I went back and forth about requesting Vigilante. I think I was a little bit scared of it. I read a lot of darker themed YA books, what I call gritty, but I usually have to build up my courage before I start them. It’s not that I don’t think they’re important, it’s more about how they’re so important and so prevalent I’m hesitant to confront the horrors of life. It’s why I read so much romance. I like being carried away to a place with a HEA/HFN. Sometimes I need something that has a Happily Ever After ending. Anyway, I did request it, and after weeks of staring at it I finally built up enough gumption to read it.
Unfortunately I read it while I binge watched 13 Reasons Why. Let me tell you, reading two similar stories about Rape and Suicide was not an easy thing to do! I may need something puppies and rainbows for a few weeks yet, especially if my daughter ever wants to graduate to High School.
Anyway, onto the review.
Vigilante is obviously about a girl who decides to get justice for victims of a crime, in this case it was sexual assault. (Justice is what she calls it, but it was really revenge. I get why, of course. I just wanted to establish that I knew the difference, and exactly which one Hadley wanted.) So, first impressions, this was something I knew I wanted to read. However, I was also really nervous because the idea of a Vigilante sounds good on Arrow or in a comic book, but in real life it kinda freaks me out. I’m all for the bad guys getting what they deserve, but I’m also so non-violent the idea of violence in the real (not comic book) world physically makes me feel ill. I just don’t like to read about people getting hurt. I know Vigilante isn’t real life, but a book like this one, set in our time, in our world, dealing with our problems, it felt real. So, needless to say I was nervous it may be too much for me.
I do think sometimes, particularly one scene, was a tad too much. BUT, the nice thing about the story was Hadley wasn’t trying to play it off like everything she did was vindicated. When she took things too far, she felt guilt. She second guessed her actions. She wondered what she was turning into herself. If you are inflicting horrors on someone, regardless of their actions, aren’t you no better yourself? I love that the story took the conversation there. If it hadn’t, if it had tried to glorify what Hadley was doing at all points, I may have rated Vigilante much lower.
I did have a few issues. For instance, I wasn’t much a fan of the ending. I would have liked it if the story hadn’t gone there. If you want the spoiler, highlight the next section: I didn’t think the sexual assault on Hadley was necessary. We already had what happened to Magda, and the reveal about Zoe. I liked how the motivation was about the loss of a friend and the protection of others. I also struggled a bit with Hadley’s relationship with her own parents. I think I just enjoy it more when authors dare to write about good parents and healthy relationships. That one could just be me though.
And finally, I wish there had been more about Gabe. Maybe that one sounds strange because he was in it a lot, but it didn’t feel necessary. I know why it was, what Hadley’s relationship with Gabe represented. I just would have liked to feel their connection stronger than I did, so I could feel that representation and not just read the words.
All in all, a solid 4 star read. I’ve already recommended it to others.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.