Monday, August 19, 2013

Review: Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Series: Burn for Burn, Book #1
Published: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
358 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: Won from Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Warning: May contain spoilers
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Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.

This was my first time reading anything by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, and I am seriously impressed. I’d heard mixed things about Burn For Burn, so I went in a bit tentative, but I ended up enjoying it immensely.

Lillia, Mary, and Kat all have very distinctive personalities and voices. Lillia is rich, popular, and smart; Mary is shy and basically a nobody; and Kat is loud, crude, and pretty much an outcast. The fact that the girls are so different and seemingly have nothing in common makes them perfect allies because nobody would ever think of them being friends or having a reason to work together for a common goal. I thought it might get confusing having three different points of view, especially in first person present tense, but it was so well done. The way each girl’s story was revealed bit by bit had me not only curious but also invested in their stories. I was eager to know what brought each of them to that point in life - where they would come up with this idea of getting revenge on the people who hurt them.

One of the things that made this book so great is that it’s almost like a guilty pleasure. On the one hand, you know that what the girls are doing is wrong, but on the other hand, there are times it seems justified, and I found myself siding with them and even rooting them on at times. I knew I shouldn’t condone it but then the other part of me was like ‘those people deserve what they get!’ What I also liked was how it wasn’t all black and white; none of the people they were getting revenge on were all bad - they each had redeeming qualities or moments where you doubted what the girls were doing. It made for a really interesting back-and-forth and added the perfect amount of tension throughout the story.

I love books about friendship, so I was pleased to see genuine friendships develop between Lillia, Mary, and Kat. It could have gone so wrong with blackmail or disagreements or someone backing out, but they actually become friends and start to depend on each other for more than just their revenge schemes. By the end I was truly invested in these characters.

And that ending!! It was such a fantastic cliffhanger ending, the type you rarely see in contemporary YA, even if it is a trilogy. I’d recommend having Fire With Fire ready to read when you finish Burn For Burn so you can see what happens next.

Han and Vivian’s writing is seamless. Great characters and great setting, combined with lots of drama, emotion, and a story that will keep you guessing while flipping the pages at top speed, make Burn For Burn a winner in my opinion. 

Have you read Burn For Burn? What did you think? Have you read any of Jenny and/or Siobhan's other books?


  1. I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about it so I'm glad that you ended up enjoying it! I totally hear you on guilty pleasure reading when it comes to mean girl behavior. It's like watching Mean Girls--you know it's so wrong but it is so awesome. :P

  2. I just downloaded the audio of Burn for Burn, so I'm happy to see you liked it so much! :)

  3. Three first person pov characters that aren't just interchangeable? That's really impressive, and an odd choice. Hmmm. At the least you've made me really curious about this one. You liked it, so that's enough for me to want to give it a try at some point.

  4. I can't wait to read this one! I hope to *maybe* get to it tomorrow ... we'll see! It just sounds so good. :)

    Great review!

  5. EEK you've made me really want to read this one now! I've had it on my TBR list but wasn't in like a rush to read it. But now... :D

    I like how the people the girls are trying to get revenge on aren't black and white too. I think that makes it more complex and realistic!

    Oohhh I've heard the first two books end on wicked cliffhangers. Can't wait to see what that's about!


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