Confessions Of A Bookaholic Presents: Burn For Burn

Playing with fire means someone is going to get burned, but in this book three girls make sure that the only people who are going to get theirs, are the people who deserve it the most. Are you ready to get your burn on? 😉

“Burn For Burn”
by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (September 18, 2012) four_star_half.fw


Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds. But 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 anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll be damned if she lets the same thing happen to her little sister. Kat is through with being called a freak. She’s over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person – her ex-best friend – and Kat’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. Now that she’s back, he’s gonna be in trouble… ‘cause she’s coming after him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they’ve each had a taste.

Revenge is intriguing. I mean some of the most entertaining things to watch or read have to do with someone out to get someone else, to right a wrong or some sort of offense. As a writer, it is also a lot of fun to write. The project I am working on now – revenge is a central theme, the whole eye for an eye thing. Perhaps it’s because I’m a nonviolent person, but I always think that revenge that is sophisticated, stylish and poetic so that the punishment fits the crime is the best. And in this way this book does not disappoint.

I don’t want to say too much, because I’m very sensitive about spoilers, so anything I share is something you’ll learn right away or things I don’t think affect events or anticipating what comes next. Lillia, Kat and Mary aren’t friends in the beginning. Lillia and Kat used to be and have a complicated history (Lillia’s bestie is Kat’s ex-best friend), but neither girl knows Mary, because Lillia didn’t live on Jar Island before Mary left, and Kat went to a different middle school. All of the girls have been wronged in big ways, none of the “you stole my boyfriend” crap. This makes it a lot easier to get on board with the whole revenge thing, not to mention the places these girls take it. It’s a lot easier, not to mention effective, when you have three people working against a single target instead of just one, and each girl participates in each act of revenge. Here’s a part of their pact excerpted below:

“No one can never know what we’re up to. What we do together lives and dies with us.” Then I clear my throat, because this is the most important part. “And if we’re really going to do this, no one can bail halfway through. If you’re in, you need to be in until the very end. Until we all get what we want. If not, well… consider yourself fair game.”      -Kat

This book is told through the perspectives of all three girls, switching back and forth, giving each character their own voice. This my favorite narrative style to read, and sometimes write. These characters all came across as different people, but Mary and Lillia were a little too similar for my liking. Mary came across as just a more timid and delicate version of Lillia. They both come from the same socio-economic backgrounds, but that doesn’t really explain how they sound so alike, or even have such similar personalities. But Kat is definitely her own voice, and what a strong voice it is. I have never read a book by two authors before (that I can remember anyway) and I wonder if one of the authors wrote Kat and the other wrote Lillia and Mary. This would make sense to me, but maybe that’s just because I’m trying to imagine how two authors worked together because if both of their names weren’t on the cover I would have never guessed this novel was penned by more than one person. They definitely have found a way to merge their two voices into one, and I can’t help being curious as to who wrote what.

Similar voices aside, all three characters were alive and well-formed. They talked like teenagers, and their problems were those of teenagers. Both authors really captured this. The setting and supporting characters were perfect and everything felt very “contemporary high school.” Most of the book was a total win, and I was cheering the three girls on as they came up with the perfect revenge scenarios for the first target. And then to see these girls get to work – wow. Once they were finished with their first mark, it was time to move on to last two targets, and each was to be “taken out” at the homecoming dance. Their plan was also perfect, and if everything would go exactly as they planned…

The last 19 pages of this book threw me. I’m not going to lie, and it’s not about things working out the way the girls planned or not, it’s something else entirely, and it left me with mixed feelings. In fact, it was the entire reason this book was only 4.5 out of 5 stars instead of a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. Imagine if you’re reading a sensitive story about losing a parent to cancer and at the very end of the book, while the characters are saying their last goodbyes – a flying saucer crashes into the room, landing on everyone’s heads. What the fuck? Right? That’s kind of what the last 19 pages of this book felt like. I was just on repeat, “Wtf, wtf, wtf!”

I felt what happened was random, crossing the boundaries of genre, and not to mention fucked. I felt the story would have been much stronger if they (the authors) didn’t go to “the place” that they did. But this is the first book in a trilogy, and I’m hoping that Book #2 fixes everything. I’m not sure if this involves explaining what happened as something else, or expanding on it so that it becomes the focus of the trilogy, so it doesn’t seem random and out of place. I’m hopeful, because with the exception of those final 19 pages, I could not put this book down. As in I stayed up until 4:00 in the morning, reading nonstop because I couldn’t sleep not knowing what would happen. And that’s an awesome thing for a book to be able to do.

Everything was just right until that surprise… so I’m hoping the second book gets everything back on track – to perfection. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good revenge novel. But until I finish the trilogy, I’m not sure if I would warn them about the surprise at the end or not. I’m hoping by the end of the second book it will be redeemed and all can be forgiven.



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0 Responses to Confessions Of A Bookaholic Presents: Burn For Burn

  1. Pingback: Confessions Of A Bookaholic Presents: Burn For Burn Book #2 – Fire With Fire | Just A Little Red

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