The Black Coats

The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes

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Oakes, Colleen. The Black Coats. Harper Teen, 2019. 376p. ISBN: 9780062679628. $17.99. HS OT **

Thea Soloman has been invited to join the Black Coats, a secret organization of females who have been exacting revenge on men who hurt girls and women and gotten away with it. Thea joins the group in the hopes of exacting revenge on her cousin Natalie’s killer. Thea becomes leader of her group of black coats and together they carry out Balancings – turning a man’s own crime against him. The more Balancings Thea’s team carries out the more she wonders about the thin line between justice and vengeance. As the Balancings escalate in violence Thea starts to hear whispers of the Monarchs- a secret society within the Black Coats who are not above killing men who have hurt girls and women. Thea must decide how far she is willing to go to exact justice and whether what the Black Coats are offering is even justice. 

The concept is really interesting however the story fell short of delivering an engaging thoughtful read. There were too many elements that made the story feel rushed, the characters were underdeveloped, there was a romance that felt forced and after a certain point the story became too predictable. This book is for older teens and should be kept off middle school shelves.

Trigger Warnings: Sexual Assault, Rape, Abuse, Murder, Violence

Erica Gonzalez Palafox, BAYA 

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