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The Wicked and the Just

3.64 of 5 stars 3.64  ·  rating details  ·  1,400 ratings  ·  384 reviews
This powerful historical fiction debut, set in medieval Wales, follows Cecily whose family is lured by cheap land and the duty of all Englishman to help keep down the “vicious” Welshmen, and Gwenhwyfar, a Welsh girl who must wait hand and foot on her new English mistress. As issues of prejudice, heritage, and occupation come to a head, both girls have to find a way to surv ...more
Hardcover, 345 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Cinder by Marissa MeyerThe Selection by Kiera CassUnder the Never Sky by Veronica RossiEverneath by Brodi AshtonIncarnate by Jodi Meadows
2012 Debut Authors (Young Adult & Middle Grade)
129th out of 973 books — 5,796 voters
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFeversScarlet by A.C. GaughenCode Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinClockwork Prince by Cassandra ClareBorn Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
YA Historical Fiction 2012
19th out of 117 books — 673 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tatiana
Mar 06, 2012 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tatiana by: Kirkus
As seen on The Readventurer.

How much do you know about Wales? 13th century Wales? Invasion of Wales by England?

Nothing? Do not fret, neither did I before reading The Wicked and the Just. I can claim to know a little tiny bit about the history of tension between Scotland and England, thanks to Diana Gabaldon and the tidbits of historical information she puts in between hunky Jamie Fraser's kilted adventures in Outlander books. But about Wales I knew absolutely nothing. Now I can thank J. Anderson
...more
Emily May


I'm so sorry that this review has taken me forever and a day to write, I truly hate it when real life swoops in and drops a bunch of university essays on my head and also a dash of relationship drama... but, alas, it happens. It took me about two weeks to read this book and that doesn't in any way reflect on the quality of it - it's just that spare time and I haven't seen much of each other recently. I actually enjoyed The Wicked and the Just immensely.

On the surface this seemed an awful lot li
...more
Jo
“I see it in your face, Gwenhwyfar. And believe me, I’m sorely tempted to let you, but by God, we are not animals, no matter how many times they say as much.”

Wow, this book was not what I expecting.
For a start, I seemed to have got it into my head that this was set in the Victorian times (don’t ask why, I have no idea!) and secondly, I thought it was a murder mystery (again, I have no idea).
I’ve told you before that I have a strange habit of reading synopses for books, ignoring them and just
...more
Noelle
Mar 27, 2012 Noelle rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Noelle by: Jo
4.5 stars
When I saw that Netgalley described this book as a combination between Catherine, Called Birdy and Braveheart, I promptly elbowed everyone out of the way to get to a computer and press "request". I'm so glad I did.

It's true, I have a soft spot for medieval smartasses and Cecily, one of the protagonists, indeed reminds me of Birdy with her acerbic wit and sometimes spiteful sense of humor. Over-dramatic and spoiled, Cecily is sure her life is over once her father moves the family to Wal
...more
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
Read my review here...

http://badassbookreviews.com/arc-revi...

or below...

What an interesting book. Seriously! I don't know if it was the alternating POV between Gwinny and Cecily, the violence and poverty, or the setting that kept me reading but I'm sure glad I did.

The Characters ARE the Story

You have two young women, living two different lives, but in the same place. It's a very simple story but it is surrounded by prejudices, violence, poverty, abuse, privilege and power.

Cecily is a spoiled an
...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

Surprisingly enough, quality YA historical fiction is hard to find. Unsurprisingly, when one does finally show up, it does not go unnoticed. The Wicked and the Just is a splendid debut, thoroughly researched and gorgeously written. Despite the overwhelming grimness, there is just enough hope shining through to make it bearable. If stories were people, I’d say this one is a lionheart.

Caernarvorn in 1294 was a great place to live – as long as you were English.*

The Wicked and the Just takes place
...more
Isamlq
Going in blind on this one really did pay off. The sometimes self-deceiving, spoiled brat of a daughter that was Cecily could be in turns exasperating, annoying then fascinating. Because really how could she even claim to have had played no part in what was going on (specifically, in what her Gwinny had suffered)? She was exasperating and annoying in how stuck she was in feeling entitled to so many things. Yet, fascinating too because when the moment called for it, she did open her eyes. And suc ...more
Telemachus
Mar 27, 2012 Telemachus rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves language, history, and beautiful explorations of the human condition
Recommended to Telemachus by: It called to me from the bookshelf...
Normally I enjoy writing reviews, but it's bittersweet this time, because I'm not ready to close THE WICKED AND THE JUST, not eager to intone its requiem.

Beautiful from beginning to end, the tale grows in seasons, winning the reader with new tenor at each turn--jocose, playful, biting, disquieting, unexpected, tearful. Coats writes with a style and diction that will lose some, I'm sure, but only to more greatly win over others who cherish TH White, Defoe, and the like. There is an aesthetic qual
...more
Keertana
“God is indeed merciful to sinners.”

Cecily’s world has just ended. Edgeley Hall, the beloved manor that was once to become hers, is now property of her Uncle Robert. Now, Cecily must move to Caernarvon, a beautiful castle in occupied Wales where Cecily will become the lady of the house. Little does Cecily know that the home she is to occupy would have once been the house of a different lady, if only the circumstances were not what they were. Gwen should rightly be the lady of Caernarvon, but
...more
Laura
This review originally appeared on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

FNL Character rating: The contentious relationship between Tyra Collette and Lyla Garrity.

“To the Victor Belong the Spoils” and “Winner Takes All” are common sayings. It makes sense on some levels. Someone wins, someone loses. Winner takes, loser gives. In the context of Monopoly, it’s all fun and games. But what about when it comes to occupying someone’s land in real life? Or taking over their culture? Stripping them or their home? And
...more
Kell Andrews
A gripping story of a 1293 Wales with two strong-willed, but deeply flawed main characters -- displaced Cecily, who longs for her genteel English home but has accompanied her burgess father to the walled castle town of Caernarvan, and her angry, wounded servant Gwenhwyfar, whose own father was hanged and left to rot on the castle wall for fighting against the English king. J. Anderson Coats conveys the history very vividly. More remarkably, she made me care for two adversarial characters who wer ...more
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
The final fifty pages of this book had me contradictorily unwilling to finish and anxious for resolution to several characters I was invested in. The Wicked and the Just is a very character-driven novel, but thankfully, both Cecily and Gwenhwyfar are both more than capable of bearing the weight of this 350 page novel. Though this is in the mid-300's, this reads both easily and quickly due to the complimentary and contrasting natures of both main character's narratives. Full review to follow but ...more
April
If you are crazy for the past, The Wicked And The Just by J. Anderson Coats will set your history senses tingling. Taking place in medieval Wales, The Wicked And The Just is a magnificent read about two girls – one a stranger in a strange land, the other is a refugee in her own country after her family loses everything after the English take over Wales.

Read the rest of my review here
MaryannC.Book Fiend
I will say that this was very well written and interesting. A story of justice and vengeance. Cecily is a strong young woman filled with sassiness and wit who sees the injustice and tries in her own way to right some of the wrongs of her community.
Mara
Cover Blurb: I like how the early morning light also looks like fire, and displays the girl’s silhouette. Except, I’ll admit, every time I glance at the cover, I always, always assume that she’s carrying a flashlight. The title font is beautiful; it is what originally caught my attention, if I’m to be honest.

What I Liked: Gwenhwyfar is a good protagonist. Some would say that she’s a jerk, but given the oppression she and her fellow Welshmen have suffered at the hands of the English, it is very h
...more
Gina
Oct 02, 2011 Gina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Teens 13+, fans of historical fiction, middle/high school/college level history courses
The Wicked and the Just is a brilliant and fascinating account of the tumultuous time when the English sought to rule Wales, told from the POVs of two teenage girls, Cecily (English) and Gwenhwyfar (Welsh). Beyond the staggering amount of historical research that is seamlessly and vividly woven into this book, J. Anderson Coats provides us with a world so real you'll feel your stomach growl with hunger, and two fascinating main characters who are alternately humorous, heartbreaking, endearing, h ...more
Afton Nelson
The real brilliance behind this book is the way the author takes a completely repellant main character and makes me care for her. But she doesn't stop there. She takes a tragic character, and makes her just a tad repellant. But neither girl can be summed up so simply. Both Cecily and Gwenhwyfar are complicated and difficult and even though at times I hated them both, I found reasons to justify their nastiness, to forgive them, and to continue reading about them. Based on the Welsh uprising at Ca ...more
Jayne
Aug 19, 2012 Jayne rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
Tightly written, impeccably researched tale of the conflict between the dispossessed Welsh and the conquering English in and around the walled city of Caernarvon during the reign of Edward I. I really enjoyed the juxtaposition of the two young women - the English girl whose father takes advantage of financial and social incentives to occupy the restless city, and Gwenhwyfar, whose family has lost almost everything as a result of that occupation. The disparate voices of the two first-person POVs ...more
Caroline Rose
Astounding. One sentence debut review closer to release date.
Vivian
Somewhere on my shelves full of unread books there is one that boasts that the Thirteenth was the "Greatest of Centuries" (which I was surprised to find can be googled in full here: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/boo... ), so my curiosity was piqued when I saw this YA novel set in 1293 Wales.

I must hand it to the author, she did a good job of plunking the reader into the time and place. Her English protagonist Cecily(dubbed The Brat by her Welsh domestic) and endearingly called Cesspool or Ce
...more
Small Review
Originally posted on Small Review blog.

Why I considered DNF-ing

The beginning of this book is so slow. Not much happens, and I'm very impatient. It's all written with a bunch of old-timey words thrown in and while this definitely did help establish the historical backdrop, sometimes I had absolutely no clue what was being said.

The book opens with Cecily's first person POV, and she is a complete brat. She's always thinking something awful about the people around her, she pouts, throws fits, and
...more
Rea
Full review can be found here.

Something that I think will be very important to take into account with this book is that it will not be for everyone: neither character is particularly likeable; there’s not very much action and everything is very slow-burning; sometimes the narrative is on the jumpy side as it passes from one scene to another with no warning; etc.

It was perfect for me.

One of my favourite books is Warrior Daughter by Janet Paisley. It chronicles the life of a Celtic warrior queen a
...more
Barb
I ending up liking this YA novel, though it had a bit of a slow start it was interesting and well done. The narration is in alternate perspectives from the point of view of two teenage girls, one English one Welsh.

Cecily, daughter of widower, Robert d'Edgeley, former lord of Edgeley Hall in Coventry, England is packed off to Wales by her father. She's not at all happy by the change in their circumstances and rather thoughtlessly barrels her way into her new life. She's a difficult girl to like
...more
Rebecca
The Wicked and the Just is set in late thirteenth century Wales and is told from the alternating perspectives of two teenage girls, Cecily and Gwenhwyfar. Cecily is English, and grew up back in England on the family estate, Edgeley, until her uncle returned from the Crusades. Because her father was the younger son, they had to leave after that, and her father decided to move to Wales, which was recently conquered by the English, because it is easy to become a landowner there. To say Cecily was a ...more
Hallie
From LJ write-up. I am really running out of steam. Not reading steam, but sitting at the computer and saying anything about the reading steam. Though this wasn't an easy read, either. Somehow or other I'd got the impression that this was historical fantasy, and once I got over that, I still had the idea it was more -- lighthearted. Not fluff, but not quite the tragic, bloody, slice of history I should have known it would be. Caernarfon, Wales, 1293, that setting.

The book is told in alternating
...more
Katie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marta Stahlfeld
Anyone who enjoys Welsh and English history would enjoy The Wicked and the Just. Cecily longs to return home to Edgeley Hall, but due to her uncle’s marriage that seems an impossible dream. Instead she and her father move to Carnarvon, a fortress in Wales. Gwenhwyfar (apparently pronounced like Guinevere,) a Welsh serf girl, used to dream of being the Lady of the House and Caernarvon, but now she must wait on Cecily. And outside Caernarvon’s walls, trouble is brewing with the Welsh who are not a ...more
Dawn Vanniman
I received this ARC as an e-book from www.netgalley.com.

I know what you're all thinking - 'Seriously, this book isn't out until APRIL?!' Seriously. BUT I believe that this book is good enough that you need to pre-order it NOW. You'll thank me in April.

The story is told from the point of view of two very different girls. There's Cecily who's English and Gwenhwyfar (Gwinny) who's Welsh. It's set during the time that the English tried to rule Wales, so about 1293 (I believe).

Cecily's father was onc
...more
Jan
One rarely encounters a historical novel for teens set during the 13th century, so encountering this new novel was a delight. I, like many readers of historical fiction, enjoy finding out something new about a period of history, particularly one of which I know little. Set in North Wales in 1293, the main character, Cecily, describes what it is like to live in a fortified town in Wales under English rule. The novel contrasts her point of view with a native of Wales, Gwenhwyfar, who would give an ...more
faeriemyst
The Wicked and the Just doesn't have much in the way of a plot, it more focuses on the everyday lives of two very different girls in 13th century Wales, one who's English and lives inside the walls of Caernarvon, the other a Welsh servant, who lives outside the walls, than on any particular focal point. This changes in the latter part of the book when an event that has been gnawing at the fringes suddenly erupts.

My first impression of Cecily is that she's a colossal brat. She's English, thinks s
...more
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J. Anderson Coats has dug for crystals, held Lewis and Clark’s original hand-written journal and been a mile underground. She has a cool surgery scar unrelated to childbirth, she reads Latin, and she's been given the curse of Cromwell on a back-road in Connemara. On a clear day, she can see the Olympic mountains from her front window. On the foggy ones, she can smell the Puget Sound.

J writes histo
...more
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