Books, YA Fiction

Burn For Burn, by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian


Rating: 4 Stars

“You can chalk up things to coincide so many times before you have to face the truth.”

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.
KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.
LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.
MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.
None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.
With an alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently…” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

I jumped into this book thinking it would be a light contemporary romance, but boy, I was wrong! The girls do some pretty scary stuff in this book.


Nowadays, we might think the cliques, drama, and darkness in high school is a bit overdone and unrealistic, since many teenagers (including me) say that is not how high school is like. High school for me was never like this, but I’ve heard crazy stories about teenagers from good schools do pretty bad things, and it’s kind of scary. Burn For Burn emphasizes this darkness, not only in the high school atmosphere, but what can happen when you let your guard down or get out of control. The psychological aspect ties in very well with the chick-lit feel of the book and that eventually made it a highly entertaining read.

The main characters in this book, and all the characters for that matter, were absorbing as hell. If I had the confidence, I would have requested Han and Vivian to write Burn For Burn in each of characters’ viewpoints and an individual novella a long time ago. I swear, every single character had this factor that just pulled me in. Even the “villains” in this book (who were cruel, cruel people), I was able to sympathize and understand with. The main characters were likable and amazing as well. They each had distinct voices and were badass in their own ways. Lillia is the good girl who isn’t afraid to take action when someone she loves gets hurt. Lillia’s relationship with her sister was realistic, and it expressed every elder sibling’s love and frustration toward their younger sibling. Kat is blunt, tough, and considerably my favorite of the three. Not only because she doesn’t take crap from anyone, but also that isn’t a stereotypical tough girl. She’s so genuine and real with herself and with others, and doesn’t act all tough just to give people that image. Mary is broken inside, but has a quiet determination to get back up. Her relationship with the boy that wronged her was so different from anything I’ve seen in YA.

The romance is… confusing. Everyone in this book has hooked up with each other at least once or they have some sort of attraction towards each other. It kind of reminds of a book I read recently, The Luxe, in which all the characters are entangled in this love… pentagon. I recommend you don’t pay attention to all the relationships too much, but try to keep track, they’ll probably become relevant in the next book. My only real complaint about this book is the ending. It way too abrupt; especially when just introducing that paranormal thing and not elaborating on it before the book ended.

Overall, what may look to you as a fun contemporary romance is actually a deep, gut-wrenching about being pushed to your limits and getting even, once and for all. I recommend this to everyone, and my advice is to ignore all the stereotypes and chick-lit elements, and look beyond that.