The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes: Styled By Books + Mini-Review

I’m super excited about the book featured in today’s edition of Styled By Books. The Black Coats by Colleen Oakes is about a secretive organization that seeks out justice against the men who harm women. But are these acts of vigilantism really justice, or just revenge?

This book is a BIG MOOD for me (and I suspect a lot of other women these days), and I loved the way Oakes covers the fine line between justice and revenge. The emotions of wanting to see justice served when the system itself is broken is so familiar to me, and many others — but how do we deal with that? How do we fight using that broken system? There is no easy answer, but The Black Coats explores these questions thoughtfully and poignantly in a contemporary lens.

One of the things I really loved about this book is the way it focused on female friendships, and women empowering other women. And, okay, yeah, there was a romantic subplot that was totally adorable and swoon-worthy, and I loved the natural, easy relationship between Thea and Drew.

For this Styled By Books look, I started by drawing on the book’s striking cover. I paired a golden mustard yellow dress from eShakti with one of my favorite cropped cardigans from Mod Cloth. And because the characters in the book really DO rock some distinctive black coats … yeah, I threw on my own black coat for this photo op. (My coat is actually this Harry Potter one.)

Because of the distinctive butterfly on the book’s cover (and because the black butterfly is actually a big part of the book), I added this beaded butterfly broach that I found at a local craft store. And they don’t show up in any of the pictures, but I was also wearing some cool black butterfly earrings I made to go with this outfit.

I have to confess, this is one of the simpler Styled By Books outfits I’ve put together — but it’s also one of my favorites. When you’ve got a cover that’s so distinct, it helps in pulling together a coordinated outfit.

The Black Coats is in stores February 12th & you can submit your pre-order information until February 11th to receive some cool goodies & be entered to win a ModCloth gift card. Here is the official synopsis:

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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