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Vigilante Hardcover – March 28, 2017
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"This tale of rape culture and failures of the justice system...provides valuable discussion material." -Booklist
About the Author
Kady Cross, publishing under various names, is a USA TODAY bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Harlequin TEEN's Steampunk Chronicles. She is lucky enough to have a husband who shares her love for the slightly twisted and all things geek, and a houseful of cats with whom she shares her darkest secrets. Her love of books and makeup borders on addiction—of which she never, ever wants to be cured. Visit her on the web at www.alterkate.com or on Twitter: @AlterKates.
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Top Customer Reviews
After being raped by four popular boys, Hadley's best friend Magda commits suicide when the boys go free and she's slut shamed. Determined to give the guys the justice they deserve, Hadley dons a pink mask and goes after them, one by one, using her martial arts training. She becomes known as the Pink Vigilante. Soon other young women are wearing pink masks, protecting other potential victims.
In all honesty, VIGILANTE is at most a three-star book, but I enjoyed the spirit of the story and reading it do much I inflated my review. This is a book about empowerment, self-defense and protecting oneself and others.
Although Magda's rape was caught on tape and blasted over social media, the wealthy boys still escaped legal consequences and are just as popular. They're even considered victims of false accusations. She's still blamed for her attack--she shouldn't have dressed so sexy, shouldn't have drank, shouldn't have had a crush on the guy who started the gang rape.
Unwanted touch, sexual assault and rape are too common, though even one attack is too many. Everybody knows someone who has been touched against her will. Even if you don't realize it, you do. Your mother, sister, aunt, girlfriend, friend, father, brother, uncle, boyfriend, spouse. Maybe even you. Assault is NEVER the fault of the victim. No matter what. Rapists are 100% responsible for rape. As Hadley told her mother, she could be drunk, walk naked through her school waving a pack of condoms, and nobody would have the right to rape her.
Another excellent component of VIGILANTE was the sex-positive message for girls, that wanting and enjoying sex is healthy and okay, condoms are a given not an afterthought and anyone can change her mind at any point during the process.
The message of VIGILANTE sometimes fails in its execution. The book is very violent. Revenge is not justice, though often without consequence in the book. Hadley went too far with the first three boys and probably committed several crimes. The fact they escaped justice didn't mean she was right to commit crimes against them. I wasn't sorry to see the rapists get their comeuppance, I would have liked it to be within the bounds of the law. I wouldn't have wanted my own rape to have been avenged in those manners.
The quality of Kady Cross's writing was average at best, often awkward. For example, Hadley repeatedly used phrases like "the older woman said" to describe the police officer's dialogue. Granted, a thirty-something-year-old might seem like an older woman, but when only the two were present, "she" would have sufficed and been less clunky. The action scenes were well-written.
I strongly recommend VIGILANTE for schools with follow-up discussions on consent.
Hadley and Magda were best friends, then one night at a party, Magda was raped by four boys after she was drugged. When charges were pressed every single one of them got off scot free. And soon it became too much for Magda and she committed suicide. She had had it rough ever since the incident and Hadley feels the tremendous guilt over her death. And having to see the four boys every day at school living it up, she starts to get very vengeful and dark thoughts.
By happenstance, Hadley is able to exact revenge over one of the boys and outing him as a rapist. And slowly a plan starts to form. Soon she decides she wants to humiliate and shame all four of these boys and get the justice that Magda deserves.
I have to say, I quite liked Hadley’s plan. Maybe I have a touch of a dark side or whatever you want to call it, but I find revenge stories to be quite enjoyable! The Count of Monte Cristo, anyone? And in a way, Hadley takes on a bit of Edmund’s role. She doesn’t want to kill these guys, she wants them to suffer.
The book explores a very sensitive topic; rape. I felt like Kady handles it very well and realistically. I personally have not nor do I know anyone who has experience such a horrific thing, so I can’t really say how much realism it has, but I felt like she did a very good job with discussing it.
Hadley ends up making new friends in her quest for justice and I have to say I enjoyed that too. I was afraid she might be all Batman like and want to take on everyone herself. While in some ways that is still true, her newfound friends help her through stuff more than she could ever hope for.
And then of course there’s Gabriel, who was Magda’s older brother and who Hadley had been crushing on for a while. I found their budding romance to be sweet and helped to bring some light into the otherwise dark topic.
Hadley’s life really spins out of control as the boys she’s after are aware that someone is out to get them. Some things that happen are quite sickening. And it makes me even more happier to be out of high school. But then a few other little things actually took me by surprise.
Needless to say that this book was both dark but coupled with those little moments that were light-hearted and surprising. It was quite the read! The ending was pretty shocking too. Some things really made my stomach turn sour in this one, the things that these boys got away with, how they were basically boys with powerful parents who could own the town was nauseating. But never once did I feel like quitting, mostly because I was riding on Hadley’s need for revenge and wanted to see these boys shamed.
Vigilante didn’t disappoint either. It was engaging and enticing as I had to see how things would turn out for Hadley. And I must say I was quite surprised by the final ending, but happy as well. Just hoping those unspoken things turn out for the better and are not ones that will haunt Hadley later on.
This book reads very much as a standalone. Things are completely resolved and are left in a way that we get a satisfying conclusion and yet feel like these characters will still go on to live their lives.
I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book that was so emotional before. And it’s not quite your typical emotions either. I think that’s what appealed to me about this story, and of course Kady Cross’s name on the cover. I feel like this was a very empowering book, as the girls in it, are coming together and fighting for one another. It almost makes me wonder what town they live in, as to avoid it due to all the sexual harassment that goes on and is left unpunished, but I digress! This was a very powerful read and it pretty much cements my belief that I will read just about any of Kady’s books too!
Overall Rating 5/5 stars
‘Vigilante’ is a raw look at rape culture, suicide, PTSD and male privilege in our society. Hadley attempts to take back some of the power that was taken from Magda. Although I didn’t necessarily agree with how Hadley takes back power, I did love how Cross portrayed Hadley as strong and passionate. I also loved the background characters such as Zoe and Gabe. They gave Hadley the support she needed. I also liked how realistically flawed all the characters were.
The pace of the book was definitely fast. I flew through it. The prose was also well done and easy to read.
I do think that the story did come on a little strong as fare as ‘rape culture’ in our society is concerned. Also, I would have liked more details of how Drew’s attorney got him and his friends off on the rape charge. There seemed to be a ton of evidence against him. Including evidence that he drugged Magda.
The deep undertone of ‘Vigilante’ is that Magda was not the only one affected by her rape. Her family and friends and even her community was deeply affected as well.
Even though I think that ‘Vigilante’ will no doubt be a trigger for some, it is an important read. ‘Vigilante’ opens a starting point for discussion.