Burn for Burn: A Book Review


Burn for BurnTitle: Burn for Burn

Author: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Published: September 18th, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 358

Genre: Young Adult / Contemporary and Fantasy

Source: Library / Hardcover

Summary: 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? {Goodreads}

My Thoughts: I think one should own up to their mistakes, so here’s mine: I am sad to say that on more than one occasion, I checked out Burn for Burn from the library, had the greatest intentions of reading it, and then returned it because it didn’t seem like the right novel for me {one must make these decisions with a looming pile of books to read}. Clearly, I had no idea what I was thinking, because I not only ate up Burn for Burn in one day, I went straight to the library to get the second book shortly thereafter! Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian have both made themselves more than worthy of my favorite authors list, and now – having read book number three – my only remaining goal is to get another person hooked on the trilogy.

Lillia, Kat, and Mary have one thing on their mind: revenge. Lillia can’t forget what happened over the summer, and she’ll do anything to protect her sister from the same situation; Kat is tired of her best-friend-turned-enemy’s insults, backstabbing, and cruelty; and Mary is back on Jar Island to reverse what she can sadly never get back. Revenge never ends well of course, but for readers, it’s an entertaining and highly addictive ride. Han and Vivian work their magic to hook readers from the first page {it helps that the story is told from all three girls’ perspectives}, and if my experience is any indication, you won’t want the book to end. It may appear to be a light guilty pleasure, but Burn for Burn proves itself to be layered, complex, AND engaging.

The developed plot isn’t the only thing to note, as the shifting character relationships are an outstanding element as well. Lillia, Kat, and Mary never know who to trust, and as a result, you’re guessing right along with them. Both authors have you despising a character one minute, and rooting for them the next – frustrating, but in all truth, kind of fun too! Han and Vivian use suspense to their advantage; their subtle cues in character and plot development are key components to the story.

My only complaint is that the plot feels rushed in certain points. It’s a fairly long book, but while reading, I questioned how quickly Lillia and Kat reconciled, and furthermore, how quick they were to accept Mary in their plans. It’s a minor problem, and thankfully, I was on too much of a “book high” to care all that much!

I think it’s safe to say that Burn for Burn is already on my list of favorite reads of 2014. I’m still trying to put my thoughts on books two and three into words, but in the meantime, I suggest prioritizing this series on your TBR shelf. Subtlety may be important to the story; however, in the case of my review, I hope my intentions are anything but subtle :)

Pros: The book’s synopsis does little to suggest how well-crafted the story is. The main and supporting characters are also developed, but above all, it’s just an addictive read!

Cons: Certain events feel rushed, but as I mentioned above, it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.

Heads Up: The Jar Island aren’t perfect, to say the least. Drinking, language, romance, and the revenge aspect may be of concern.

Overall: I give it 4 1/2 stars {**** 1/2}, and I recommend it for ages 14 and up.

Have a lovely Tuesday!



5 thoughts on “Burn for Burn: A Book Review

  1. […] While I thoroughly enjoyed To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, it was Jenny Han’s Burn for Burn series {written with another good author, Siobhan Vivian} that earned this valentine. I was – and still am – obsessed with the Burn for Burn books, and I am always happy to discuss the revengeful story of Lillia, Mary, and Kat with anyone and everyone. Of course, my anticipation for the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before sequel doesn’t hurt either. {reviews: 1 / 2} […]


  2. […] The finale of Act I, “Non-Stop” is used to describe Hamilton’s accomplishments to Aaron Burr; he is, in a sense, “non-stop” as he writes much of the Federalist Papers, attends the Constitutional Convention, and becomes a successful lawyer. Now, I’ll use the phrase to describe how I read Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian’s incredible Burn for Burn trilogy, which is to say: without break. How can you stop at only one book when the cliffhanger practically begs you to check out the next one? {review} […]


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