Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/Fantasy
Pub. Date: September 18, 2012
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."
There are three girls that are very different from one another and will ultimately team together to seek revenge on some people who have done them wrong. First, there's Lillia and she is always in the shadow of her best friend and ultimate mean girl, Rennie. She's a bit of a follower and finds herself doing whatever Rennie wants. However, when it comes to her younger sister, she is protective of her, especially with guys taking advantage of her. Then there's Kat, Rennie's ex-best friend, and she is often mistreated by Rennie and the "popular group." Kat has had it and wants Rennie to pay, especially since they used to be such good friends as kids and Rennie has completely written her off. Lastly, there's Mary, who has returned to Jar Island after going through a rough childhood filled with bullying from one of the popular guys on the island. But she's back to the island and she's different now and wants to prove it. All three girls' paths intertwine while planning revenge on three people who have negatively impacted their lives. Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivan's Burn for Burn is an entertaining story about friendship and revenge.
If you have read my reviews before, you know how much I worship Jenny Han. She is one of my favorite authors. I knew I HAD to read Burn for Burn; however, this novel is entirely different than the Summer series. This novel is much darker and focuses on achieving revenge at all costs, very Pretty Little Liars meets The Count of Monte Cristo. Each chapter switches point of view from Lillia, Kat, and Mary. I had a hard time connecting with one of the main characters over another, which is a rarity for me. I found each girls' story to be interesting, but I wasn't overly invested in one particular character.
All three cases of revenge are "revenge" worthy, but I really didn't connect with Lillia's case as much as the others for various reasons as I felt it wasn't as life altering as the two other cases. On the other hand, Rennie is such a mean-girl, so I had no problem with Kat wanting her to be knocked off her pedestal a bit. Mary's case deals with Reeve, an uber popular athlete, who tormented her as a child. Yes, he's horrible, but a lot of what the three girls did regarding him was taken too far. After a while, I wanted the girls to move on and rise above the high school drama. Yes, it makes for an interesting story, but it had me thinking about pay backs. Are they really worth it?
One strange thing about Burn for Burn is the fact that there is a slight supernatural/fantasy element to the novel that comes up late in the story. I knew it was coming based on some foreshadowing; however, I am not sure it fits in the story. I think Burn for Burn could have worked without it, but I could be wrong. I guess time will tell once the second book in the series comes out, which should explain that supernatural element a bit more.
If you are a fan of Pretty Little Liars or novels similar to that, you will enjoy Burn for Burn. However, if you are looking for something similar to Han's Summer series, don't expect to find it here. Burn for Burn takes readers down a totally different path, but it's still a fun path nonetheless.