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Monday, August 6, 2012

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Release Date: Sept. 18, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 368
Buy: Amazon / Book Depository / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads

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.

Burn for Burn is the story of three girls- Lillia, Kat, & Mary- who want to get back at three people who burned them- Alex, Rennie, & Reeve.  Just when you think you know what’s going to happen, everything goes completely awry, and it’s an engaging, dark, drama-filled ride you won’t soon forget.

I don’t even know where to start with this review, and I mean that in a great way. Burn for Burn is engrossing and well-written from beginning to end, soup to nuts.  The characters are entirely believable, their stories are compelling, and by the end, you’re not sure whose side you’re on anymore or if winning is even possible.  It’s a testament to the talents of Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian that two authors with two distinct styles can write three different points of view, and each of the POVs stands out on their own.  It’s an incredibly fast read because it’s so hard to put down.  You just have to know what happens next.  This is serious drama, and I seriously loved it.

The relationship between our three main characters is dynamic and very interesting.  Kat and Lillia were friends in the past but grew apart years ago after an unfortunate falling out caused by Rennie (more about her later), and Mary works as a good unbiased voice in times when they need it.  As far as the actions of the burners are concerned, these girls do some pretty terrible things, and there’s a part of you that doesn’t quite get why they want to take it to this extreme.  And then you find out why.  Then, no punishment becomes strong enough because, again, this is some seriously dark stuff.  By the time the burns roll around in an entirely climatic and intense fashion, you’re rooting for the burnees to go down in proverbial flames.

Speaking of burnees, I have never felt such anger toward a character in my life than the anger I feel toward Rennie Holtz, Lillia’s best friend and Kat’s burn victim.  I was not a fan of hers from the first moment she appeared on the page, and it just got worse and worse with every turn.  She is the absolute worst friend, ever.  She makes Regina George look like Liz Lemon.  It’s rare for me to get like this over anyone, but trust me.  She may be a great character-- complicated, multifaceted, not remotely boring—but still I say, she is the worst.

The only bad thing I could say about this is that it ends on such an incredible cliffhanger that I will be dying to know what happens for far too long, and I am so bad at being patient.  The slow burn of the story continues to rise and furl just as it should, and I quite literally could not tear myself away.  I will be adding all of Jenny Han’s and Siobhan Vivian’s repertoire to my ever-growing TBR list, along with the forthcoming sequels Fire with Fire and Ashes to Ashes (um, how dark does that sound? And why do I love it?)

For now, I can only wait and recommend Burn for Burn to anyone who’s ever yearned to serve up a cold slice of revenge.


  1. "Mean girl" books can sometimes be too mean for my tastes, but this sounds like it has a really strong plot and characters to keep me interested. Thanks for the heads-up!

    1. This one is definitely worth a try. There are Mean Girls a-plenty, but there's much more to these characters.