Foul Is Fair

Wednesday Bks. Feb. 2020. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250239549.
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.

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