Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Me on Fire with Fire

Title: Fire with Fire
Authors: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance. Not even close. For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before. And then there’s sweet little Mary…she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her, it’s that he made her love him. Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn.

Fire with Fire continues the story of three teen girls looking to get their revenge on those that have hurt them, those who have wronged them and almost ruined their lives. Now, after part of their plan has been put into motion, they have to be careful while continuing it. They can't run the risk of being found out, because if they are, everything will go up in flames.

Kat, Lillia, and Mary's plan to ruin homecoming for certain people sort of went wrong, but no one knows they set things in motion. No one knows they rigged the voting or slipped drugs into someone's drink. But they're constantly worried that someone will out them, that someone saw what they did and will expose them to the entire school.

The book goes deeper into what provokes them, what pushes them towards their certain goals in the revenge plot. Not Mary, necessarily, with her backstory already revealed in the first book, but Kat and what happened to her mother and Lillia and how she first met Reeve (part of Lillia's as well as Mary's backstory were revealed in the first book). There are shadows lurking in their pasts and they all still weigh heavily on them. The girls come together more in this book, work more as a unit, and move into the next part of their plan.

Now, while the revenge plot gives the girls the opportunity to give back as good as they got to those who wronged them, it's also petty, childish, and completely the wrong thing to do. With what happened at the end of Burn for Burn, they were lucky to go undetected. Lucky that no one died. By continuing they run the risk of being exposed even more.

On the surface, it's very much like a contemporary YA novel about three girls getting back at former friends and school bullies, but Mary sort of skews that idea. Mary's different. Mary can do things. Mary's still a wild card, still unpredictable, and at some point everything about Mary will be revealed to Lillia and Kat, to everyone, and then everything will change.

Because of the girls' fear of being discovered, the level of tension runs from medium to high, which was good. As with the first book, the overall premise was intriguing but I was still put off by the high school cliques and the catty nature of some of the characters, as well as the idea that getting revenge is the only way the girls will feel better. They have normal teen lives, but their plotting and scheming seems to take up a big part of those lives, more than I would think necessary. Fans of the first book and of previous books by both authors will surely enjoy this new installment.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Simon & Schuster Canada.)

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