The Black Coats
The Black Coats
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Annotation: The cousin of a girl whose killer went free is invited to join a covert society of assassins who exact revenge on men who hurt women, an organization that tests her resolve with their escalating levels of brutality.
Catalog Number: #173306
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 376 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-06-267962-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-267962-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018952014
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Thea is grieving the violent murder of her cousin when she is invited to join the Black Coats cloak-and-dagger organization of women that exacts vengeance on men who have abused women but have been let off by the system. Thea and her cohort of recruits are all dealing with grief, trauma, and anger at the hands of men, and are primed to participate in Balancings, revenge missions that involve varying degrees of violence. As intensity of the Balancings ramps up, the young women uncover some scary information about the organization's real mission and have to make tough decisions about how far they'll go for justice. There is fun to be had between the action-packed training sequences, dashes of romance, and the marvelously gothic Black Coat home base, but Oakes' main message is about trauma, abuse, who deserves an opportunity for redemption, and who gets to decide. While the ending makes a stab at providing a rational middle ground, the satisfying epilogue leaves questions open for the reader. Enjoyably over the top, with some great ethical questions to explore.
Kirkus Reviews
A grieving teen joins up with a sophisticated vigilante sisterhood.Austin, Texas, high school junior and talented runner Thea Soloman is still grieving after the murder of her cousin and best friend, Natalie. When Thea is invited to join a secret group called the Black Coats, she finds new meaning. Thea and her teammates are trained to take vengeance on men who have wronged women and gotten away with it, with the promise of exacting revenge of their own. Thea becomes consumed by the Black Coats and also finds love with handsome fellow student Drew Porter. But soon the dangerous missions, called Balancings, blur the line between justice and torture, and Thea soon discovers the Black Coats are much more than they seem. Readers must suspend disbelief to allow for the existence of a decades-old secret society of teen harbingers of vengeance who have largely managed to get away with so much for so long, but this satisfying feminist tale is so fierce they likely won't care. Thea is biracial (her mother is black and her father white), Drew is white, and most supporting characters, except for one Black Coat of Middle Eastern descent, are assumed white. Oakes (War of the Cards, 2017, etc.) asks readers to seriously consider the sometimes-destructive nature of grief as well as justice, vengeance, and the many moral shades of gray between the two.An explosive thriller that is all too timely in the #MeToo era. (Thriller. 13-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up{amp}mdash; Mindy McGinnis's The Female of the Species meets Ally Carter's "Gallagher Girls" in this thriller with deeper themes about grief and justice. Thea Soloman's junior year has been spent running track and grieving for her cousin Natalie until she gets a mysterious invitation. The secret group is called The Black Coats. They are dedicated to the punishment of those who hurt women and they want Thea as a trainee. In return for participation in Balancings, which range from blackmail to beatings, Thea is promised justice for Natalie. As she is drawn deeper in the group, she learns that the Black Coats are not what they seem and that justice is never simple. Thea has a chance to make things right, but not without giving up knowing the truth about Natalie's murder. This is a perfectly paced thriller, even stronger for Thea's grief remaining real and present despite the continuous action. Thea is a complex protagonist who has a clear and relatable motivation, making it much easier to buy into the secret society of women vigilantes. The female friendships far outshine the rather quick-moving romance, easily the weakest part of the book. While there is a fair amount of violence, it's present to serve the plot and themes rather than for shock value. VERDICT This timely page-turner has a strong hook and will not sit on shelves for long. Recommended for all libraries.{amp}mdash; Elizabeth Saxton, Tiffin, OH
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ALA Booklist (12/1/18)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (12/1/18)
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 9-12


Moxie meets Female of the Species in this powerful, thrilling, and deeply resonant novel about a secret society of girls who plot revenge on the men who hurt them.

The enigmatic Black Coats have been exacting vengeance on men who have hurt girls and women for years. The killer of Thea's cousin went free, and Thea has just received an invitation to join the Black Coats' balancings—acts of revenge meant to teach a lesson. Justice for Natalie has never felt so close.

But as the balancings escalate in brutality, Thea’s clear-cut mission begins to unravel and she must decide just how far she is willing to go for justice.

Because when the line between justice and revenge is paper thin, it’s hard not to get cut.

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