This was such a great read! It combined two things I love: feminism and secret societies. Secret society stories are serious cat nip for me. Any tv show that does a secret society episode is my jam and I WILL watch that episode on repeat. Veronica Mars gifted me with multiple secret society episodes, for which I am forever grateful.
Anyway, this book’s themes are super relevant to today’s real life me too movement and concerns. The Black Coats are a group of women who have come together to exact revenge on people (mostly men) who hurt women. That revenge could be anything from a confrontation, physical harm, blackmail, professional and/or financial ruin, etc. Ideally, the punishment will fit the crime. When her cousin Natalie was murdered, Thea couldn’t come to terms with the police letting the case sit unsolved, allowing the murderer to go free. When she is tapped to join the Black Coats, she is slightly hesitant, but jumps all in for the chance to have Natalie’s murder solved.
Once she joins, she has to become a team with her group, training every day to develop their individual skills so they become more powerful together. I loved Thea’s friendships with the other girls and watching their relationships develop. As their balancings (what they call their outings where they enact punishments) start to escalate, things get morally grayer and their group has to decide what they’re ok with.
Compulsively readable, I tore through this book quickly, staying up WAY too late trying to finish it. Why then only 4 stars instead of 5? I felt like it could have gone deeper in the examination of justice vs revenge and taken a longer look at the gray areas. Still, this book is one I’d recommend to just about anyone.
Content warnings for sexual/physical violence against women and various other types of abuse.