Monday, May 20, 2013

Burn for Burn (Book Review)

Monday, May 20, 2013 11:44 AM with 10 comments

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1)

Burn for Burn

Author(s): Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Number of Pages: 368
Release Date: September 18, 2012

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


I read this book when it first came out and just finished listening to the audio version. Both times I found Burn for Burn to be an immensely readable book. It was something I was drawn into immediately. The story revolves around 3 teenage girls--Mary, Kat, and Lillia who live on Jar Island. Jar Island is a "real island" (you have to take a ferry to get on it) that is made up of a few small towns that share one high school.

Mary is the "new girl" in town, kind of. She used to live on the island, although she went to a Montessori school on the mainland. She used to be overweight and was bullied at her old school. When a particularly bad event occurred, her parents moved her away from the island for a few years. Now she is back to attend Jar Island's high school and living in her old house with her aunt.

Kat is an outsider at their school. She's the "bad girl". She is friends with a couple of guys, but her only real friend is a 20-something who lives on the mainland. She was hooking up with one of the popular boys over the summer, but now that school is starting that seems to have ended.

Lillia is the "popular girl". Rich and pretty, she seems to have it all, but she has some definite issues. For one, her best friend is an awful person. Also, something truly horrific happened to her at the end of the summer (that is barely touched on).

What these three girls have in common is the need for revenge. The story follows the three of them finding each other and opening up some whup-ass on those that have done them wrong. Of course, revenge is always messy.

This next part **May contain mild spoilers** STOP READING if that is a problem for you.

While I enjoyed Burn for Burn, it is not without its problems. One, the magical element that started creeping in halfway through the book was weird and awkward. It came out of nowhere and didn't really fit in with the rest of the story. Because this is only book one, I'm sure this element will be delved into deeper in the coming books, but it felt out of place. Two, one of the people on whom they were getting revenge was obviously innocent. If they would have just talked to him/her, the whole mess would have been cleared up. Three, for real what happened to Lillia was just glossed over in a way that felt both insensitive and wrong. If it was something that didn't really affect her (strongly) then why even have it happen? Finally, the ending just left me cold the first time I read it. I know that series have to hook their readers to make them want to keep reading, but, for me, it was too abrupt. Because I knew it was coming, it didn't bother me as much on the re-read, and now I'm just excited to start the second book.

Overall I really did enjoy this book. The writing was quick and easy and I was invested in all three characters and I'm always a sucker for revolving POVs. What I liked about it definitely outweighs what issues I have.


  1. I really liked this one, but I agree about the magical element. It was totally awkward and unnecessary, but I'm sure it'll play a bigger role in the second book!

    1. I agree. I do think it will be giving more of a spotlight in the second book and I hope it will make more sense. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I think this one sounds like a lot of fun! Every once in awhile we all need a book like this! I'll have to see if I can pick this one up somewhere. Great review!

    1. It is fun. I really enjoyed it and found that it held my attention in a way most books do not these days. Hope you can get your hands on a copy. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I didn't like Lillia as a character at first, but by the end of the book she became my favorite of the girls. I agree that the supernatural element came so out of the blue and it was awkward, indeed. I hope the next one won't be all about that.. I can't wait to see what happens next though. Lovely review, Natalie!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

    1. Thanks, Siiri! Lillia was probably my favorite, but I really like all 3. She definitely has the most to lose as everyone they are going after is in her social circle. I hope the magical element doesn't become the main focus of the second book, but I do hope it gets explained.Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Oh wasn't really expecting a supernatural element, thought it was contemporary. Still sounds like a good read though.
    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

    1. It really is a fun read. I enjoyed it...both times. The supernatural element is small, but jarring because it doesn't come into play until about halfway through. Until then, it really is pure contemp. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Wow that's weird we both put put reviews of this book on the same day and gave it the same rating haha. I have similar feelings to you, I thought the fantasy element was unnecessary and just seemed weird and unexpected. But hopefully the authors will go somewhere good with it in the 2nd book.

    Great review :)

    1. It's funny. At least we know we have similar tastes. I can't wait to read the second book. The first really kept me interested the entire time, two times, which is saying quite a bit in my current slump. Thanks for stopping by!


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