REVIEW: Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My rating: 

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 do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate. 

Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.

Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far.

“This is Karma. I’m a bitch. Can you think of anyone who deserves a bitch slap?"

After reading Khan's review about this book, I totally agree with her when she said that parent would want their kids to be home schooled after reading this... I totally want my kid to be home schooled now! The things that these kids have done in this book were... so evil.. so uncaring... they wanted vengeance... they wanted to make them pay...they would do whatever it cost, to deliver their vengeance.

The theme of the story was good. It was about three teenage girls wanting to get revenge on people who have done them wrong. Pretty intriguing right? My only problem with that is, the reason why they wanted to get revenge were pretty shallow and puerile. I wanted it to be more darker. I wanted their reason for retribution was for a deeper reason. But it wasn't. All their reasons were pretty childish and pathetic to me.

Burn for Burn was told in alternating POVs of the girls below. You will get a glimpse of the story through all their eyes (which I really liked) and it will let you know their separate issues and how they reacted to them.

Mary came back to Jar Island. She wanted to confront the reason she left in the first place. Reeve. But she had no idea how she was going to approach him or will he even remember her. She had no clue what to do, other than going back, and facing him.

Lillian has always been protective of her younger sister. She doesn't want anything bad to happen to her. She knows as well as anyone that anything could happen during parties... and she doesn't want the same thing that happened to her, happen to her sister. But when Alex (her sort-of-friend/boyfriend) started hanging out with her sister... or whatever they were doing... She knew she had to put a stop to it. No guy was going to mess around with her sister... Not when she's alive.

Kat and Rennie used to be friends... Her, Lillia and Rennie, used to hang out all the time. But of course things change, and Rennie started to spread nasty rumors about her which got out of hand. But she's had enough. She wasn't going to let Rennie and her friends step all over her any longer. It was time to get even.

REACTION TO THE CHARACTERS: I actually pretty like them because they are very distinct. You'll see the difference in how Kat thinks to how Lillian thinks. They're pretty 3 dimensional. They each have their own characteristics. Like Kat was the rebel, Mary was the shy one, and Lillia was the popular girl (who's not totally an airhead like her best friend, Rennie). The mean kids were pretty good characters too. I find myself really hating them, especially Rennie. Alex, not too much. Reeve... I got really confused feelings with because of the backflashes that Mary keeps on getting.


Okay. So I liked the book, but not really crazy over it. I liked the whole getting even plot, but I felt that the reason why they were doing it was a bit childish for me, especially Lillia's. I felt she was getting even with the wrong person. I don't want to get all preachy, but this book, sort of sends the message that there was nothing wrong with getting even as long as it is excusable. I honestly think this sends the wrong message to teens, seeing that this book is supposed to be for teens. It shows how okay it is for people to mess other people's stuff just to get back at at them. One example was when they messed up Alex's sunscreen and it gave him a bad sunburn. But what if its not just the sunscreen? What if its something else that for other people, it might be a joke, but might cause someone their life or something. I know I'm over thinking this. But I think it's just me being a parent.

Also, what's up with getting back at people with people you barely even know??? If you're going to get back at people, shouldn't you be doing those with someone you know, someone you trust not to spill the beans? I get that Kat and Lillia had been friends, but what about Mary? Just let her join the bandwagon because she wants revenge too, even though you have no idea who the fuck she is? She could be a serial killer. Or a psycho. Or whatever bad person is out there pretending to be someone else. Thumbs down for believability.

Regarding the twist towards the end, I'm having mixed feelings towards that too. I'm not exactly sure if it was a good move or not (hence, the 3 starts). Would it have changed anything for me, if the mystery has been creeping on through the first part of the book, then gradually revealing itself towards the end? Or would it have been fine the way it was revealed. I'm not exactly sure about that part. But it was definitely a suprise for me. Which was an added bonus. I didn't see it coming.

I wasn't happy with the ending at all. I felt it was really cut short. I wasn't satisfied at all with how things unravelled. I understand that there's a book 2, but still, a little more towards the ending shouldn't have been too bad.

There were a lot of things I didn't like, but I loved the way it was told and the characters enough to give it three stars.

This was my first Jenny Han book, but have read Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian which was why I thought this book would be pretty good. This book was executed fine, but the story just wasn't my cup of tea, unfortunately.

PS: After reading this book, I'm kind of thinking I'm getting a bit too old for YA.


  1. Oooh, I've yet to read any Jenny Han purely because...none of the premises draw me in. Okay, I lie, I was a little curious about this one but I got my fix of curiosity purely through reading Khanh's review LOL I like an element of believability to my books so perhaps I won't enjoy this. Great review though, Sandee!

    Jess @ MyReadingDress

    1. Psssh. Nevermind this. The premise was exciting, but aside from the characters, the plot was a bit meeeh to me. I don't think these types of books are good for teens. :)

  2. does sound sort of shallow....:/


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