REVIEW: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2012
[Goodreads | Amazon]


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 first read the beginning of this book in BEA Buzz Books, which was auto-approved on NetGalley, and was instantly intrigued by the multiple narrations and the overall story: three girls who decide to right their wrongs by taking revenge on the perpetrators. I am going to say upfront that, as a general rule, I don’t tend to subscribe to the “eye for an eye” school of thought; as an educator, I am always telling my students to not hit back, to tell someone if there’s a problem, and to not take matters into their own hands. Therefore, the entire premise of this book made me slightly uncomfortable, particularly once we got into the girls’ revenge. It was that slightly uncomfortable feeling that accounts for my rating. I just wanted to be upfront about that, because that’s really my only “complaint” about this entire book.

Burn for Burn is compulsively readable. Once I started, I had a very hard time putting it down. The story itself is gripping: you want to know what led these three girls to make the decision to punish those who’d wronged them. You wanted to learn more about their back-stories, and their histories with each other and the characters they were seeking revenge on. All three girls have very distinctive voices. You have Mary, who had a childhood trauma which has stayed with her the rest of her life. Kat, who used to be friends with the popular crowd but had a huge falling out, and has had to endure lies being spread about her and her family. And then there’s Lillia, who is part of the popular crowd, but is suffering from something that happened that summer. Even without the authors’ telling you who was speaking, I knew from whose point of view I was reading, the girls’ voices were that unique. I give a definite two thumbs up in that regard. I also really loved watching the growing friendship between the girls, how they all balanced each other out, and how Lillia and Kat were able to overcome their pasts to work together for a common goal. The three girls’ relationship was probably one of the strongest parts of this entire book.

I have to admit to a bit of an embarrassment squick, which made the revenge schemes hard for me to read, particularly those taken against Alex. This was made even worse once you realize that things weren’t quite as clear cut as the girls had thought. And then you had the wham, bam, thank you ma’am ending, in which the girls got in way over their heads; I didn’t expect such a cliffhanger ending, and was shocked when my Kindle read 100% complete. What? You mean I have to wait to see the outcome of that ending? I know, I know, this is the first in a trilogy, but I wasn’t quite expecting that I’d be left hanging in that manner. There’s also the hint of a paranormal aspect that I likewise wasn’t expecting, but instead of bothering me like it very well could have, I am instead intrigued to see where the authors are going with it, and what it will mean for the girls and their victims.

All in all, Burn for Burn was a really gripping, suspenseful read that I absolutely couldn’t put down. It is a super fast read with well designed characters; even the secondary characters are fully fleshed out. Just be aware that there isn’t any closure here, no neat ending tied up in a bow. The book is fairly dark, particularly when talking about what each of the girls had to go through, so this isn’t going to be a fluffy, realistic fictional read. But I would certainly recommend it for anyone, as I think there is something for everyone in this book. Burn for Burn will be released in North America on September 15, 2012. Do yourself a favor and check it out.


An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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7 Responses to REVIEW: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

  1. The narrative and the whole idea sounds so compelling. Glad that you enjoyed.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. I’ve been debating whether or not to add this to my TBR list for a while exactly because I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a tad too fluffy for my reading tastes. It definitely sounds like a weighty read, though, so I’ll have to check it out when it’s released. Great review!

    • Merin says:

      Thanks! I really enjoyed it, probably because the girls’ stories were so dark. Hope you enjoy it when you do get a chance to read it! :)

  3. This doesn’t sound like something I normally read. I like the cover, but the blurb doesn’t appeal to me. I’m glad that you liked it though :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves #14 –

  5. Rachel says:

    Really amazing review! I was actually a bit in doubt if I should read this novel next but your review just assured me I should pick this one ASAP! I loved that the each girl has an unique voice which you can easily identify. Furthermore I was intrigued that you don’t know what happened to these girls at first and I think that would surely grab my attention. Ah, cliffhangers, they are understandable but so mean! I’m already dreading the last page :)
    Great review!
    Rachel @ Books to Consider

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