Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian Review

Monday, September 17, 2012

Title: Burn for Burn
Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BYR
Publish Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
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.
Lillia, Kat and Mary have been through teenage hell and back. Literally. Each, in their own way, has been wronged by those friends they thought they could trust the most. Rather than wanting to curl up in a ball and block out the world though, these girls want revenge. They want to get even, and for them, payback really is a bitch. But revenge isn’t clean. It’s messy business and there are always casualties in the process. Through all the plotting, scheming and planning the perfect revenge, they must make sure to watch their own backs because life is about to get a whole lot messier.

To be honest, I wasn’t really sure I wanted to read Burn for Burn when I first saw the synopsis. It seemed like your run of the mill, trite and oddly overplayed highschool drama and, frankly, that’s the part of contemporary fiction that makes me want to gauge my own eyeballs out. I digress. Burn for Burn pleasantly surprised me though, adding rich layers of depth to a story that could have otherwise fallen horribly flat. Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian give us three very distinct and different characters, complete with their own mess of baggage to truck around through the novel. Through thoughtful and precise storytelling, we watch as the girls spin their webs of lies and deceit – if only to achieve the perfect art of revenge. And trust me…it’s truly an art.

There is so much about Burn for Burn that I loved. The way these girls plotted and schemed was brilliant (and terrifying) to watch. They wanted revenge at pretty much any and all costs. Written through alternating perspectives, we’re allowed an inside glimpse into Lillia, Kat and Mary’s minds, and we’re given the chance to understand exactly what warped them into the girls they are today. At times, I felt like the self-discovery within their respective chapters was a bit tedious, but it also lent a very tangible air, giving them more vulnerability and likeability. Slowly but surely, we’re enveloped in the messy world of Burn for Burn where revenge really is an art form. These girls are twisty and cruel and bitterly angry, but it makes the story real, and it makes it far easier to access some semblance of emotion for them. I was surprised by a slight paranormal turn of events nearing the end of the story, which threw me for a loop for a while, but it was well-played in terms of the plotline. I definitely related to Kat and Mary’s reasoning better because I felt Lillia was a bit weak compared to the other two girls, but overall, they balanced quite well. My one real bone to pick with Burn for Burn is that it ended so dang abruptly. Guys, you know how I feel about crash-landing endings, and this is one of those. I felt like we wound all the way up, and then the story dropped off the face of the earth which, unfortunately, left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Overall though, Burn for Burn was a solid, guilty-pleasure sort of read. I can’t say it was the deepest, but it was definitely fast-paced, and it was a quick read that, for the most part, I really enjoyed. I give it a very strong 3.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy contemporary and touches of paranormal.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. Well, this sounds nice but not excitingly awesome! Heather also read the book and had some minor issues with the "paranormal" aspect.. Hm.. I'm not completely sold yet...

  2. I'm curious what I'll think about this. I like guilty pleasure books although I like going deeper too.

  3. You are not alone in your feelings about the ending. I've read several reviews (and my own) that complain. But, I did like the characters and I agree about the "self discovery" being tedious. (You expressed that much better than I did) but in the end, I thought it added to the story and the characters' believability. Nice thoughts.

  4. I think that Burn for Burn was just a lot of fun to read. It's a pretty great story, overall, and I love the characters. Curious to see where it goes from here!

  5. I liked this one and thought it was mad fun. I felt like I ran into a glass wall with that darn ending, though. I'll be picking up the next book but I HATE the long wait. Because I really want to know what is next. Cause GAH. But seriously, this was like watching a guilty-pleasure TV show or something. I really liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

    These girls are NOT ones I want angry at me. And that's what was so fun about it. But MAN, I have no idea what is coming up.

  6. I enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one. It was a fun break from paranormal and fantasy stories.


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