Genre: Fiction, YA
Similar to: The worst Twilight fan fiction.
Could be enjoyed by: Sadists.
Publication date: 15th January 2013
WHAT EVEN IS THIS BOOK????
I was amazed – AMAZED – that there is an entire fandom surrounding the Foxhole Court series. I literally have no idea why. My notes when reading it include “I don’t even know what the story is about any more”, “Exy appears to be completely unfathomable” and “surely those contact lenses ain’t fooling anyone?” It was badly written, badly structured, had massive plot holes, was overly detailed in parts then woefully scant in others. I felt like I had started a trilogy in the middle of book two.
The essential premise is that a teenager called Neil has a dodgy past and ends up going on the run with his mother. Something happens to her (murdered? Suicide? I’m not clear) so he makes a run for it, changing his name and wearing coloured contact lenses as a disguise. Oh, and I think he dyes his hair but that’s never mentioned. Neil is a good Exy player (which as far as I can tell us a kind of violent lacrosse) and (I think) used to play for a good team so miraculously ends up playing for his high school (I’m not even going into why he would go back to school, or how he would enrol with no paperwork) and gets picked up by the Foxes, some kind of reject Raggydoll college team that’s only made up of violent psycopaths, drug addicts and the euphemistically titled “people with a past”. Why they’re interested in Neil is beyond me, seeing as his past is a total secret, but there you go. He joins the team, they nearly kill/maim/sexually assault him on a number of occasions, they practice drills but never an actual game (come on…really?) then there’s some kind of feud and I don’t even know.
You might feel like I’ve left a lot out of that explanation and you might be a little confused – well, join the club! I honestly couldn’t make head not tail of the story. The ridiculous premise keeps getting weirder as you find out more about Neil (literally his Mum’s dying wish is that he stops playing Exy; next thing you know he’s in a college team playing the kids of the family who are after him). I don’t know enough about college sports in the US to be able to comment on whether the unknown new recruit to the worst team in a college league would be invited on to what seemed to be Good Morning America but I’m guessing that’s not a normal occurance. Similarly, I think you might run a mile if the family that are after you have members in a rival team that you make a personal enemy of – especially if you have thousands of dollars in the bank?
See what I mean about plot holes?
The characters were mostly all horrible psychopathic bullies (some weird shit about earning their approval) so I couldn’t emotionally connect with any of them and Neil had so much of his past hidden that I couldn’t get a handle on him either. The other Exy players weren’t exactly well fleshed out as individuals (one dimensional is putting it mildly) so I kept getting confused about who was who. There was also a horribly problematic scene where they purposefully spike Neil’s drink and he wakes up in bed with (I think) the perpetrator…but it’s ok because he assures him that nothing happened. I don’t even know where to start with that one – except to say that THAT IS TOTALLY NOT OK, ILLEGAL, HIGHLY DANGEROUS AND COULD HAVE LED TO LITERALLY ANYTHING HAPPENING. Oh, and saying “hey, nothing happened!” (especially if all of your previous interactions have been creepily flirty) doesn’t make it better.
Despite The Foxhole Court appearing to be the most complicated book in history, it’s surprising how little actually happens. I mean, considering it’s meant to be about Exy it takes over half of the novel to even get to a practice drill and nearly 80% before they even play their first game together (in front of thousands of fans – their first game together) but I have to say that the writing did improve once the game actually got going – so much so that I almost considered getting book two.
The Foxhole Court is basically an ok-ish premise executed poorly. The writing is awkward, the plot holds less water than the Titanic and the characters are just horrible. The fact that it has a fandom (I mean, a HUGE, obsessive fandom) suggests that I’m obviously missing something so maybe I’m just to old to appreciate it but this book definitely wasn’t for me.
Rating: one and a half “people seriously like this?” out of five.
Please note that I read this book because the Orangutan Librarian said it was complete nonsense and I didn’t believe it could be that bad.
Turns out she was right.