July 15, 2013

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1)
Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BFYR
Page Count: 358
Source: ARCycling
Rating: A can't-put-it-down, edge-of-your-seat, must-see-it-through kind of book.

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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Lillia, Kat and Mary are all pretty angry. Lillia at her friend Alex for being a skeeve, Kat at Rennie for being a witch with a capital B and Mary at Reeve for being the world's biggest jackass. So these three girls band together and decide to quit the high road and get even. It's kind of weird for Lillia and Kat, because they used to be friends. And it's also kind of weird for Mary since she has PARANORMAL POWERS. Oh wait. One of these things is not like the others... But I thought I should point out that little tidbit about Mary RIGHT NOW since I totally didn't know that going into this book and I think everyone SHOULD. Know that, that is.

Let's break this down:

Yeah. So. There's a paranormal factor here. I mentioned this AGAIN because I didn't know that was going to be a thing in this book when I started and I didn't love the surprise. I mean, when I blot out the paranormal, this book is GREAT. I love it - even the insanity at the very end. But the paranormal IS there (albeit in a halfhearted kind of way) and I'm fairly certain it would have been better for me to go into the book knowing this. Although, not telling me was some sneaky genius, since you all know how less likely I am to pick up a paranormal book unless said book is recommended to me.

All of that aside, I think all of the revenge in this book is amazingly phenomenal. I ESPECIALLY love the revenge against Alex, considering what we find out about his skeeziness later on (SPOILERS). The book would be totally boring if the girls got their way every time, so, really, perfection all around. Also, Reeve and Rennie are so completely detestable and disgusting that I just can't even. Basically: punishments to fit the crime.

And, for the record, remind me not to cross Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian because I definitely don't want to end up the way Alex, Rennie and Reeve end up. Like even a little.

So how do I feel about our protagonists? I always loved the wronged girl with a backbone, which means Kat is my favorite person in the book by far. Despite my love for Kat, I will say I'm fairly pleased her romantic prospects turned out they way they did. Girl's got things to learn and she's on her way to learning said things, she just needs a couple more books (GOOD THING SHE HAS THEM TOO).

I also love Mary because, as a youngin' who was bullied, I love seeing her get her life back. I dunno where this paranormal shizz is coming from. I don't love it. And I don't love how passive Mary's being from a non-paranormal standpoint. It almost feels like she's letting Kat and Lillia take care of things for her. I want her to do more. I hope she'll do more in the coming books. And I really hope that what she does only comes from her paranormal outbursts. I also hope there are explanations for her paranormal outbursts. Please. Don't leave me hanging here. Please.

As for Lillia, I like her. I'm always interested in the best friend of the mean girl who goes along for the ride and lets the mean girl get away with shit. I want to know what's going on in their brains. Like, are they confused? Stunted? Stupid? How do they ignore the terrible, awful things their best friends do? Rennie really is terrible, so there has to be something there if I'm going to believe Lillia's a good protagonist worth my attention. And this is another thing Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian do well. By which I mean to say, they do make me care about Lillia despite her relationship with Rennie.

All in all, I totally buy this book. Except for the paranormal thing. Mary, get it together.

The long and short of it?

Plot: I enjoy a good, entertaining revenge story. Again, for the millionth time, I'm afraid this paranormal thing is gonna make the story too convoluted and crazy for my tastes, but I'm gonna keep going here.
World Building: I'm sitting squarely on the "I don't buy this paranormal thing" train. Everything else totally works for me. Especially the spoilers on the Alex front.
Character Development: Love where Kat and Lillia are going. I definitely need a little more from Mary though.
Prose: Some freaking SOLID storytelling.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Seriously. For the billionth time. Paranormal. If you're gonna pick up this book, remember this. Be ready for this. It's not a major theme in book one, but I can't speak for the sequels. So. Read at your own risk if you're like me and don't read so much paranormal.

What did you think of this one? Did the revenge plots work for you? Did you want more? Less? Also, can we please just talk about my interest in Alex and my extreme hatred of Reeve? Yeah. Please. In the comments below.


  1. There's a hint of paranormal in this one? I really wouldn't have guessed! Actually, there have been a few books that I've read where it's a perfectly normal book and then someone has magic or something ... it's jarring! Still, I do want to read this one ONLY BECAUSE it's Jenny Han and I love her. :)

    Great review!

  2. THIS BOOK IS PARANORMAL? Way to keep that one under wraps, world. WTF. But since I picked up the sequel (WHICH IS HUGE. Seriously, why is it so long?!), I guess I need to get to this one soon.

  3. I loved this book but I was totally weirded out by the paranormal aspect, too! I saw your tweet and wondered if it was about this book! I'm excited about the next book but a little worried about where that will go!

  4. This book was a surprisingly addicting read! I thought the plans for revenge were executed pretty perfectly, if I'm being honest (although they absolutely scare the s**t out of me!). It'll be interesting to see how everything continues in the next one, particularly when we know how things ended in this one!


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