September 7, 2012

A Taste of Revenge • Burn for Burn

Burn for Burn book cover
Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Series: Burn for Burn #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: BEA 2012 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions expressed in my review.]

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.

Burn for Burn. Doesn’t that sound like something a girl would declare arrogantly and triumphantly after being able to successfully exact her revenge on someone who’s made her life a living hell? That’s how I like to think of it, anyway, and it’s actually sort of what this book by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian is about.

Anyone who has ever been bullied or who has ever felt oppressed in a relationship of any kind will understand that thirst to get back at or equally hurt the person who’s pushing your buttons. I know that I’ve experienced moments where I fantasized about concocting a grand scheme to get back at the girls who used to tease me. I think it’s natural – it’s a comfort, for the most part, and it makes one feel better.

Kat, Mary and Lillia, our three main characters, take this one step further – they actually band together to perform these acts of revenge they’ve come up with. 

Before anything else, I’m going to take the time to state that I don’t condone bullying of any kind whatsoever. It doesn’t even matter whether or not a person deserves “what’s coming to them”; hurting other people or scheming against them is NEVER a good thing.

Anyway, Kat, Mary and Lillia start out with revenge that’s more like pranks on their first victim. I initially believed that their actions were going to remain like this for the book – little pranks that would mess with their targets, until they could escalate into a full-blown confrontation – and thought I would be entertained a la Mean Girls. But the thing is, the revenge escalates, especially as we discover the story behind each girl’s thirst for retribution. It finally peaks in the biggest act of revenge yet –and from there, everything just spirals out of control.

Honestly, I liked the three girls well enough, so the switching POVs weren’t a hassle to me. The authors did a brilliant job with making each girl sound unique, and giving them different life circumstances. It was very easy to distinguish their voices. The one I could relate to the best was Lillia, if only because I’m somewhat similar to her in personality (at least before the revenge monster took over).

I actually enjoyed when the three of them would convene and plot out what to do next. They had an exclusive little circle, and I liked watching them discuss things, open up to each other and scheme about what to do next. Whatever what happens in the end, I firmly believe that the three of them are tied together – whether as friends or enemies, that remains to be seen.

The book is actually darker than I expected it to be. The things these three girls had to go through were incredibly different from one another, but equally sad and hurtful. I could understand why they reacted the way they did towards their victims and why the revenge became so important to them. But I also, at times, thought they were crazy and that they were just taking all these things a tad too far.

Also, there’s absolutely zero romance in this book. Okay, fine, maybe there was a wee little bit of romance tossed in, but nothing too serious. While I personally find it refreshing, I know that other people enjoy having that aspect, so I’m here to warn you that there’s nothing of that sort here. I do like one of the guy characters though, so hopefully, something romantic happens in the next book.

One thing I didn’t get was the whole sort of paranormal/superstitious thing that started making appearances towards the middle of the book. While I’m mildly curious to find out the logic behind it, I’m not so sure it was really necessary to include in the book. It made for some interesting moments though!

I did have fun reading Burn for Burn, though it’s actually a lot more serious than I expected it to be. I’m really curious to find out where it’s going to go in the next book, as well as seeing how things are going to be resolved. There are a lot of unanswered questions left, and I’m eager to get all the answers. Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian have managed to create a book that’s escapist, thought-provoking and well, a little dark. Burn for Burn certainly managed to ensnare me with its addictive plot – and I’m certain most readers will feel the same.



    OK, I guess it's alright that there's no romance, but still. ANYWAY. This really looks like a good read! I like that it was darker than you expected -- from the synopsis, it definitely looks like a light read.

    Great review, Alexa -- thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm one who is fussy when it comes to grammar and spelling mistake so I just wanted to alert you about the second paragraph, the first word. You say anyway but I think the word you meant was anyone. Just thought I'd let you know because if this was my review, I'd hope someone would tell me.

    Ooh, I'll be sure to prepare myself for it being darker. I suppose it should be expected though, these girls want to get back at people who hurt them and revenge can get ugly and out of control, just look at the TV show, Revenge. No romance? Aw! But I'm still SO excited, nothing can dampen my moods right now!

    Fabulous review! :D

  3. Thanks for the no romance warning! I don't mind it so much, but I'm so used to it being there at least a little that I would have kept looking for it to appear ;)
    I think everyone can relate to wanting to get back at people who have teased/bullied you. I know I do. It'll be interesting to see what happens when 3 girls plot together to do this exactly (I can already it ending badly...).

  4. The paranormal happenings were sort of odd to me as well? At first I thought it was like in her head and then it happened again and I'm like "is this a thing?" It seemed like too much to put in a book that was uber intense anyway.

    I did think there was a little romance! In fact, I was frustrated with some of the reactions to some of the romantical/feeling stuff that was happening/not happening if that makes sense. It wasn't the focal point of the book at all but I thought it existed.

    I thought Burn for Burn was fun but I don't understand how they will make it a trilogy. It's strange that it's set during their senior year and we are going to get three books out of that? Unless they go to some weird out of this world thing based on the paranomal which would be a shift this series also doesn't need.

    While this wasn't my favorite I certainly liked it more than The List for Siobhan's work, but for Jenny... the Summer series is still tops.

  5. Nice review! Can't wait to read this one... although I didn't realize it was a trilogy! Idk if I'm up for another series, but ok maybe I am :)

  6. Okay, I finished this one yesterday and I loved it. I haven't read anything by either of these authors before, so they're both new to me. I thought this book was highly addictive, which was great, and easy, breezy, and light to read. Yes, it was a little darker than the cover looks. And I was surprised at the 'lack' of romance and the supernatural element (where the heck did that come from?). But when it ended, I was like NOOOOOOO! Cliffhanger! I'll definitely be checking out the next book. My blog post will be going up soon so you can see more of my thoughts, but ultimately, I liked this one more than I thought I would!

    Great review Alexa, as always!

  7. I agree about the paranormal aspects. I'm not entirely convinced it worked, and quite frankly, I don't understand what the point of including all that was. Still, I did find this book a little addictive. I would happily read the next one. Great review! :)

  8. I loved Burn for Burn, but I was totally shocked by the paranormal aspects in it, and while it didn't really take away from the book for me, I'm not really sure it was necessary either. I'm can't wait to see where the rest of the books go, I just hope it's more on the revenge side than the paranormal side.

    I also found the lack of romance refreshing, and the story line was so compelling that I didn't even notice the lack of romance until I finished the book.

  9. Well this one sounds...interesting; definitely a lot different than I thought it would be! I must say the whole revenge thing is turning me off a bit but I still want to give this one a shot!
    Plus no romance!?!!??! That's just craziness!

  10. Yes! I was (pleasantly) surprised by the darkness, but I think it helped me really grow attached to the girls. I know what you mean about the paranormal element, but I think that we'll find out more in book two. Great review!

  11. I don't like the sound of paranormal popping into the book. I'd much rather just read an honest to goodness realistic revenge story.
    The scheming and no romance are both things I can definitely get behind, though.


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)