Title: Burn for Burn
Author(s): Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Released: Sept 18, 2012
Buy: The Book Depository
Well this is a guilty pleasure if ever I read one. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting when I started Burn for Burn, but it definitely wasn’t this. And I think I mean that in a good way.
Lillia, Mary and Kat are three very different girls with something in common; they are after revenge and have decided to band together to get it. Mary, the first character we meet, returns to Jar Island after leaving four years ago due to the actions of a boy. Her opposite, Kat DeBrassio, the tough girl of the group, is determined to get back at the girl and ex-friend that made a show of hating her. Lillia, who happens to run in the same circles as Kat’s and Mary’s targets, wants vengeance just as badly as them. Her victim: Alex Lind. Like Mary and Kat, she will do anything to get it…
You immediately know, maybe even just from reading the book synopsis, that this story is not destined to end well. After all, two wrongs are not supposed to make a right. It’s the journey – following the acts of revenge and waiting in suspense for the final inevitable crash – that makes this book so readable.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t hooked at first (far from it, actually). The writing right at the very start of the book was sloppy and it didn’t help that the first word that popped into my head when meeting Mary was pathetic. This reaction quickly – surprisingly quickly – changed with the turn of a handful of pages. I decided I didn’t need to like Mary, or any of the characters in fact, to enjoy this book. As the story unravelled and it really became apparent why each of these girls wanted revenge (and then I completely felt bad for being so quick to judge Mary’s character!), I found myself sinking into the plot with ease. It was pure entertainment, even though I knew it shouldn’t be.
The acts of revenge themselves are not as startling as you might expect, but then we must remember that these characters are not criminal masterminds, they are just high school girls who believe payback is the answer. Maybe it’s a good thing that they didn’t go completely overboard as then I’m certain I would have wanted to knock some sense into them. Although what they carried out wasn’t at all pleasant, it was light enough so that I didn’t feel too bad for grinning along with them.
The strangest aspect of this book – and I still can’t get my head around why on earth it was included – was the supernatural element. It’s so incredibly subtle that I have to wonder what the point was when this book would have been perfectly fine as a pure contemporary read. I’m not convinced it works here very well, but I will remain hopeful that the sequel will provide a much greater emphasis and deeper explanation, or maybe even just get rid of it all together. And talking of a sequel, there better be one as Burn for Burn had the strangest ending I’ve ever read. How can a book end so abruptly? I was almost certain my copy had been missing a few pages…
Even though this book had many aspects I usually tend to despise, including clichés and silly characters, I found it pretty easy to enjoy. It was strangely addictive. I couldn’t quite stop myself from reading and I would most happily read more.
Rating: 3.5 stars