Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn
by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
356 pages
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 18th 2012
Source: Purchased
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds. 

But bad things can happen, even to good girls, and sometimes the only way to make things right is to do something wrong.

Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she'll be damned if she lets the same thing happen to her little sister.
Kat is through with being called a freak. She's over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person - her ex-best riend - and Kat'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. Now that she's back, he's gonna be in trouble... ' cause she's coming after him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they've each had a taste.
I just want to start this review by saying that I want to live in a place like Jar Island. I don't care that it's isolated, and that you can only take a ferry to get there (talk about being screwed in a zombie apocalypse), and that everyone is all up in your business, I WANT TO LIVE THERE. A world with no fast food or WalMart? TAKE ME THERE!!!!!

Burn for Burn is basically my Jr. High dreams come true. Like most tweens and teens I experienced my fair share of bullying in middle school (even though I was homeschooled. Go figure.) so I can definitely relate to Lillia, Kat, Mary, and their need for revenge. But unlike these 3 girls I did not ever plan or take part in any sort of revenge tactics. However, I'm sure my very bitter middle school self would have been quite happy to take part in a group effort of revenge on those who had wronged me. It would have been awkward though considering they were all people from my youth group and some of them were elders kids. Whoops.... >.<

Anyway, Burn for Burn is one of those guilty pleasure reads. The kind where you imagine yourself as the characters, put yourself in their shoes, and, in this case, imagine the kind of revenge you'd wreak on your old enemies. Classy right? And oh so fun. I wouldn't say that I agreed with what Lillia, Kat, and Mary were doing but I definitely found it entertaining.

Lillia, Kat, and Mary are your stereotypical YA contemporary girls. Lillia is the popular girl, Kat is the girl who was once on the in, but is now on the out, and Mary is the girl who used to be overweight but is now slim and model gorgeous. Let me tell you straight up that there is nothing really special about these characters. If any of those descriptions sounded familiar to you (and I'm sure most if not all of them did) then you won't be too impressed. Mary does have an extra layer to her that I'm excited to see flesh out in future novels, but other than that the characters don't stray far from the familiar YA tropes they resemble. However, it's not the characters that make this story great but the revenge scenario itself. Each girl has a person from her past or present that she wants to get back at, and they're all willing to go to great lengths to make sure these enemies suffer. A LOT.

The revenge theme is what really makes this book. I know Burn for Burn isn't the only YA book on the market that involves revenge but this one felt a lot less catty which is always a plus. While reading Burn for Burn I felt almost like I was rooting for the underdogs and I actually found myself wanting the characters to succeed instead of just thinking they were being obnoxious, whiny brats. On top of that the ending started to give me some awesome Carrie by Steven King vibes which I was really digging. Take that as you may. ;)

Overall Burn for Burn is a pretty solid book. The real draw is the fact that it let me live vicariously through the characters as they carried out their crazy revenge schemes. It's probably not the best thing to admit, but I liked reading about the "bad guys" getting their just reward. I also loved the ending and how Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian spent the entire book romanticizing revenge, only to throw it back in my face as if to say "Is this what you wanted? IS IT?" That was the really great thing about this novel: regardless of run of the mill characters Burn for Burn made me think and got me involved and that is the mark of a good book. On top of that it had me longing for the next installment in this series. A win all around.

I give Burn for Burn 4 out of 5 ice cream cones.

Julia :)


  1. Glad you liked this one! I definitely enjoyed it, but I like anything with revenge and anger and hate and muahahahah :) I do wish the revenge were a little more sweet though. You know what I mean? Great review!

    Literary Exploration

    1. I definitely know what you mean! But that's what makes the ending so great since it causes the characters to really question their actions. It makes me super excited for the sequel. :D


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