Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Book Review: Burn for Burn

Burn for Burn
Published By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Page Count: 368
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Young Adult - Contemporary

I was so excited when I first heard about this book because I adore Jenny Han's writing. I hadn't read anything by Siobhan Vivian before this one, but I plan to remedy that as soon as I can work it in on my TBR list. Both of these ladies know how to weave a seamless, intriguing contemporary full of flawed characters, deceit, and hidden agendas. While I wasn't okay with all of the choices made by the three main characters, I couldn't seem to put this novel down.  

The story revolves around three seventeen year old girls: Mary, Kat, and Lillia. Each girl has a ton of emotional baggage weighing down their lives and they are seeking a way to feel better. The unlikely trio unites to dish out a little payback to those who have wronged them. While I totally understand the compulsion to get even - we all have those fleeting thoughts when we're upset - I could never have put anything into practice, but the trio has no problem forging a path of destruction through their classmates' lives.

In my opinion, there are no "good guys" in this one. While I felt sympathy for the girls and understood their pain, I couldn't condone how they chose to find closure. Revenge rarely leads to a positive outcome. Burn for Burn is an important novel for teens. It deals with bullying, date rape, death of a parent, drinking/drugs, and relationship issues. As a teen, I felt like my problems were so huge that they could destroy me and that nobody could really understand my pain. I wish that there had been more fiction that reflected the negative side of life. It would have helped to see that someone always has it far worse than I do. I also feel novels like this are so crucial because they encourage teens to stop and think about their actions. We never know how our harsh words are going to affect someone or how reacting without all the facts can often lead to ruined relationships. 

In addition, I really liked all the gender and social class issues that swirl around the main conflict in this one. Jar Island, the setting, is an interesting mixture of wealth and working class. The socioeconomic status of the characters often explains their viewpoint and how they approach the world. Many of the characters feel like they have to scratch and claw their way to the top of the high school hierarchy while others are popular based on how much their family has in the bank. High school is a vicious place for many and it's often difficult to tell if people have positive motives. While some say it's the best time of their lives, I fully admit that I have no desire to relive that time in my life, despite my compulsion to live vicariously through fictional characters. What is it about those years that makes for such fascinating fiction?

Finally, I couldn't help but think of "The Craft" while I was reading this. There is no magic in this novel, but it just reminded me of how the girls in that movie bonded together to get a little payback against those who had wronged them. Think of this as the Gossip Girl version of "The Craft" with a little Pretty Little Liars revenge to spice things up - lots of beautiful people with sharp tongues seeking to be best and brightest of the high school while navigating the hidden currents of revenge. It's dark and decadent reading that ends on a pretty steep cliff. The next book can't get here soon enough.


One Last Gripe: I was really frustrated that some of the girls initiated revenge without truly having all the facts. I'm not condoning revenge tactics, but I could at least understand why some people were targets.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The multiple narrators - I liked being able to get inside the minds of Mary, Kat, and Lillia

First Sentence: The morning fog has painted everything white.

Favorite Character: Lillia

Least Favorite Character: Rennie



BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY...
THEY GET EVEN.

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she'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. And she's ready to prove it to him.

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


19 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I think you'd like it. There isn't a ton of romance, but it's a great contemporary. I know you have been enjoying that genre lately.

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  2. Great review! I saw the cover of this book around it seemed interesting but I didn't know much about the book until now. I'll probably look for this book if I see it, but I don't know how I'll like the revenge thing. I'm generally against it because I think people should have more sense but I like that yous said in the story no one is really all good or all bad. That, I do like.

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    1. I also didn't get the sense from this one that it was really condoning the revenge. The main trio definitely spends time questioning their choices and shows remorse at various points. I saw it more as a story that would deter people from seeking revenge rather than one that encourages you to solve your problems that way.

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  3. Thanks for this amazing review!! xox

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Jenny. I am glad you enjoyed the review. I can't wait for more. Your comment made my day. :)

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  4. It sounds like a good book for teens. I agree that I wish there were more boys like this when I was in H.S. Thanks for your thoughts!

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    1. It has some really crucial lessons that teens - especially girls - could certainly benefit from....

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  5. I have been looking forward to read this one. Having loved Han's Summer series this immediately made my wishlist. Sounds like a great co-written novel.

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    1. I actually liked this one better than the Summer books.

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  6. I was lucky enough to win a copy of Burn for Burn from the wonderful Evie at Bookish. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but I am very curious about it. I have read several reviews similar to yours that say they couldn't put it down but didn't love the characters. I still can't wait to read it though. Seriously can't wait.

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    1. I think it's an extremely important book for teen girls. It's quite thought provoking.

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  7. This sounds interesting. I kind of like books with unlikeable protagonists every once in a while. It mixes things up and forces me to look at things differently.

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    1. I agree. I don't want to dislike the protagonist in every novel, but it does work from time to time. I find it keeps my reading from getting too stale and predictable.

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  8. Ooh---girl revenge...sounds like a good read.

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  9. I loved this book and it burned it my hot little fist as I read it. Have to agree the revenge thing at times the gals took too far! Awesome review!

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  10. The characters in this one really shone!! They know how to do multiple POV:)

    Lovely review:)

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  11. Ohhh, sounds intriguing a wicked! ;-)

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  12. Looks like an interesting book dealing with difficult teen issues. I love books with rebellious girls Will check this one out soon.

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