Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Release Date
: September 18th 2012
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Buy It: Book Depository
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, May 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.
Han and Vivian are two popular contemporary YA authors I've been meaning to read for ages... so when an unexpected copy of the first book in their co-written trilogy showed up in my mailbox, it was two birds with one stone.

I was really impressed by the writing in Burn for Burn, it flows smoothly and I never would have guessed there were two authors behind it instead of one. Each of main three girls is unique and interesting, and I never had to worry about getting them confused despite the multiple POVs– which is usually not my favourite. The book starts off a bit slowly, probably because it is first in a trilogy, but there was plenty of character development and back story that made it engaging to read.

At its core, even according to its title, Burn for Burn is about revenge but when it came to that aspect of the story it felt a little rushed or weak. Even though the authors told me why the girls had reason to be upset and want revenge, their emotions and the events in question were so complicated it was hard for me to really believe they wanted such hard, terrible things. Then, when it came to the execution of the revenge, it felt rushed, or not as bad as I would have expected.

That said, Burn for Burn is a rich, multi-layered story full of realistic characters whose motivations aren't always what they seem. There's a very, very slight paranormal twist to it, that honestly felt unnecessary but will probably get developed further in the next two books. Even though there are some very light romance subplots, this is definitely a story about friendship, and I felt like it captured the complexities of it really well.

The setting of Burn for Burn is also really great; everyone lives on this tiny island that's a mix of the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy, and everyone knows everyone else, which leads to some interesting conflicts. I also found the high school hierarchy authentic to read about, and it reminded me a little of Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers for that reason (especially in combination with the revenge component). 

Overall, I really enjoyed Burn for Burn and though I'm unsure if the paranormal aspect was really necessary, the writing and characters have given me plenty of motivation for picking up book 2; as well as solo novels by Han and Vivian.

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