Review: Burn for Burn-Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

3/5 Stars

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1)-Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian 

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Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned. -William Congreve 

Plot: Burn for Burn is the age-old didactic tale of a woman scorned, or more simply, a story of revenge. Lillia, Kat, and Mary are girls from different social classes, levels of popularity, and home lives but they have one thing in common, the dangerous rage and thirst for vengeance after they’d been wronged. The story is told from three perspectives:

Lillia is one of the most popular, beautiful, likeable girls in school. She’s genuine, caring, and yet is trapped; she’s surrounded by the stereotypical mean girl-her best friend Rennie, a cheerleader-the jocks, and the typical bobble head other friend Ashlin. Up until this point, Lillia realizes that she’s made some mistakes in the past, one that she regrets more than anything (I don’t blame her), and starts to question whether her friendship with Rennie is worth it. When she finds out her baby sister Nadia got drunk and had a sleepover at Alex’s (her best guy friend) she feels more than betrayed, she feels raw, bruised, and wants nothing more than to get him back for taking advantage of her sweet, naïve little sister.

Kat use to be best friends with Lillia and Rennie until they dropped her and started treating her like she had the plague-i.e. poverty. Kat resents the abrupt way they left her behind in the dust, rose to popularity, and Rennie goes out of her way to spread atrocious, catty rumors about her. Kat wants payback for all the hate she’s suffered at the hands of her former BFFs and she plans on mercilessly dealing out punishment.

Mary is the same age as Kat and Lillia, use to live on the island but after a traumatic experience moves to the mainland for serious therapy, and is set back a year in school. Mary returns to the island years later to face her demons of the past, hoping to shove the new her down the throat of her tormentor. But as she settles down into high school life, he doesn’t even recognize her. This wounds her more than anything else. After all the pain, the torture he inflicted on her self-esteem that he would forget her was something she could not handle.

Teaming up with Lillia and Kat, Mary and the girls discover just how far they’re willing to go to make sure those who have wronged them get what’s coming to them, learn a little about themselves, and are able to transcend social hierarchies to find common ground with their strange partners in crime.

PROS:

  • Kat has an interesting, quirky personality with a sarcastic, fiery attitude that will have you rooting for her. Her creativity in coming up with the revenge plots is truly wicked. Kat also has a broken, sad past that is occasionally shown that reveals the deep scars the cold shoulder her BFFs gave her left.
  • There is a little something for everyone. The girls are relatable on many levels, and the bad experiences they’ve had become a shared hurt that is transcended by their partnership in their quest for revenge. Bullying, drunken mistakes, and changes in friendships that seem out of the blue, and without explanation are all something that most of us have dealt with on some level. Although revenge is probably not the best way to cope, sharing experiences with others is therapeutic in itself.
  • This is definitely a story of girl power, of unity, of overcoming the past, and learning who you want to become as an adult.
  • The fact that this is not a love story allows the focus to be on the development of these three girls, and really opens up exploration into their psyches.
  • Mary is such a tragic, heartbreaking character. Her pain, her blind hope, and recovery is reason enough to enjoy this book, and is inspiring to those of us who have been severely bullied, especially by those who we considered friends.

CONS: 

  • The semi-supernatural aspect was unnecessary, and detracted from the overall theme. Too Carrie.
  • There were a few typos.
  • Lillia is too soft, she puts up with the taunting, and snarky attitudes from her popular friends who she doesn’t even like just to be popular? For someone who is so self-righteous, and known as a good person, going along with the rude, nasty nature of her friends, and watching them victimize others makes her just as guilty.
  • All of the girls make assumptions based on little evidence, and react childishly.

If you like any of the following, you’d enjoy this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

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