ARC Review: Golden Boys Beware by Hannah Capin

Summary: 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. Golden Boys Beware is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough.

Genre: young adult, contemporary, retellings
Rating: 5/5 stars

Golden Boys Beware is a modern, refreshing retelling on Macbeth that will make you want to cut all your hair off (think Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction) and kill a man. This book oozes sweet vengeance in such a badass way that, even though you know what Elle is doing is terrible, you still can’t help rooting for her to the very end. She’s a spitfire, a hellion, a goddamn sorceress, and watching her weave her way through these boys’ lives is utterly fascinating.

I stand and face the sabres on the wall. Run my fingers down the metal and find my reflection, warped but perfect, in the silver. The girl in the blade stares back with murder in her eyes. I love her.

The subject of this story is extremely heavy: Elle goes to a party one night where she is raped by four boys from another school. But Elle isn’t like the other victims; Elle wants to extract revenge on the boys who tried to ruin her life, and she has the means and power to do it. If you know the story of Macbeth, you can probably guess where this is going. If you’re like me and aren’t familiar with Shakespeare’s works, you’re in for an insanely wild ride.

There were, admittedly, times I felt a little overwhelmed by all of the characters, as we’re introduced to everyone very early on and all at once. It was hard to keep track of who was supposed to be dating who, who was second-in-command, etc. Truthfully it only really got easier once the body count in this book started to rise, but I was also okay with that because it showed how disposable these other characters were to Elle. She was truly the main character and shining star of this story.

I absolutely loved the way this story was written. The prose is gorgeous without being pretentious or confusing. Elle’s first person perspective gives us all of these eerie, beautiful lines like, “[My parents] want me to be a doctor. I want to be the queen” or “I am a queen in a golden crown and a dress the color of blood, holding death in my hands” or “she is life, but I am death.”

I loved all the references to royalty in this story, giving it a true homage to the story its reimagining. One couple is the king and queen of the school, with their friends patiently waiting for them to be knocked off their pedestal and for it to be their turn. There are lines like, “We were […] wearing our shiny new crowns before anyone else knew a monarchy was coming. We were glossy red-lipped victory.”

Golden Boys Beware is a haunting, surreal story about a girl who refuses to be silenced, who refuses to become a victim. Elle rises from the ashes of her old self and creates a maddening, gore-filled story that has us giving her a screaming, standing ovation.


I received an ARC of this book under its previous title, Foul is Fair.

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