Friday, March 24, 2017

Vigilante by Kady Cross ARC Book Review

A brutally honest, uncompromising story about a teen girl who decides to take matters into her own hands. 

It's senior year, and Hadley and her best friend, Magda, should be starting the year together. Instead, Magda is dead and Hadley is alone. Raped at a party the year before and humiliated, Magda was driven to take her own life and Hadley is forced to see her friend's attackers in the classroom every day. Devastated, enraged and needing an outlet for her grief, Hadley decides to get a little justice of her own. 

Donning a pink ski mask and fueled by anger, Hadley goes after each of the guys one by one, planning to strip them of their dignity and social status the way they did to Magda. As the legend of the pink-masked Vigilante begins to take on a life of its own, Hadley's revenge takes a turn for the dangerous. Could her need for vengeance lead her down a path she can't turn back from?


This story's strength and focus is female empowerment, and while I am always here for female togetherness--the lack of realism in this novel dragged down an otherwise decent read.

Hadley's best friend is dead. She committed suicide after battling the after effects of being raped. After being sexually assaulted by the school's popular boys--she was slut shamed and took her own life as a result.

Hadley is not taking it lying down--and after a chance opportunity to get one of the guys back--she sets herself on a plan of revenge.

This is where the book started to lose me.

Let me explain.

Hadley's plan for revenge seemed to lose focus along the way, and became a movement she wasn't ready for.

What really threw the story off for me, was the fact that there were multiple public instances where women were physical (and almost sexually) assaulted, and Hadley, happened to only be a step away, pink mask in hand.

I didn't find it to be realistic. Once or twice, okay--but multiple times just seemed--like forced action, seeking real emotions. It wasn't believable, and, neither was the MC.

She came off as unrealistic. Her actions betrayed her emotions. But by the end, even though I didn't necessarily care for her, I agreed with her initial mission and the outcome of it.

I think a lot of women and girls will feel empowered and uplifted by the female empowerment aspect of this story. There was major girl power, and I think readers will appreciate that. 

But, if you're like me, there will be some things that will set you back--the unrealistic instances, and Hadley's flat and almost life-less personality. I didn't buy a lot of the way she was. She was often crass when I felt like she didn't need to be, and she comes off as trying to be something she wasn't. 

And the romance, the romance was dry at best. It was two people, two saddened people--who clearly needed help--psychiatric help--clinging to each other because it made sense. Maybe, it was easy. Maybe, they really did like each other, but the lack of sparks and depth made for a dull romance.

As a whole, the book is pretty...okay. It has the things that worked for it, and things that didn't.

I'd recommend it to readers who love girls who kick literal butt, and may not necessarily care about the rest of it.


  1. SO agree with your review. At first I was very into the book. Right up until the 2nd act of revenge that is. The first thing she does to the first guy makes sense. But after that she's just going around beating people up and I was just really confused. I liked the **idea** of it-- but when I read the words, I started feeling a WAY about it.

    It got out of hand and made it seem like rapist lurk in every corner. Not saying that there aren't bad people out there, but I've never witnessed even one attempted rape-- and I've done my fair share of bar hopping and partying and went to a party-school college-- but this girl found rapists EVERYWHERE.

    And then she got all the other girls afraid to even talk to a guy. It made me feel bad. I get that she's traumatized over what happened to her friend, but don't go around making girls feel like all guys are out to rape them. That's just ignorant.

    Great review!! I wish this book would have stuck with the empowerment and less with the put downs and violence.

    1. Oh and even her DAD was a rapist!! I was like-- WHAT????

    2. It was pretty much a hot mess at the beginning. No offense to the author or anything but I was not pleased.

  2. Oh, that's unfortunate. Based on yours and Michelle's reactions, highly unrealistic. I do like the sound of an avenging girl bent on performing her way of justice, but if the punishment is worst than the crime, then she might be inciting injustice herself.

  3. This sounds like a fun book, but not well executed. I usually struggle with books like this one because of how unrealistic and predictable they can be and sounds like it's exactly the case here. Sorry you didn't love this one!

  4. Aw too bad. At least it had the right idea but just couldn't pull it out successfully. I think someone could take this idea and make it into a good book.

  5. Sounds there was a real missed opportunity with this one. The premise is so interesting but when things are too convenient or when a character's actions defy logic... you've lost me. If it's not realistic, you've lost the believability factor and there's no way for me to truly be invested. Sorry to hear this one missed the mark, Jazmen.

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

  6. This does seem very unrealistic, I don't think it would work for me. Wonderful honest review!

  7. Not sure if you've watched "13 Reasons Why", but the first half of your review reminded me of it. Hate that it ended up being pretty lackluster :-/ Good review, nonetheless!

  8. It does sound awfully forced that Hadley happens to be around for so many assault attempts---I think the book would lose me with that too.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction