Book Review – ‘Burn for Burn’ by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Like a murder club for teen girl revenge.

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Paranormal

No. of pages: 377

From Goodreads:

BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY…THEY GET EVEN

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 unlikely 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.

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Burn for Burn’ turned out to be a very quick read. Though, it took me one third of the book to really get into the story. There are a lot of characters and it was difficult to keep them straight in my head. I almost started scribbling notes. Almost. I got a strong juvenile tone from the narrative and found myself missing the sophistication from other Jenny Han novels.

There is a somewhat distinct voice between the alternations in points of view (between our three protagonists, Kat, Lillia and Mary) – but it did add to my confusion and it wasn’t until halfway through the book that I fell into the rhythm of the narrative. I’m not a big fan of multiple perspectives, and though the individual flashbacks and perspectives helped the plot along, it was a little disorientating – especially with such short chapters.

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleLillia had strong echoes of Laura Jean – the Asian heritage, the rich, prissy façade, and the bratty little sister. It was a little difficult not to compare these two characters.

Mary and Kat were not too discernible from each other, if it weren’t for their names as chapter titles, or constant reference to a slutty past, or life as a fat girl, I wouldn’t know who was talking… there is the hint of a paranormal element which I found intriguing – though the final scene felt cliché – like a nod to Stephen King’s ‘Carrie.’

There was a lot of teen drinking in this – way too much for me to be comfortable with. No way I, or any of my classmates, consumed this amount of alcohol in high school. Also, I’m picking up a date rape story line that was briefly mentioned and then forgotten about entirely. That had my jaw dropping open. Then angry. Then frustration at the stupidity of the young girls. And why was this event left by the wayside – it’s not like it’s not important or anything.

I will say the actual plot and story arcs of the tree main characters were very interesting. I was totally captivated with the little twists and turns – though the book ended abruptly as soon as things got interesting, and I was wondering where the pay-off was. I didn’t get any resolution, so if you’re going to read this make sure you have the sequel on hand.

It was a fun read, I laughed out loud in several parts, and there is an element of physical comedy that I found delightful. But the bitchy girl element feels very “primary school.” This series is like a mash up of ‘First Wives Club’ and ‘Mean Girls.’ Though I found the writing style a tad droll and immature, ‘Burn for Burn’ was still entertaining. It ended on a high (literally) and a cliff hanger, and I definitely want to check out the second book in the series ‘Fire with Fire.’

Now that I’m familiar with all the characters and many elements have been introduced into the storyline, ‘Fire with Fire’ has been set up for some juicy happenings – let’s hope these girls deliver. Pretty cool, I’d give it a thumbs up and happily recommend this to lovers of YA, skewing towards the younger end of the spectrum.

Overall reaction: felt like I was slowly waking up and then it ended when the day was about to start… like this sloth!

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Burn for Burn Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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