Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian (review copy) - Bad things can happen, even to good girls, and sometimes the only way to make things right is to do something wrong...
Lillia used to trust boys, but not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do anything to stop the same thing happening to her sister.
Kat is over the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person - her ex-best friend - and now it's payback time.
Four years ago, Mary left town because of a boy. Now that she’s back, she's going after him and she's going to make him pay.
Threee very different girls who want the same thing: revenge, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they've each had a taste. From the blurb.
Being the huge fan of Jenny Han that I am, and having recently finished To All the Boys I've Loved Before, I decided I needed to catch up and read Burn for Burn, which she co-wrote with Siobhan Vivian. I should have read it sooner - what a great read it is!
Lillia is worried about the relationship between her 14-year-old sister and her friend. After discovering boys are not to be trusted, she's determined to protect her sister from going through the same thing. Kat was ditched by her former best friend, Rennie, years ago, and has been on the receiving end of her vicious taunts ever since. Mary was badly bullied by Reeve before she left Jar Island. But she's not the same person she once was, and has come back to face him. Together, Lillia, Kat and Mary make a pact to bring down the people who have hurt them, and make them suffer.
Because of what the book is about, I was vaguely reminded of Fury by Elizabeth Miles, an urban fantasy where supernatural creatures make people pay for the bad things they've done. It's only a small similarity, the plots are completely different, but it had me excited just the same when I started. At first, Burn for Burn seemed kind of slow and tame in comparison, so I quickly threw the idea of Fury out my head, and decided to just enjoy the story for what it was.
Once I'd done that, the story became a little disturbing, morally. I don't want to spoil the story, so I'm not going to get too specific, but... My conscience was arguing with me. The things Lillia, Kat and Mary believed Alex, Rennie and Reeve had done were absolutely awful - they made me so mad! I really was sickened by some of their behaviour. Of course they can't get away with that! I was rooting for the girls with their plots and schemes to get payback, because these people deserved it! And yet... I started to feel uneasy when their plans were put into motion. Some of the plans didn't seem so bad in the great scheme of things, but other things, I felt really uncomfortable with. Even some of the tamer events that take place. I couldn't help but think about how the "bad person" was feeling, being on the receiving end of the girls' plans. Seeing them unfold, and how some of these people were affected, it wasn't great. But then I would remind myself of what they had done. It was like a constant battle in my head.
Until the last third of the book, where things go too far. Even before things were moving, I was completely dumbfounded, thinking, "Oh my god, you cannot be serious?!" And then seeing it all play out, just knowing how things are going to go, because how could they not?! And what's scary is that these girls are normal. Kat is a tough chick, but can have her feelings hurt like anyone else, and has a sensitive center. She's not a bad person despite having a bit of an attitude. Lillia is popular and friendly, liked by everyone, quintessentially nice. Mary is quiet and shy, very pretty, yet someone who would go under the radar and not put herself out there. Yet these three normal, nice girls become darker people when they put their minds to what revenge. It's really gripping, whether you agree with what they're doing or not.
And the ending of this book! Oh my god! Some things I saw coming, others I didn't, but wow! So many questions! And I'm really excited to see how things will play out for these three girls and the other characters affected! So looking forward to reading Fire with Fire, the second book in the trilogy. I really must get my hands on it soon! A fantastic read!
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Children's Books for the review copy.
Published: 28th February 2013
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Jenny Han's Website
Siobhan Vivian's Website