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Monday, August 5, 2013

Fire with Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Release Date: Aug. 13, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: E-galley
Source: Publisher
Pages: 528
Buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound
Description: Goodreads
Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her—it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn...

Last year’s Burn For Burn was one of my favorites-- a story of three girls from Jar Island and their plot to exact revenge on those who’ve wronged them in the past. It also served as my introduction to Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian, and for that I am forever grateful. My expectations were very high going into its sequel Fire With Fire. These YA besties had given me multi-layered characters and a thrilling story, and I hoped they could deliver that to me once again. Turns out, this sequel totally met my expectations, and then some. Fire With Fire delivers, driving Kat, Lillia, and Mary deeper into their web of revenge while still keeping us readers flipping those pages. Let’s go through these narrators one by one, shall we?

Kat is still a bad-ass girl with a tough exterior, but this time around, she starts to let a little of that inner heart show, especially to Lillia and Mary. She sees kindred spirits in those girls, and she works to continue the friendship, trying her best to bring shy Mary out of her shell. Outside of the newfound friendship, we follow Kat as she applies to Oberlin College, her dream school and her mother’s alma mater. I enjoyed delving into Kat’s background, and I especially enjoyed her interactions with Alex. Though it’s clear that Alex has feelings for Lillia, I like the Kat/Alex chemistry. I think they are a far more interesting match than Lillia/Alex, and I’m very curious to see where that leads.

And speaking of Lillia, Jar Island’s resident fashionista grabs the meatiest plotline this time around.  While the events of Homecoming left Reeve with real injuries, he didn’t quite feel the humiliation they were hoping to cause. The new plan—get Reeve to fall for Lillia, and then break his beefy heart. Lillia and Reeve grow closer and closer through this plan, which causes confusing and conflicting feelings for everyone involved, plus giant angry flames on the side of Rennie’s face. This is where Fire With Fire really heats up (puns puns everybody loves puns). Lillia knows she shouldn’t fall for Reeve, but it’s clear that she is.  You’d think I’d tire of that trope, but it seems I don’t—as long as it’s as well-written and compelling as it is here. There’s just something about those two.

And finally, there’s something about Mary (you saw that transition coming a mile away, huh?) that isn’t quite right. We knew this already from book one, but book two shines the spotlight on it. I will admit I became a little frustrated with this, because it seems very obvious what’s going on with Mary, but the reveal is still quite worth it. Of course, the mystery of Mary leads us right to the cliff of the book to let us hang for another year. I have no idea where Ashes To Ashes will go from here, but I sure am excited to find out.

I would recommend this to anyone who read Burn For Burn, and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you do that first, then read this.  Bless these besties for writing the kind of books I love.

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