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Consensual Hex

1.61  ·  Rating details ·  366 ratings  ·  149 reviews
A coven of queer witches at an elite women's college employ their powers to exact revenge on the frat boy warlocks who are using magic to cover up sexual assault on campus.

When Lee, a first-year college student, is sexually assaulted by a frat boy on a neighbouring campus, she's quickly disillusioned by the lack of recourse. Lost, she turns to her Gender Studies professor
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 6th 2020 by Grand Central Publishing
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Average rating 1.61  · 
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 ·  366 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Jul 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
If you're here to read about the drama/controversy surrounding this book: I decided to delete my review because this got WAY more attention than I was bargaining for, and frankly I started getting concerned about my privacy and safety. I know the text of my original review is still floating around the internet in screenshots and quotes, but I'll feel better if I take this down. Thank you to everyone who said kind things, it meant a lot. Be well. ...more
Ash Blight
Mar 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Update 3/15/21: Removed the bulk of my review for privacy concerns, but you can get the gist of what happened by reading the rest of the reviews here or searching up any of the articles or twitter threads written in response. DM me if you absolutely need the backstory for whatever reason. Let's let this messy homophobic revenge-porn fanfiction fade into obscurity, yes? ...more
Izzy Levy
Jul 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
edit: check sunny's updated review for the changes that were made to the final, published version. short answer is that it looks like some details were changed to make the similarities slightly less transparent, but the meat of what's awful about this still stands. sunny has more details elsewhere on this page.

like sunny and ash, i was friends with amanda harlowe in our first year of college at smith. we had some interpersonal conflict, lost contact, and, 7 years later, i found that i was blatan
Jul 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Yikes. I have not read this book, but from the description on Goodreads and Amazon (and from having attended Smith College alongside the author and read other writing by her, both published and not), I can confirm that this book is directly taking real people's trauma and pain and turning it into "camp." The Amazon descriptions of the characters and how obviously they are meant to correspond with my friends would be laughable if it weren't so twisted. The last time I saw Amanda, she was leaving ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was at Smith at the same time as the author and the people on whom she based the central characters. Even to a relative outsider, it’s blatantly obvious that, as other reviewers have said, the characters in the main coven are caricatures of this real friend group and that she ripped off their actual experiences and traumas for the content of this book. For this reason alone, I have to discourage anyone reading this from buying the book and giving the author any money.

None of this would be forg
Sarah Black
Jul 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was awful. I frankly cannot believe it is being published. It was poorly written and the plot was incomprehensible. The characters are two-dimensional, especially the villain “Gabi Cohen” who is cartoonishly and unrealistically evil—a characterization that verges on anti-Semitic when you take into account the description of Gabi’s “long nose.” The feminist politics feel very flimsy and unexamined, and the plot—I have to
Jul 16, 2020 marked it as never-fucking-ever
I was initially excited for this book- queer witches seeking revenge? Hell yeah!

Then it came out that the author took the traumas depicted within the book from an old college friend group. Absolutely not. Will not read, will not recommend.

Edit: One of the commenters mentioned a short story the author wrote if you need insight into how delicately SA will be handled in this book and holy shit.

If this author is truly the author of that other piece, then they can be slam dunked into the garbage. It
Anna P
Jul 09, 2020 rated it did not like it
Although I do not know the author, I know and care for the people she has at best lazily replicated and at worst leered over or spitefully caricatured in this novel. If you are going to publish a book that draws heavily from real experiences, there is a way to do it that respects the real people that have shaped your narrative. This novel lacks any honour, grace or respect for those people; it is appalling to me that this author ever considered this novel acceptable under the bounds of human dec ...more
Elle (ellexamines)
Aug 16, 2020 marked it as zzzzz-coverporn-etc
This is genuinely one of the most incredibly horrifying book publishing things I have ever seen, and as someone in this community (and someone who attends an hwc) it absolutely cannot be ignored. While Grand Central presumably had no way of knowing, they need to pulls this book immediately.

Sunny (Luna), Ash (Charlotte), and Izzy (Gabi) all wrote very articulate messages about this.
Ren Christina
Jul 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Strongly advise anyone against reading this book as it is based off of real life people & their trauma - as detailed in the many 1 starred reviews. The publishers should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to go ahead.
Jul 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
To find out this book was based on a real group of people where their personal experiences and trauma have been used for someone else to profit off of is pretty disturbing. There are real fantasy elements in this book, the women are actually supposed to be witches, but you get a disturbing feeling that's impossible to shake when you realize that a great deal of this book was based on private events that happened to real people who deserve to not have it sold off and exploited for someone else's ...more
Natasha Ryan
Jul 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
like. we all want to hex a frat boy at our hwc. but not by exploiting other people jfc harlowe please speak to a therapist about this.
mark monday
Aug 31, 2020 marked it as unread-forever
Can't wait to read this one, it sounds really insightful! The author and publisher certainly come across as strong allies to all women! Amanda Harlowe is clearly an empathetic sort of person, definitely not obsessed with the past, would never try to make a buck off of exploiting people in that past, and just seems like such a loyal, trustworthy, honorable friend!! A role model for all women & authors! I wish her the best of luck - her career's off to a great start!

Jul 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
I read an advanced copy of this book, and I wish I hadn't. This book is extremely poorly written -- overly grandiose and meandering prose and confusing and strangely intimate descriptions. I'm incredibly concerned about allegations that this book was based on the personal experiences of individuals the author knew/knows -- it would make sense given the voyeuristic tone of most of the book. I would compare this book to fan fiction, but as someone who reads fan fiction, that would be insulting to ...more
Dec 03, 2020 marked it as imma-just-nope-the-fuck-out-of-here
Shelves: paranormal
what the actual fuck? what is wrong with the author?? this is not okay.

Mrs. Basil
Jul 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
I was very confused by the ARC version of “Consensual Hex.” I found the writing obvious and badly developed, the characters to be one-dimensional, and the plot to be very difficult to follow. I struggled to read through rambling run-on sentences multiple times in order to understand.

I am extremely disturbed to hear that the main characters in the coven are very thinly veiled versions of Harlowe’s former friends, and that she did not even bother to change the basic biographical details of these r
Reina ♡
Jul 30, 2020 marked it as trash
I have not read this book, and decidedly will not read this book.

The author has blatantly put in personal information from people she knew in college and only changed around names and a few other details. This is a gross breach of privacy, and overall, shows a disgusting lack of morals or ethics. Please continue to rally with the victims against this book and continue to contact the publishers to get them to pull this trash before it is ever unleashed.

But just as importantly, to the victims, if
Jul 12, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I requested this having not known about the controversy surrounding this book.

I only found out after, trying to gain some insight as to the wrap up of the story as I had just finished and was so very confused as to what I just had read.

Let me first start with the book itself.

This book is a bit all over the place, I did want to enjoy it. Thematically it was of interest, magic, feminism, coming of age after experiencing trauma. Its fine writing wise in terms of being engrossing, but I was so ve
Tori Underwood
Jul 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
So I am not done with this ARC quite yet, and I think I will finish it. But the reviews on this are not so great. This work of fiction is unethical, as it is basically stolen material about real life people, simply twisted to make it look like pure fiction. So for that reason alone, it gets 1 star.
Jen Ryland
Aug 02, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: uh-no-thanks
This is horrifying. I can't support this book and I really hope the publisher pulls it as it sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
(1 star rating added in August 2020, because screw impartiality on this book)

I wanted to love this book, but 15% in and I just know I won’t enjoy it. This book focuses on an area that I’m currently conducting research in, so I was intrigued by the concept. Unfortunately, the writing style felt a bit sloppy to me - something is missing but I’m not sure what. I’m not going to leave a rating because I haven’t finished it and I’ve also received it in ARC form, so the final version might be different
Sal Deaver
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
I am boycotting these publishers until this book is pulled. I advise everyone else to do the same. Imagine taking personal abuse/rape stories and personal information from the women in your life and using it to push your own novel.

Amanda Harlowe you should be ashamed of yourself.
♠ TABI⁷ ♠
Dec 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nah-bro
it's a no on anything from an "author" who uses past connections in a negative and, from what I've read in other reviews from the people who are basically the characters, an abusive, insensitive manner. Do not recommend and please do not read. Such behavior doesn't deserve a platform.
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
For more information about why you should NOT buy or read the book, please see Ash Blight's commentary. As a thinly veiled fantasy of Blight's personal life, and the poor response to her situation from the publishers and distributors, it sucks rotten eggs. ...more
Tracey S
May 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
I received a free arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


What can I say about this book? It was a hot mess in general unfortunately.
The premise was intriguing - coven of fledgling queer witches in their freshman year of college converge on a neighbouring college's illegal warlocks to enact revenge for multiple sexual assaults across both campuses.
However, the weirdly comic tone of this book was really off, and the narrative was frequently confus
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
So this is a don’t even read and give money to this person for their blatant plagiarism and using other people’s trauma for their monetary gain. K thx.
Sarah Ames-Foley
Aug 01, 2020 marked it as nah
the top reviews of this book speak for themselves.
Alexia | Right Writing Words
Please read the Goodreads member's (Sunny) review before you think about picking this book up.
I assure you, it will definitely change your mind.
Aug 16, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hell-no
these characters are based on real people down to very small, very personal information, without those people consenting to their stories and lives being used.

Read those peoples' reviews! Don't buy + read this book.
Corvin Greene
Jul 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
Very disturbed to learn that this book is based on someone else's real life, including easily identifiable characteristics and biographical details of Harlowe's "friend" she took the concepts and facts from. As a writer, I understand being inspired by true events, but this goes beyond that, and it's entirely inappropriate. ...more
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