book review: burn for burn by jenny han and siobhan vivian

I bought this book because of three reasons; it was by the same author as To All The Boys I've Loved Before(TATBILB), the cover was really pretty, and it was only for RM18. Oh, and the reviews about it on Goodreads were quite good too, so make that four reasons.

Burn for Burn is a story about three girls who weren't exactly friends but all have one thing in common that brought them to work together; they wanted revenge. The story takes place on an island called Jar Island, which is a ferry ride away from the mainland. Many people go to Jar Island during the summer holidays, and a small population live there permanently.

The book starts off in Mary's point of view. Mary used to live on Jar Island with her family when she was young, and took the ferry every day to go to school on the mainland. After a traumatic accident that happened when she was 12-years-old, her family moved away from the island to get her treated. Now, Mary is back on Jar Island to face the past and the boy who brought hell to her life.

Lillia is a rich and pretty Korean girl who is in the popular group in high school. When she was young, she used to go to Jar Island for the summer holidays but eventually managed to convince her family to live there for good, because it was where her best friends were. One day, she accidentally found out that one of her close friends, Alex, hooked up with her little sister. Being an over-protective big sister, she was furious at Alex for taking advantage of her sophomore sister. At the same time, she was starting to hate her best friend, Rennie, who never thinks about anyone but herself.

Kat used to be Rennie's best friend, until Lillia came. When they were in 9th grade, Rennie decided that she didn't want to be friends with Kat anymore. She spread many false rumours about Kat throughout their high school life, and being the captain of the cheerleading squad helped her build a good reputation for herself. Kat hates Rennie.

With everyone having somebody in their life to get revenge from, the three girls unite to hurt the ones who have hurt them. 

In my opinion, the story started off a little slow for me to be able to get into it quick enough. The first 100 pages took me a few days to get through. I even thought that some of the writing at first were a little off and flat. Knowing that it was written by two different authors, i kept wondering if the not-so-good parts were written by Siobhan Vivian, and not Jenny Han because i loved her writing in TATBILB. After the first hundred pages however, the story's pace accelerated to a great level and i ended up finishing the next 250 pages in a day. I suppose it was a little hard to develop the story from three different POVs and to bring it to a single plot, but the authors succeeded in doing that eventually.

[Spoiler section. Don't read if you're planning to read the book]

I loved how you can easily distinct the three main characters from each other by reading how their thoughts were written. At first, i had trouble trying to match the girls on the front cover to who was Kat, Lillia and Mary. It was pretty cool how their described characters eventually lead me to figure out who was who. I know that it's usually nice to be able to imagine the characters yourself with your own imagination, but it's also very helpful to be able to visualise them based on what's already given on the cover.

Honestly though, the girls are quite evil. It's one thing to want revenge on people, but it's another thing to go through many measures to make it happen. The only person i saw that had a justified reason for revenge was Mary, because of the horrible things Reeve did to her that made her want to kill herself. I thought Lillia and Kat's reasons were just ridiculous, because they were based on assumptions and dwellings of the past. However, it was somewhat satisfying to see these three girls bond over their enthusiasm. 

The parts about Mary probably having some weird mental superpowers was just strange, and kind of takes away the "realistic" factor in the book for me. She was the only one who was convinced that she was the one who made the three "supernatural" events happen(without intending to), so maybe it really was all a coincidence. I hope I'll find out more about that in the second book later. I loved her character the most though, compared to Kat and Lillia. She's so innocent and bubbly when she's not depressed.

I felt really bad for Alex, because he didn't deserve any of the pranks the girls played on him at all. It wasn't only because of the misunderstanding about him and Lillia's sister, but also the fact that he's basically in love with Lillia. I hated Lillia for not owning up to what she did, but i guess it was fair that she was trying to protect Kat and Mary. Despite what a bitch Rennie is, I still thought Lillia was just as bad as her when she kept pretending to be a good friend to Rennie and everything.

The ending was quite shocking. Although it was quite a cliffhanger, i thought the book ended at the right moment. A typical book would have ended with Reeve being caught with drugs, just liked the girls had planned. I guess i love the fact that the authors didn't give a predictable ending and showed a somewhat dark and suspense finish. 

[End of spoiler section]

In a nutshell, it was a pretty decent book to read and i thought it was a great book when i finished it. I thought it was going to be more of a love story kinda thing, but there actually wasn't much of that which was quite nice too. I'd rate the book 4 out of 5. The writing at the starting chapters could have been better, i suppose. It was worth my RM18 though. Go read it! :)


  1. I read a book last month titled The Rapture. It had a flat beginning and development too. But after almost 200 pages it got so interesting and emotional I just went turbo!

  2. haha its books like those that makes me glad i decide to keep reading! i'll have to add The Rapture to my reading list ;)



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2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Kamalia has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.