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The Black Coats

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Roses are read, violets are blue, if you hurt us, we’re coming for you. The deeply secretive Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who hurt girls and women for years. And Thea has just received an invitation to join them. This is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to finally get justice for her cousin Natalie, whose killer went free. Thea dives head first into Roses are read, violets are blue, if you hurt us, we’re coming for you. The deeply secretive Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who hurt girls and women for years. And Thea has just received an invitation to join them. This is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to finally get justice for her cousin Natalie, whose killer went free. Thea dives head first into the group, training every day with other girls whose stories rival hers. Together they carry out Balancings—acts of revenge guaranteed to teach a lesson. With every predator threatened, every blackmailer exposed, and every date rapist punished, Thea can feel herself getting closer to avenging Natalie’s death. But then the Balancings begin to escalate in brutality, and Thea discovers that the Black Coats are not all they seem to be. Thea must confront just how far she’s willing to go for justice—and what kind of justice Natalie, and Thea herself, deserve. Because when the line between justice and revenge is razor thin, it’s hard not to get cut.


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Roses are read, violets are blue, if you hurt us, we’re coming for you. The deeply secretive Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who hurt girls and women for years. And Thea has just received an invitation to join them. This is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to finally get justice for her cousin Natalie, whose killer went free. Thea dives head first into Roses are read, violets are blue, if you hurt us, we’re coming for you. The deeply secretive Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who hurt girls and women for years. And Thea has just received an invitation to join them. This is the opportunity she’s been waiting for to finally get justice for her cousin Natalie, whose killer went free. Thea dives head first into the group, training every day with other girls whose stories rival hers. Together they carry out Balancings—acts of revenge guaranteed to teach a lesson. With every predator threatened, every blackmailer exposed, and every date rapist punished, Thea can feel herself getting closer to avenging Natalie’s death. But then the Balancings begin to escalate in brutality, and Thea discovers that the Black Coats are not all they seem to be. Thea must confront just how far she’s willing to go for justice—and what kind of justice Natalie, and Thea herself, deserve. Because when the line between justice and revenge is razor thin, it’s hard not to get cut.

30 review for The Black Coats

  1. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Oakes

    Inspired by a black coat sitting on the road in Nebraska, grief at the death of a beloved friend and a fascination with vigilante justice, The Black Coats is a story that I've wanted to tell for a long time. It's a story about revenge, about women saying "enough" with their fists and their words, and a secretive matriarchal society that loves both mason jars and brass knuckles. It’s about the moral grey that exists in the lines between vengeance and revenge, justice and torture, love and grief. I Inspired by a black coat sitting on the road in Nebraska, grief at the death of a beloved friend and a fascination with vigilante justice, The Black Coats is a story that I've wanted to tell for a long time. It's a story about revenge, about women saying "enough" with their fists and their words, and a secretive matriarchal society that loves both mason jars and brass knuckles. It’s about the moral grey that exists in the lines between vengeance and revenge, justice and torture, love and grief. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tam_ the_ med_bookie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ***RANT ALERT!!!*** *Not as fast paced as it ought to be *Not gripping as it should be *The characters are not convincing enough *The plot is somehow flat as it should have been gripping The only highlight of the book is the possible romance of the main protagonist, Thea and Crew, her schoolmate. As per the first few pages of the book, I thought it would be a gripping story talking about revenge regarding the injustices done to the women as a whole. Yes, the plot goes into this with a secret organizat ***RANT ALERT!!!*** *Not as fast paced as it ought to be *Not gripping as it should be *The characters are not convincing enough *The plot is somehow flat as it should have been gripping The only highlight of the book is the possible romance of the main protagonist, Thea and Crew, her schoolmate. As per the first few pages of the book, I thought it would be a gripping story talking about revenge regarding the injustices done to the women as a whole. Yes, the plot goes into this with a secret organization that secretly recruits young people who has someone in their lives in need of justice. But the character development is so poor. The writing style just didn't work for me. It was pretty monotonous for a story with such a strong theme. I really wanted to DNF this book when I was into just 20 pages. But again I gave in thinking that the story might actually turn out good. Things went even more mundane and monotonous even when I was at page number 56! The actual story was not even there it seems. *So many scenes like for example the training part seemed old like it was taken out from some movie that we are so familiar with. So many stereotypes were being followed in this book. A hacker doesn't have to be dressed up all being nerdy with excess mascara and eyeliners. *Xanax intake at such an alarming rate by a young person should not be encouraged even though he or she has issues. *Racism & interracial dating has been brought up like you would easily miss it. It would have been better if it didn't seem like the main protagonist didn't seemingly just shrug it off after a few moments of thinking about it. *Likewise, the problem of bullying was brought up now and then but dismissed too soon like it is some kind of a momentary problem to deal with. I tried my best to like the book but I really couldn't. I couldn't relate with any of the characters. Even though it is meant to be an emotionally charged read, I found the so called emotions floating so superficial that it doesn't stick with you as you go on reading. And the so called organization with the 3 teams. They really turned out to be silly like some kids getting together and never getting serious that nothing gets done in the end. The book turned out to be so damn typical in the end. It turned out to be so damn predictable for me. It was supposed to be some kind of mystery read. I can go on and on. But what's the point anyway. FYI, Nixon the leader of the Banning team seemed like a joke instead of 'the most terrifying woman ever!'. So I couldn't care less about the leaders of the other two teams. They seemed more 'terrifying', like yeah I can just go and punch my pillow and kill it. Every other 'serious and important character' turned out to be really meh... And yes, regarding the plot of 'taking revenge' or getting the so called criminals to get their lessons learn and regret their actions but what I (with all my senses and in all my sanity) really think is that the so called Black Coats were throwing themselves in situations which were really easy to get caught as criminals themselves in the pursuit, like really?! And yes, these are young girls we are talking about. Putting themselves in dangerous situations and just getting lucky enough to survive in such situations at the nick of time just like freaking all the time, like really?! And can't the simple, lovey dovey guy be just a simple, lovey dovey guy till the end and not turning out to be one of those cliché most complicated guy to be with with a complicated story? Ah, he was my only hope to go on reading this book. I really don't appreciate such themes which makes young people feel like it is okay to take matters in their own hands, disregarding the law just because of a secret organization encourages/allows them to do so. And yes, the typical question comes up with YA books - Where were the parents when their kids living in the same house as them went for such missions during the whole weekends and all the nights?! Sneaking out once in a while can be understood. But everytime?! And the concerned parents of Thea worrying too much only when she is in front of them? It should have been more fictional than this I guess. *Sorry for the rant. It's just that I am so damn disappointed. Other books are waiting for me. Moving on!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Janani(ஜனனி)

    "A secret society of girls who plot revenge on the men who hurt them." me, aggressively clicking want to read button: SAY NO MORE

  4. 4 out of 5

    The Nerd Daily

    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Teralyn Mitchell The line between justice and vengeance is thin and it’s easy to cross it. That is what Colleen Oakes explored in her new novel, The Black Coats. Thea Soloman is dealing with grief after losing her cousin and best friend, Natalie six months prior to the start of the story. Natalie’s killer was never brought to justice so when the Black Coats—a secret society who exact vengeance on men who hurt girls and women—send her an invitatio Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Teralyn Mitchell The line between justice and vengeance is thin and it’s easy to cross it. That is what Colleen Oakes explored in her new novel, The Black Coats. Thea Soloman is dealing with grief after losing her cousin and best friend, Natalie six months prior to the start of the story. Natalie’s killer was never brought to justice so when the Black Coats—a secret society who exact vengeance on men who hurt girls and women—send her an invitation to join, she does without a second thought. This is just what she needs to start living her life again and become excited about something for the first time since losing her cousin. Thea is willing to lie to her parents and the new guy in her life so that she can train with the other members of her team. She feels good and like she’s doing the right thing especially when she and her team are assigned their first Balancing—acts of revenge against men who wronged women. Each member has to participate in Balancings before they can collect an Inheritance, which is a Balancing of their own against the person who hurt them or someone they love. Thea is fine with it at first even if she feels uneasy sometimes. All she has to do is remind herself what these men have done but of course things start to get a little murky when Thea and her team go to carry out an Inheritance for one of their team members which isn’t as it seem. Things go from bad to worse from there and Thea learns that no matter how much justice or vengeance you dole out, it won’t bring back a loved one or change what happened to you. You will still hurt and have to deal with what you went through. I loved Thea from the very beginning. She was stronger than she ever believed, a leader, and so compassionate. She wanted to do the right thing and she wanted to get justice for her cousin. Thea was still deep in grief when the Black Coats approached her about joining and all they had to do was offer the chance to get justice for Natalie for her to agree to join, just to be doing something. But she was a thinker and smart so she learned that there was something sinister about this group and slowly realized that she wasn’t willing to cross that thin line between justice and vengeance. I also loved that Thea was mixed-race. I liked the diversity in The Black Coats; it was done perfectly and felt authentic. I liked the members of Thea’s team and her boyfriend. They added humanity to the story and kept it from being too bleak and dark. Drew, Thea’s boyfriend, was more understanding than I thought he would be and her team became more than just that; they became her friends, her sisters and important to her. Thea was a character I could root for even when she was doing things I didn’t agree with. She was relatable and her actions were all understandable. Colleen Oakes did an amazing job writing this book that touched on so many hard subjects. She made strong but flawed characters who you couldn’t help but root for and admire. She created a cast of characters that played well off one another and that was diverse and relatable. The pacing of the story was also perfect. Nothing happened too fast or too slow. She kept the reader guessing as to what was really going on and did not dive right into the girls doing crimes disguised as justice. She also did not leave the readers hanging in any way. I loved how the story ended and how things escalated but were resolved. I have to say one of the best things I liked about the ending was that Oakes did not let the characters escape from their ordeal perfectly unharmed. There were lingering scars—mental and physical—that they will always have to deal with. The Black Coats was in amazing and top read of 2019. I enjoyed reading this masterful, action-packed YA novel that dealt with heavy topics and were quite bleak and hard to read at times but there was still some lightness in it that made this book great. This was an amazing read that sucked me in from the first page and kept me engrossed until the end.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kales

    If you are looking for an intense YA read with some realistic but badass heroines, this is the novel you should pick up in February. It's a cross between the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter and THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis. This is a web of a book with multiple layers that I couldn't see coming. It had a plot that weaved and bobbed. Because one minute you think you are reading a book about grief and then a secret vigilante society gets thrown in and then there is an adorable If you are looking for an intense YA read with some realistic but badass heroines, this is the novel you should pick up in February. It's a cross between the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter and THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis. This is a web of a book with multiple layers that I couldn't see coming. It had a plot that weaved and bobbed. Because one minute you think you are reading a book about grief and then a secret vigilante society gets thrown in and then there is an adorable romance and then there is murder and a hostage situation and powerful female friendships and lessons you didn't think could be added, but they're there. And weirdly, it's not too much. It's right amount of each so that the intensity remains, but confusion doesn't. I found myself having to put the book down three times because I was shaking over the moral dilemmas I was experiencing. It's a good that makes you think and I enjoyed that. You find yourself torn with the characters because not all of these women are likable or immediately justified in their actions (or at least, I didn't think so). It's a pretty brilliant way to take on the subject of justice without boring people to tears. Thea's grief and pain was another factor I enjoyed -- not that I enjoy people's grief and pain but the way Oakes portrayed it, and wove it continuously throughout the novel, you like Thea, never lost sight of what the real story was. About a young girl battling with a raw, intense pain. And yes, there is a secret society of badass women and a very cute romantic interest, but ultimately, this is Thea's story of recovery. Finally, I love how timely it is. I know that Colleen Oakes says in the author's note that she wrote this before the #MeToo movement but this book is blessed with timing. It's a story that cover a lot of ground, on a topic that is timely and filled with brave women. I think this is one to watch in 2019. It's powerful and good. I can't wait for it to come out so I can write a staff recommends for it. Conclusion: Buy the hardcover

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sana Zameer

    I tried so hard to like this book. The concept was interesting and it has a good plot, but it's the writing and the execution that was a let down. The pacing was very slow which didn't suit the vigilante justice theme and the writing was flat boring. It should have been fast paced and gripping, instead the monotonous prose and under developed characters made me nearly dump it. And I didn't get the connection between Thea and Drew. I could have been much better if the writing was upbeat and the a I tried so hard to like this book. The concept was interesting and it has a good plot, but it's the writing and the execution that was a let down. The pacing was very slow which didn't suit the vigilante justice theme and the writing was flat boring. It should have been fast paced and gripping, instead the monotonous prose and under developed characters made me nearly dump it. And I didn't get the connection between Thea and Drew. I could have been much better if the writing was upbeat and the author had put some work in characterization.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tadashi Hamada

    When I first saw this book on Goodreads and read the premise, I was hooked. I immediately added it onto one of my several wishlists. Less than two weeks after adding it, by sheer luck, I won an Advanced Reader's Copy in a contest. I thanked the book gods and I couldn't wait to dig in. Sadly, though, I was disappointed. I loved the idea of a vigilante group that avenged women--women who have been raped, sexually assaulted, abused, or murdered. I'm not a total advocate of vigilante justice in real l When I first saw this book on Goodreads and read the premise, I was hooked. I immediately added it onto one of my several wishlists. Less than two weeks after adding it, by sheer luck, I won an Advanced Reader's Copy in a contest. I thanked the book gods and I couldn't wait to dig in. Sadly, though, I was disappointed. I loved the idea of a vigilante group that avenged women--women who have been raped, sexually assaulted, abused, or murdered. I'm not a total advocate of vigilante justice in real life--vigilantism isn't all good, all the time--but I loved the idea of it in fiction. Sue me. Who doesn't love a little moral grayness every now and then? Haven't y'all seen The Punisher on Netflix? Frank Castle is the shit. (Although it's a travesty that Netflix recently cancelled it.) Needless to say, it was this book's concept that gripped me from the beginning. However, I had several gripes about this book that, even though I loved the premise and the concept, I couldn't rate this any higher than 2 or 3 stars. My main complaint was the writing style. It was very basic, to the point that I couldn't attribute it anymore to my dislike of third-person narrative. It was genuinely dull, and I've realised there are some books that have pulled off third-person for me, e.g. Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi. I still don't like it, but it has its place. More importantly though, all of the characters were flat and didn't have their own distinct voices. While they still had some semblance of a personality, a lot of their dialogue felt unnatural and stilted. There was even a conversation between Thea and Drew where I thought, literally no teenager talks like that. I think the problem was that the author's voice showed too much through the writing, instead of fully developing the characters, their personalities, and their voices. For a book with such a sophisticated concept, I expected something better. I thought Thea and Drew didn't have any chemistry and I wished how they met was more interesting. I don't like how Thea kept saying Adam Porter was a cop, as if that was a good reason why he should be unharmed. For a book that acknowledged how missing and murdered black girls didn't garner much attention both from the media and the general public, I found it strange how this book ignored the fact that a large percentage of police officers in America are perpetrators of domestic violence. Adam Porter should've been protected because he was innocent and have never hurt any women, not because he was a cop. Thea thought Sahil bore a resemblance to what she thought was his biological mother, but he reveals later on that he was adopted from 'an orphanage across the world'. Why would Thea think he looked like his mother if he was adopted? That literally doesn't make any sense. Lastly, why were the Monarchs so mad at Thea for dating Drew? (view spoiler)[How could she have known that Drew's father was a former police detective trying to track down the Black Coats? (hide spoiler)] It wasn't her fault? What they could've done was tell her to stop seeing him, not accuse her of trying to help him. Unless I'm missing something. The only saving grace this book had was that badass epilogue, but more importantly, that the criticism of vigilante justice was at least nuanced. At first I was annoyed because I thought it would put feminists in a bad light as crazy murderers, due to how Julie Westing was portrayed, but I'm glad they resolved it in a way that was appropriate. This book was described as 'Moxie meets The Female of the Species.' While those two books aren't exactly my favorites, I can say they were both executed better than The Black Coats and I'd recommend you read them instead. This book wasn't bad, but its overall execution didn't live up to its concept and premise.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    3.5/5 stars The Black Coats is a Young Adult contemporary novel set in Austin, Texas. The book is divided into two parts. The narrator is Thea (3rd person POV). The story is about a secret group of women called The Black Coats. They go after men who have hurt women. Thea is a high school student. She experienced a tragedy and now she has been invited to join this secret group. This book features some romance. The story was interesting and different. I really enjoyed the group dynamics in Thea's Black 3.5/5 stars The Black Coats is a Young Adult contemporary novel set in Austin, Texas. The book is divided into two parts. The narrator is Thea (3rd person POV). The story is about a secret group of women called The Black Coats. They go after men who have hurt women. Thea is a high school student. She experienced a tragedy and now she has been invited to join this secret group. This book features some romance. The story was interesting and different. I really enjoyed the group dynamics in Thea's Black Coat group. Thea is put with a female leader (Nixon) and a group of girls. And I liked seeing them work together. The last half of this book was the strongest for me. There were some really unexpected developments that made this story so much better for me. I enjoyed the romance aspect. And really liked Thea's family. It was interesting to see a secret society at work. And the idea of women getting justice against the men who have hurt them was also intriguing. I didn't connect what the prologue was about until the end. But once I did it really made sense. The epilogue was really good and tied everything together. Overall, this was an enjoyable YA story. Thanks to edelweiss and HarperTeen for allowing me to read this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    rachel

    this is one of the most horrific covers i've ever seen. who approved that colour scheme??

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    HOLY SHIT. I finished almost in one sitting *I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for honest review. Review to come*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔

    "Roses are read, violets are blue, if you hurt us, we’re coming for you." Well I'm sold lol

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kate Vocke

    The Black Coats is a secret society of women who plot and execute revenge on men who have hurt them or other women and girls in their lives to teach them a lesson and get even. Could this sound any more awesome?!? The book is dark, and secretive and chock full of girl power. It's a fast-paced, action-filled examination of revenge and what lengths some will go to attain it. Thea is still reeling from the murder of her cousin Natalie. Her family struggles, her days go by in a haze and she's despera The Black Coats is a secret society of women who plot and execute revenge on men who have hurt them or other women and girls in their lives to teach them a lesson and get even. Could this sound any more awesome?!? The book is dark, and secretive and chock full of girl power. It's a fast-paced, action-filled examination of revenge and what lengths some will go to attain it. Thea is still reeling from the murder of her cousin Natalie. Her family struggles, her days go by in a haze and she's desperate for closure as the case has since become stagnant and cold, with no leads in site as to who murdered her best friend. She's steadily melting into a dark spiral of depression and sadness and the invitation to join the Black Coats come just in the nick of time for her. A mysterious series of envelopes sends her on a scavenger-type hunt to equally curious destinations that end with a proposition... to join an undercover group of determined women who have been hurt by men - through abuse, pedophilia, and other disgusting acts. She's quickly thrusted into a group of of girls also seeking revenge for something a man has done to scar them, and intense training begins. The Black Coats start performing tasks to scare and humiliate the lesser offenders, but soon they will be able to carry out their 'balancings' on those who have directly hurt them. But Thea soon realizes - are they taking justice too far? Who is she to be judge and jury? And if it won't bring Natalie back - is it all worth it? Give me a group of strong women who kick ass and you have SOLD ME. I loved the premise behind this all as a story - it was creative and fun and at times pretty intense, but I flew through it and was riveted by the suspense and the mystery of this secret society. The characters were all interesting and strong willed and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

    *Source* Publisher via Edelweiss *Genre* Young Adult, Contemporary *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* The Black Coats, by author Colleen Oakes, is inspired by a black coat sitting on the road in Nebraska, grief at the death of a beloved friend and the authors fascination with vigilante justice. It is a story about a group of women who take the law into their own hands and seek vengeance against those, mostly men, who have wronged a woman in ways that include murder, and rape. It's a story about the necessity o *Source* Publisher via Edelweiss *Genre* Young Adult, Contemporary *Rating* 3.5 *Thoughts* The Black Coats, by author Colleen Oakes, is inspired by a black coat sitting on the road in Nebraska, grief at the death of a beloved friend and the authors fascination with vigilante justice. It is a story about a group of women who take the law into their own hands and seek vengeance against those, mostly men, who have wronged a woman in ways that include murder, and rape. It's a story about the necessity of speaking up when horrible crimes are done to you, or your family, and not staying quiet. *Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews* https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Goehmann

    The question that comes to mind as I read this book is: What if women got tired of perpetually asking themselves, “Is this safe?” or What is we wanted better for our daughters? This is a fun and adventurous read for teens. It asks hard questions about the morally grey of life with lovably imperfect characters, hard ass characters, and characters I would not want to meet up with...ever. The imagery and imagination crafted in each scene of this book made me want to jump on a plane to Austin, as we The question that comes to mind as I read this book is: What if women got tired of perpetually asking themselves, “Is this safe?” or What is we wanted better for our daughters? This is a fun and adventurous read for teens. It asks hard questions about the morally grey of life with lovably imperfect characters, hard ass characters, and characters I would not want to meet up with...ever. The imagery and imagination crafted in each scene of this book made me want to jump on a plane to Austin, as well as stand up and speak out for justice today, instead of wasting a moment more waffling.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anna Eklund

    Holy hell. Review to come when I can word again. I need to go hold this close for a bit.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Femke

    Dit heeft me echt achterover geslagen. Zo verrassend goed. Ik had weinig verwachtingen bij dit boek omdat ik nog niemand erover had gehoord. Maar dit boek gaat echt zo in het lijstje bij mijn favoriete contemporary’s. Hoop dat meer mensen dit boek gaan lezen. Ook echt een heerlijk origineel verhaal. Lekker feministisch en hoe niets helemaal zwart of wit is.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caro Herrera

    If this book is not yet on your radar or on your TBR, it needs to be! Hands down 5/5 stars for The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes because ZOMG! This book comes out next month and if you appreciate vigilante justice and feminist kickassedness, then you need to preorder immediately. Brutal, rich, angry, necessary. A reminder that no matter who we are, where we come from, what our social status is... as women we are likely to have trauma in common. So joining together and holding each other up INSTEA If this book is not yet on your radar or on your TBR, it needs to be! Hands down 5/5 stars for The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes because ZOMG! This book comes out next month and if you appreciate vigilante justice and feminist kickassedness, then you need to preorder immediately. Brutal, rich, angry, necessary. A reminder that no matter who we are, where we come from, what our social status is... as women we are likely to have trauma in common. So joining together and holding each other up INSTEAD of tearing each other down is more important now than ever.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ricky

    Trigger warnings for this book: rape, sexual assault and allusions/accusations thereof, racism, death of a loved one. Picking up this next book from Colleen Oakes in ARC form at work, I expected it to be a rewrite of her Peter Pan-themed fantasy retelling just like Queen of Hearts and sequels were rewrites of a previous self-published project. But no, instead she gives us a pretty high-stakes - and pretty accidentally relevant, since it was written several years ago before #MeToo became so promin Trigger warnings for this book: rape, sexual assault and allusions/accusations thereof, racism, death of a loved one. Picking up this next book from Colleen Oakes in ARC form at work, I expected it to be a rewrite of her Peter Pan-themed fantasy retelling just like Queen of Hearts and sequels were rewrites of a previous self-published project. But no, instead she gives us a pretty high-stakes - and pretty accidentally relevant, since it was written several years ago before #MeToo became so prominent and topical - contemporary thriller. Well, at the start it doesn't look so contemporary because it begins with a prologue in the 70s, but that's highlighting the catalyzing incident for the eventual start of the Black Coats vigilante group. Their job: justice for women who've been wronged by men, carried out in the form of acts called "Balancings" - usually involving seduction, and then turning the men's own crimes against them. For instance, a guy tries to spike a woman's drink to date-rape her? The Black Coats will roofie him and leave him stripped naked in the middle of a field to properly punish him. Sound cathartic? I'd think so. But that's until, of course, the fine line between justice and vengeance gets crossed as it does way too often in this world. One of the major themes of this book, it is - how maybe the answers shouldn't be so easy, so cut and dried...and if you've got a secret society within your secret society doing the wet work, maybe you need to reevaluate your goals and methods both. Or maybe not. Maybe you want that vengeance because that's just how cruel the world's been to you. Or maybe you're Thea, our main character, in the Black Coats because she's been promised the chance to effect a Balancing that's particularly personal to her, and all the other assignments are stepping stones along the way. Stepping stones to follow while coping with the recent unsolved death of someone she loves and always being on high alert for racism (no less than one woman makes it a point of touching her "cocoa" skin in a most uncomfortable way and calling it such too, and when she, as a Black girl, starts dating a white boy, she fears that others, including the boy's father, will violently disapprove - but no, Thea and Drew's relationship obstacles throughout the book have little to nothing to do with race.) The blurb promises that this book will appeal to fans of Moxie, and I'd agree on the grounds that both books are feminist and set in Texas. Moxie, though, doesn't get nearly this dark - and hell, I've seen a few complaints since Moxie came out that the book was too simplistic and even white feminist to be as effective as it wanted to be. Oakes, though, takes care that the cast of this book isn't so overwhelmingly white, and delves into the moral shades of gray that also helped define the Queen of Hearts trilogy so well. Having a real-life Black Coat group - hell, I can almost imagine the result if they cross over with the similarly styled Black Iris organization in Elliot Wake's books, which would add a pretty strong queer angle as well - could solve a lot of problems. As long as there's no extra-vengeful types looking to rot the whole apple bushel...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dylan

    3 stars. I enjoyed this for the most part considering vigilante feminists is probably my favorite trope of all time, but the characters and the writing bogged it down for me. It was going to be at least a 3.5 right after I finished it, but it's only two days later and I don't really remember anything so it's not exactly the most remember-able book I've read recently.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily (emilykatereads)

    This is a powerful story about getting justice for women for the times they’ve been hurt by men. The times the law didn’t fairly punish and let a criminal walk free with barely a slap on the wrist. A story about the women who’ve been victims and have to suffer alone while their abuser walks free of any punishment. But when does that justice become vengeance? This book covers the morally grey area and explores this topic as our protagonist is initiated into the secret society of the Black Coats du This is a powerful story about getting justice for women for the times they’ve been hurt by men. The times the law didn’t fairly punish and let a criminal walk free with barely a slap on the wrist. A story about the women who’ve been victims and have to suffer alone while their abuser walks free of any punishment. But when does that justice become vengeance? This book covers the morally grey area and explores this topic as our protagonist is initiated into the secret society of the Black Coats due to being angry that her cousin’s killer walks free. The timing for this book’s content is perfect. It was written before the #MeToo movement and was definitely just as relevant an issue then, but this issue has become more prominent in the media and something more people are talking about. As much as it’s satisfying to read about these women getting their justice, the book covers really well where their vigilance goes too far. The romance between Thea and Drew is also woven into the story incredibly well and I actually loved reading about the two developing together. The characters and dynamic between the group of girls, Team Banner, is definitely my favourite aspect of the book. Thea grew as a great leader and each member of the team had their lovable qualities. It made this story really fun to read. I’d definitely recommend reading this book. Be wary of its trigger warnings, such as abuse, rape, assault, and murder, but overall we don’t get as much detail on these things. The most intense moment was probably in the prologue. *ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review* Review can also be found on my blog!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heather (The Sassy Book Geek)

    This was an amazing read and that ending was probably one of the best, most satisfying endings I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Full Review To Come

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nikki S

    Whoa. I was NOT expecting to love this one as much as I did! Real review to come! **EDIT 02/28/19** You can find more of my reviews here at my blog: Take Me Away... I'm going to be honest here and say I almost didn't read this. I read Oakes' debut and let me just tell you, it wasn't my favorite. I added this one to my TBR just because I really liked the cover. I ended up picking it up because I found out it was set in my home state. And the rest is history. Thea's cousin was the victim of a terri Whoa. I was NOT expecting to love this one as much as I did! Real review to come! **EDIT 02/28/19** You can find more of my reviews here at my blog: Take Me Away... I'm going to be honest here and say I almost didn't read this. I read Oakes' debut and let me just tell you, it wasn't my favorite. I added this one to my TBR just because I really liked the cover. I ended up picking it up because I found out it was set in my home state. And the rest is history. Thea's cousin was the victim of a terrible crime and Thea can't seem to let go of her grief. Soon she gets an invitation to join something called the Black Coats, which is said to teach men a lesson for the wrong doings they do to women. But as Thea carries out the Balancings given by the Black Coats, she quickly realizes that the line between justice and harm is a lot more blurry than she thought. Just like with her debut, the writing style is the really the only thing that bothered me here. It starts out in much of the same way, 3rd person POV with lots of unnecessary details. But as it went on, it got stronger. The sentences were now only filled with pertinent information and I realized I had stopped rolling my eyes after some things. And by then I was sucked into the story and didn't want to stop. This story was INTENSE. I have never read anything like this and I'm pretty sure I won't again. I'm amazed that this story came about from a random mixture of things. And I am in awe of the result. There's only a handful of times when I read a book and I'm like I could NEVER write something like this and I'm so thankful there's someone out there that can. Because I get to read it lol As for the characters, I LOVED Thea and her team. They completed each other and they were there for each other. I have to admit, at some times I was reminded of me and my sorority sisters. Their bond was so real and it was so nice to see them helping each other and then seeing what they can all bring to the organization. I was not expecting to love this like I did. I guess that goes to show me, don't use your past reading experiences to judge what you want to read now. You may miss out on something good. I'm glad I didn't miss out on this. I'm still trying to figure out why more people aren't talking about it! This book is definitely something that all need to read. Right now its more relevant than ever and needs to be talked about.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy (novelteahappyme)

    Powerful. Personal. Necessary. These three words keep coming to mind when I think of my experience reading Colleen Oakes latest novel “The Black Coats” and how I intend to describe it in passionate pleas for everyone I know to read it. A contemporary YA novel with beautifully dark gothic touches, "The Black Coats" introduces us to Thea Soloman. Mourning the recent horrific and unsolved murder of her best friend and cousin Natalie, Thea is deep in grief and struggling to get through the senseless Powerful. Personal. Necessary. These three words keep coming to mind when I think of my experience reading Colleen Oakes latest novel “The Black Coats” and how I intend to describe it in passionate pleas for everyone I know to read it. A contemporary YA novel with beautifully dark gothic touches, "The Black Coats" introduces us to Thea Soloman. Mourning the recent horrific and unsolved murder of her best friend and cousin Natalie, Thea is deep in grief and struggling to get through the senseless days at her Austin, Texas high school. That is until a mysterious black envelope with Thea's name on it appears and leads her to a secretive organization known as "The Black Coats" exacting revenge on men who have caused harm to women and girls in the Austin community and gotten away with it. Thea begins training with a team of seemingly mismatched young women known as "Team Banner" as they prepare for missions, known as Balancings, that blur the murky line between justice and revenge. Oakes has also done a wonderful job creating a menagerie of memorable characters that surround Thea in her Black Coats endeavours, each with their own tragic backstory and special skill valued by the leaders of the organization. The standout here is the supporting character of Bea. Without spoiling any major story points, I'll just say that Bea has an unique skill that ends up playing a very important role in the story. One that is sure to leave readers begging for a novel that tells Bea's story and offers her own narrative. "The Black Coats" offers readers, both teen and adult, many things. It's a poignant and necessary tale in the #MeToo era. It's a heart-thumping thriller. It's a personal story of grief and loss. It's a novel showing the powerful but sometimes complex nature of female friendship. And it's absolute perfection. With a release date of 02/12/19, this YA novel is certain to make it’s mark as one of the early best reads of 2019. Add this one to your TBR list right now!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shyla

    I was lucky enough to win this from a giveaway. I want to thank Harper Teen for providing me with this arc. First thoughts: The epilogue blew me away and made me want to read further. After reading further: The writing was hard to adjust to but after about 70 pages I really started to love this story. I became extremely attached to the main character Thea. I also started to really like the other girls in this story. At first, they were just side characters but they slowly became really important. I was lucky enough to win this from a giveaway. I want to thank Harper Teen for providing me with this arc. First thoughts: The epilogue blew me away and made me want to read further. After reading further: The writing was hard to adjust to but after about 70 pages I really started to love this story. I became extremely attached to the main character Thea. I also started to really like the other girls in this story. At first, they were just side characters but they slowly became really important. There is some romance in this book but it never overshadows the plot. That was something I really loved, not once was the romance more important than the women in this book. I would have liked to see the friendship between all the characters grow more but I was still happy to see them kick ass together. The only real problem I have with this book, besides the weird first few chapters, was how it fell so short 3/4 of the way through the book. It was so strong until that part and then it became really unrealistic which I hated and is why I knocked it down a star. If not for the last half of this book it would've been a five-star rating. I would really love to see Colleen Oakes tackle another story like this because the book was absolutely captivating. I would still highly recommend this to anyone that is thinking of reading this. The author presents a story about women who are tired of seeing themselves and others become statistics and decide to live in the gray area of the law. It was an engaging and unflinching look at the hell women live through.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    1.5 stars. DNF just under 100 pages. Oh boy. First of all, let me just start off by saying that this was a brilliant concept. I mean, it was the whole reason I picked up the novel - a vigilante, feminist girl group? Where do I join? Except the concept was literally the only good thing about this novel. (Apart from the brief diversity that I saw in the few pages I read; Thea appears to be mixed-race, for instance.) The writing style in this was such a massive let down. Seriously. It fluctuated between 1.5 stars. DNF just under 100 pages. Oh boy. First of all, let me just start off by saying that this was a brilliant concept. I mean, it was the whole reason I picked up the novel - a vigilante, feminist girl group? Where do I join? Except the concept was literally the only good thing about this novel. (Apart from the brief diversity that I saw in the few pages I read; Thea appears to be mixed-race, for instance.) The writing style in this was such a massive let down. Seriously. It fluctuated between being shallow, unrealistic, immature, and just genuinely poorly written. Oakes made scenes feel completely unrealistic with the way in which she wrote them (eg. the whole manner in which Thea was recruited), and her characterisation felt really insubstantial. Nixon, for example, the 'president' of Thea's Black Coat 'team', would go from spouting off really really preachy feminist ideas (they literally almost felt like they were being quoted from a textbook on feminism) to suddenly being portrayed as a huge bitch and a complete hardass - the type of characterisation you see in early YA fiction, for example. She completely attacks another girl in Thea's group for bullying... by being a bully herself? And she follows this verbal tirade with one of the most random actions I've ever read a character bully do - flicking the girl on the lips. Because um.... what exactly is flicking her lips going to achieve? Apart from making you look like one of the most stupidest people ever, that is. I'm sorry, but the whole set-up of how the Black Coats worked just felt absolutely ridiculous, and I did not believe it for one second. I mean, there's suspension of disbelief, and then there's just being on a whole different level, honestly. I just... yeah. I'm extremely disappointed in this one, in case it wasn't already obvious. The execution of the whole thing really let it down, and I don't want to be rude, but this could have been an amazing book had another author written it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Richie Partington

    Richie’s Picks: THE BLACK COATS by Colleen Oakes, Harper Teen, February 2019. 400p., ISBN: 978-0-06-267962-8 Last week, CNN reported a Valentine’s Day message from America’s best-known convicted serial date rapist: “In his first public statement from prison, Bill Cosby said he will never have remorse for his crimes and called himself a political prisoner. ‘My political beliefs, my actions of trying to humanize all races, genders and religions landed me in this place surrounded by barb wire fencing, Richie’s Picks: THE BLACK COATS by Colleen Oakes, Harper Teen, February 2019. 400p., ISBN: 978-0-06-267962-8 Last week, CNN reported a Valentine’s Day message from America’s best-known convicted serial date rapist: “In his first public statement from prison, Bill Cosby said he will never have remorse for his crimes and called himself a political prisoner. ‘My political beliefs, my actions of trying to humanize all races, genders and religions landed me in this place surrounded by barb wire fencing, a room made of steel and iron,’ the comedian said in a statement released through his press spokesman, Andrew Wyatt. Cosby, 81, also noted that his cell at SCI Phoenix, the prison outside Philadelphia where he is serving his sentence, ‘resembles the quarters of some of the Greatest Political Prisoners -- Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Randal Robinson, and Dr. Benjamin Chavis.’" If that’s supposed to be comedy, I don’t get it. “It was me And a gun And a man On my back And I sang ‘Holly Holy’ As he buttoned down his pants” -- Tori Amos “Me and a Gun” (1991) “The target’s name was Jonathan Samper, and he worked at an upscale farm-to-table eatery called Pear, near downtown Austin. They parked Mirabelle’s car outside the restaurant right before closing time. ‘They are going to hate us. People who come to restaurants right before closing time are the worst,’ muttered Louise. Casey shook her head. ‘Only you would worry about being polite during a Balancing.’ She turned to Thea. ‘Do you have everything?’ Thea nodded, pulling a tiny black vial out of her pocket. ‘One powdered dose of Rohypnol, generously supplied by the luminaries.’ According to their Balancing sheet, twenty-one-year-old Jonathan Samper had been accused of drugging and date-raping not one but two of his girlfriends. Because they didn’t go to the police immediately, there was no physical evidence to charge him. He remained in good standing both at school and at work, while the two women he raped suffered the shame of their reputations. That was all about to change. Team Banner was dressed nicely today; under their Black Coats they each wore a dressy outfit to blend in at Pear. A bunch of girls all dressed in head-to-toe black would have drawn attention, and that was the last thing they needed. ‘This is on Mademoiselle Corday, right?’ asked Casey, standing at the door. ‘I looked at the menu last night and it’s pretty pricey.’ Thea nodded. ‘Yes, but don’t go crazy. No duck. Sandwiches all around.’ ‘Or salads!’ suggested Mirabelle cheerfully. Thea’s fingers curled around the vial in her dress pocket. She was nervous, and the setting sun was beating down on her coat. She couldn’t stop seeing Drew’s disappointed face in her mind. ‘Let’s do this, Team Banner.’” Mirabelle has the face. Thea runs fast. Casey’s strengths are driving and computer hacking. Louise is a black belt. And Bea has stellar hypnotizing skills. Together they are Team Banner, five high school girls who are on a mission to disable known predators and abusers of women. Their targets are criminals who have evaded the arrests and convictions that they deserve. The team members were recruited by the Luminaries of the Black Coats, a secret organization, of which Team Banner is a part. Each girl has a heartbreaking reason to be a Black Coats member. They have been trained, as a team, to complete the Balancings, actions designed to avenge past crimes and ensure that their targets will no longer be a threat to women. Those in charge, who draw up and assign the Balancings, are clever in their plans to uncover and humiliate their quarry. It’s much more about justice and keeping other women safe than it is about revenge. Not that revenge isn’t deserved and undoubtedly satisfying! There are so many great twists and surprises in this topically relevant, #metoo era, YA thriller. Thea, the main character, gets herself in quite a bit of a bind, falling for a good guy at school and then having to hide her time-consuming, secret alter-identity from Drew. Not knowing what is going to arise next in terms of school, parents, boyfriend, or the organization, I found that the four hundred pages of following Thea flew by way too quickly. The only thing more I could ask for--perhaps with a bit of luck and magic--is that Thea and her team eventually meet up with with a certain unapologetic pussy grabber and give him his due. Fortunately, Bill Cosby is already where he belongs. Richie Partington, MLIS Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/ richiepartington@gmail.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Celia McMahon

    If you are looking for an exciting YA read with some amazing heroines, this is the one for you! Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper for the e-arc! This book is about Thea, whose cousin was the victim of a crime that she just can't make her herself forget. She gets an invitation to join a club called the Black Coats soon after, which is a sort of vigilante group to punish men for the wrongdoings they did to women. But Thea soon realizes that justice is a thin line that can be crossed into dangerous If you are looking for an exciting YA read with some amazing heroines, this is the one for you! Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper for the e-arc! This book is about Thea, whose cousin was the victim of a crime that she just can't make her herself forget. She gets an invitation to join a club called the Black Coats soon after, which is a sort of vigilante group to punish men for the wrongdoings they did to women. But Thea soon realizes that justice is a thin line that can be crossed into dangerous territory. This book was intense at times. The originality of it had me amazed. As a writer, I often think of how an author comes up with these stories that I wished I had written it myself! As a protagonist, I loved Thea and her team. Their bond was tight and as real as anything. I was reminded a lot of groups I've been in where we all help each other out, no questions asked. That kind of friendship and love is rare. This book needs to be on everyone's radar. I'm surprised it's not talked about as much as it should be. It was raw and emotional with morally grey characters that captivated me on every page.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aubrey

    I was really disappointed with this book. I was really hoping for a deeper exploration of grief, vengeance, justice, and retribution as filtered through the persepctive of a character that has been affected by crime/violence. What I got was a watered down teen mystery/conspiracy story with a heavy romance thrown in. This could have been so much better!! I, for one, am completely sick of every YA book needing to have a romance because it seems to be expected. It's not so bad when the romance is u I was really disappointed with this book. I was really hoping for a deeper exploration of grief, vengeance, justice, and retribution as filtered through the persepctive of a character that has been affected by crime/violence. What I got was a watered down teen mystery/conspiracy story with a heavy romance thrown in. This could have been so much better!! I, for one, am completely sick of every YA book needing to have a romance because it seems to be expected. It's not so bad when the romance is used to support the story in some way but here it was just a distraction for me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Disappointed. So disappointed. I mean, I was promised a secret society of vigilante women dealing out justice to men who’ve committed crimes against women. That is, I was expecting a lot of stabbing, dicks being chopped off, gritty scenes, and a rather dark story. I was NOT expecting vigilante justice take the backseat to a melodramatic high school love story. Nor did I expect a very dubious take on hypnosis. Or flat characters, or a soap-opera-esque story. Or being bored out of my scull. I reall Disappointed. So disappointed. I mean, I was promised a secret society of vigilante women dealing out justice to men who’ve committed crimes against women. That is, I was expecting a lot of stabbing, dicks being chopped off, gritty scenes, and a rather dark story. I was NOT expecting vigilante justice take the backseat to a melodramatic high school love story. Nor did I expect a very dubious take on hypnosis. Or flat characters, or a soap-opera-esque story. Or being bored out of my scull. I really should learn that when a YA-book is marketed and promoted as ‘dark and edgy’, it never is. And as per usual, when you think you’ve finally found a good story with morally grey characters, they ALWAYS have to change into “good” ones. Ugh. Fuck that.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    This was gloriously readable and I stayed up way too late last night trying unsuccessfully to finish it. A secret society of women made to fuck up men who fuck up women? Uh yeah, sign me up for that. My only complaint is that it's billed as look at justice vs. revenge and I think it could have gone deeper on that. There are characters who think one way and characters who think another, but I would have liked to see the gray areas examined a bit more closely. Still, that's being pretty picky abou This was gloriously readable and I stayed up way too late last night trying unsuccessfully to finish it. A secret society of women made to fuck up men who fuck up women? Uh yeah, sign me up for that. My only complaint is that it's billed as look at justice vs. revenge and I think it could have gone deeper on that. There are characters who think one way and characters who think another, but I would have liked to see the gray areas examined a bit more closely. Still, that's being pretty picky about a book I really, really enjoyed. Trigger warnings for all violence against women, but especially sexual violence

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