Friday, November 2, 2012

Me on Burn for Burn

Title: Burn for Burn
Authors: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Lilia's never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until the summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her younger sister. Kat is tired of all the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person, her ex-best friend, and she wants to make her pay. Mary left Jar Island four years ago because of a boy, because he made fun of her. Now she's back, but she's not the same girl anymore, and she's ready to prove it. They're three very different girls, but they all want the same thing: revenge. And they won't stop until they've each had a taste.

Burn for Burn is an intriguing, and at some times brutal, look at the concept of revenge in a high school setting. Everyone will have a wrong committed against them at some point in their lifetime, and for these girls, they're not necessarily all right with putting it behind them and moving on. Something was done to them, something terrible and humiliating, and they want their revenge. But will it work? And, the more important question, when they get it, will it solve their problems?

The portrayal of high school in this book reminds me of the portrayal of high school in television and movies from the late 1990's and early 2000's. Popular girls would reign with an iron pompom over the younger cheerleading minions, the jocks would be given centre stage because nothing mattered except for winning that county/state/national championship, and there would be a very clear divide between those with affluent parents and those without. When this occurs in YA novels, it bothers me, but it bothers me because that, in a high school setting, there is little to no mention of the characters attending their classes or studying. It's implied that they go, but when nearly every high school scene takes place before school starts, during the lunch break, or once school ends, it's annoying.

From each of the intro chapters for the girls, it was clear that they all had their problems and their enemies. Lillia is scarred emotionally, Kat is bitter and angry, and Mary is filled with secrets. When Mary's chapters came around, hints of the story was revealed. With Lillia and Kat, everything was obvious and well-known because they've lived on Jar Island for years. They know almost everything. Mary is the wild card, the unknown, flying under the radar until her moment comes. Mary is like the reader, coming in blind, but she's got some secrets she's not willing to give up so easily.

I wasn't surprised by the ending, but the tension that had built up over the course of the book exploded at the right time. Everything was left in pieces, and characters were left scrambling on what to do next. In terms of the next book, I have my suspicions on what will happen next, but I am curious as to what will actually happen. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy the current high school thriller mysteries, like Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game.

(I own a copy of this book)

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