my rep-section!]

But bravery isn’t being fearless – it’s swallowing the fear and spitting it back out.

Specifically regarding the story.. I did see a lot of things coming – events and reveals alike – but I didn’t care. I honestly didn’t. This is one of those books where the journey to those moments matters way more than the actual events themselves.

The girl in the mirror is defiant. She is merciless. She is revenge.

five stars
This isn’t a normal book where a survivor reclaims their body and tries moving on. It’s a story about a survivor set on revenge – bloody and brutal as it might get. It’s a story that’ll stick with you long after you’ve read it, which makes it all the more worth it. It’s a story anyone should read to see how certain events can make you stronger and will if you allow them to.

I don’t have any questions for you this time.
The only thing I want to ask is for you to try and read more books about survivors, by survivors, for survivors because we deserve to be seen and heard.




14 thoughts on “THE BRUTAL REVENGE OF A SURVIVOR ~ Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

  1. Great review! And I do admire you for reading and discussing books about sexual assault. You’re strong and amazing. I’m happy to hear you loved this book, it’s just so… I can’t put it in better words than you did when you said that it’ll stay with you and you’ll be thinking about it..


    1. Thank you so much! Honestly, it helps me to remember that the sexual assault I survived doesn’t define me. But on top of that, I feel it’s important to read books about it as someone who’s actually been there. There are a lot of people who can’t bare to read about things like that when they happened to them and I completely understand, but it’s important to see views of people who have and are able to read those books.


  2. Wow, amazing review. I really admire your bravery and strength to read books on rape and tackle your experience head on. I will definitely check out this book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This book was a great modern take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, focusing specifically on Lady Macbeth (Elle/Jade)..and I think that’s why I both loved the book and didn’t like it at the same time. Macbeth is not my favorite Shakespearean play. The murderous, power hungry, and manipulative nature of Lady Macbeth is quite off-putting, and so is Jade. This is a raw and beautifully written tale of vengeance, and it definitely held my interest. And I also think that sometimes it’s good to read books with a protagonist that you the reader finds to be unlikeable. I feel like we learn more that way, by seeing the world from a completely different perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Honestly, reading these retellings of classics makes me want to read more classics? I’m sure I’ve only read three or four in my lifetime and it would add so much more to my reviewing them if I could compare to the original, I think?
      In any case, you’re definitely right about the completely different perspective!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Macbeth was required reading my senior year of high school. And then I read it again in a university Shakespeare course. I also read most Shakespeare for fun because I own a Complete Works of William Shakespeare book.

      It is interesting to see reviews of retellings from someone who knows the source material versus someone who doesn’t. Often it seems like the ones who are new to the story like it better, maybe because they aren’t nit-picking through the details and compare/contrasting.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Guess that’s one of the benefits of an English-speaking country as well. Our English reading was mostly “here’s a list, pick one or two books to read before the oral exam”. The only book we really had to read was Animal Farm.

      Exactly the thing I noticed! Which is why I feel like I should read the original first in the future but since those are often harder to get through, I fear I won’t be able to do so when it comes to ARC’s..


    1. I haven’t read that one, to be honest! Maybe I should, haha.
      Hm. In one way, yes, on the other hand.. Young adults having dealt with something as rape should definitely see how someone can come out stronger – although maybe this is a more drastic take and I hope no young adults will go on a killing spree because of it? :’)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, I can totally see how this works as a YA. I just somehow thought it was an adult book – but it’s true, YA nowadays is much darker than it used to be when I was a teen!

      Liked by 1 person

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