Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Length: 368 pages
Subjects: Revenge, High School, Romance, Friendship
How I obtained the book: Library, hardcover
THEY GET EVEN.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.
Actual Rating: 2.5 rounded up to 3.
BURN FOR BURN is not a book everyone will love. It’s one of those hit-or-miss books. Though I like the book a lot, I definitely couldn’t say I loved it since, sadly, BURN FOR BURN narrowly missed the mark for me. While it had the makings to be one of my favorites, the three main characters ruined this chance.
Lillia, Kat, and Mary are the three main characters, each with their own POV. While they were the book’s strength in the first 200 pages, they were also the greatest downfall in the last pages. While their reasons for payback are all very valid. Lillia wants revenge on Alex for deflowering her sister, Kat needs payback for being cast out by her best friend, and Mary craving revenge on the boy who almost killed her.
The problem I had with the characters is simple. I couldn’t connect with any of them. These girls, they’re not supposed to be loved. They’re not supposed to be role models. They’re not supposed to be anything then what they are – really angry, twisted girls.
My problem isn’t with the fact that the girls are twisted. No, that’s fine, it’s even welcome as twisted characters are always entertaining. I mean, who doesn’t love The Joker? Now, I’m not equating the girls with a criminally insane serial killer. They’re definitely more of a Carrie.
No, my problem is the fact that even though each girl was very defined and well thought through, I could not relate to any one of them on a personal level. Lillia, the girl who just wants to protect her sister, is the closest I got but every time they “pranked” Alex, Rennie or Reeve, I just couldn’t relate.
Some of these pranks, while they weren’t hurtful to anything except for the recipient’s pride, were something that I couldn’t morally agree with. However at one point, one of these pranks ends up with someone almost dying.
These characters aren’t meant to loved but the reader is supposed to feel something other than utter disgust. That I’m 100% sure of. I mean, what’s the point of a character that the reader can’t even feel sorry for?
I have just two problem to cover before we can go on to the rest of the review. The first part is that Lillia’s sexual abuse wasn’t that big. She was raped by a few college guys at one point. It’s only really brought up once and then forgotten about. I really wish it was a bigger part of the story.
The second part is the huge sexism in this book. It’s very big and very hard to miss. It really bugged me and just grated on my nerves. Thankfully, it was mostly in one part of the book so I could ignore it a bit but why was it there in the first place?
This is the time when I say some positive things about the characters because they were good, if entirely unrelatable.
Lillia is the eh one of the three. I wasn’t very sure whether I liked her or if I couldn’t stand her. There was the pretty badass Lillia who only wanted revenge and would do anything to get it but then there was the slut shaming, sexist vapid girl, which made me want to tear my hair out.
Kat is the druggie, indie punk lover. She’s pretty different than most of the characters in YA books but I wasn’t all too fond of her. While she had spirit, she was pretty much just that “bad girl” with little anything else.
Mary. MARY. God, she was an useless nuisance. I mean, she wasn’t useless but I didn’t like her at all. She is just plain. Compared to the other two, Mary had little to no personality. Though I eventually came to grudgingly not hate her but I never liked her.
Rennie, one of the “bad guys” to both Kat and Lilla (to a lesser extent), was definitely cruel and I found her motives quite believable. I did really like her as the villains, and out of the three, she was definitely the best.
Alex is the bad guy to Lillia. Alex is having sex with Lillia’s younger sister, something Lillia had thought of before Kat added to it by telling her how she had seen the two together. He was probably the worst of the three for various, spoilery reasons.
The third one, Reeve, was an all right villain – bad guy to Mary. He was fairly characterless and he wasn’t important till the very end. I really don’t have any feelings for him because he wasn’t in the story long enough for me to develop any sort of emotions to.
Plot and Writing
The plot had to be one of the best parts, along with the interaction between Lillia, Kat, and Mary. The story is basically a revenge plot in which the three girls try to make fools of the three people who wronged them. The story is very entertaining, even though some parts are kind of hard to read for me. It’s not scary, just hard.
Overall, I really liked the story. Was it very deep? No. Thought provoking? Not exactly. Fun? Yes, definitely. If you want a little spice to your lazy day, this book is pretty good for that. It’s a pretty good revenge story. It’s not anywhere near what I expected it to be, mainly because of the lackluster plot twists.
The plot is really engrossing. I finished most the book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It starts off pretty slowly but it definitely builds once the girls meet each other and the POVs aren’t just floating around wildly.
I don’t really know what to say about this. I really was too caught up in the story to notice the writing. It was obviously good enough to keep me more focussed on reading than caring about the writing.
Um this is awkward… *sneaks out the back door*
Likes and Dislikes
– plot twisting
BURN FOR BURN is a definite recommend. It’s not amazing but it’s defintely not bad. I recommend it to someone looking for a fun contemp with a hint of supernatural.