Thursday, September 11, 2014

GUEST REVIEW: BURN FOR BURN by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Title: Burn for Burn
Series: Burn for Burn, #1
Authors: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Reviewed by: Ellen Fritz
Ellen’s rating: 5/5


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 do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate. 

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?


Not having read the book summary beforehand, I thought that Burn for Burn would turn out to be yet another angsty account of teen romance and high school politics. Was I pleasantly surprised! Coming from vastly different backgrounds, Kat, Mary and Lillia combine efforts to get revenge on the three people who had wronged them, Alex, Reeve and Rennie. Turns out, revenge is not all that sweet in the end.

This story, with its brilliantly imaginative plot, is comfortably paced and develops very realistically. From Lillia, who finds it difficult to persevere with the revenge plan, to wild, tough Kat and quiet Mary, all the protagonists are well fleshed out and lifelike. The antagonists, nastily bitchy cheerleader captain, Rennie, mean football captain Reeve, and Alex of the dubious loyalties, are equally skillfully crafted.

What I really appreciated about these characters was that none of them was all good or all bad. This, of course, put me in two minds as to whether the three girls truly had a right to execute their revenge plans.

If I did not know about the sequel to this book, I would have said that the end was extremely blunt. Now, however, the end is just a monumental, cleverly designed cliff-hanger. An underlying touch of the paranormal gives the story a slightly mysterious twist.

This emotionally charged book, with its lively dialogue, light touch of romance, profound bit of wisdom, and nail-biting last few chapters, is an absolute must-read and will be going on my Favorite Reads list!

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Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, and We’ll Always Have Summer.

Siobhan Vivian is the author of The List, Not That Kind of Girl, Same Difference, and A Little Friendly Advice.


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