Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (Review)


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?

I really enjoyed this book, it was chalk full of teen-drama, friendship, and romance.  To make it even better, it centers around the bittersweet revenge that three girls seek on people who have greatly wronged them or their loved ones.  Burn for Burn is certainly a page turner, once you start reading it you will find it very difficult to put down!  I read the whole 358 page book in one sitting and I still didn’t have enough of it!

Burn for Burn follows three girls: Lillia, Mary, and Kat who ultimately team up together to pursue revenge.  First, there is Lillia, who lives in the shadow of her best friend, Rennie. Lillia is very protective over her younger sister especially when it comes to guys taking advantage of her.  Then there is Kat who used to be best friends with Lillia and Rennie.  When Rennie started to choose Lillia over her, Kat and Rennie had a falling out, and since then Kat has been continually tormented by her.  By this point in Kat’s life, she no longer is going to stoically accept the torment, but rather she is going back after Rennie with a vengeance.  Lastly there is Mary, and she is returning from Jar Island after being bullied as a child by one of the popular boys, Reeve.  When she comes back to the island she is not the same girl she used to be and she wants to prove it.  These three girls’ paths intertwine and they are prepared to seek revenge on three individuals who so rightly deserve it.

Lillia was definitely my favorite character.  I loved how protective she was over her sister and that she was very loving, yet, at the same time I don’t think her reasons for wanting revenge were as worthy as the other girls.  I could understand Kat’s desires to get back at Rennie who is the classic mean girl, but Lillia’s situation wasn’t as life altering as the others.  When I started reading from Mary’s perspective I immediately knew that her case would be different; throughout most of the book we are waiting to hear what had happened to her, and when we learned I was certainly horrified. The experience explained why Mary was a little more psychologically damaged then the other girls, and so I definitely empathized more with Mary than with Kat and Lillia, although this doesn’t mean I necessarily liked Mary’s character more.

Even when I learned the truth about Mary and finally was able to understand all three girls’ cases of revenge, I got annoyed with them because it got to the point where their revenge was being taken to far.  They felt hurt and naturally wanted the others to suffer as well, but what they started doing to Reeve was way too extreme. At this point I desperately wanted the girls to rise above the teen drama and get over their revenge, and maybe end with them realizing that revenge will never heal their wounds, but they continued doing it.  They were playing with fire and it was only a matter of time until they got burned.

Something that really surprised me was that there is a slight supernatural and fantasy element woven into this story.  It is foreshadowed throughout the story, but I’m not sure that it really fits in.  I think Burn for Burn could have worked without it, but since I haven’t started reading the other books in the series, I guess I don’t know if it will become important.

Lastly I feel as though there wasn’t really a conclusion to the novel.  It was such a huge cliffhanger that I wished we got a little bit more of resolution.  Nonetheless I did really enjoy reading Burn for Burn, and so if you like books that focus on revenge and teen drama then this book would be perfect for you!


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