Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

This books left me with such mixed feelings! In a way, it was a lot like what I excepted- a basic plot about teen girls getting revenge on those who’ve wronged them. However, with very pleasant writing and a nice bunch of characters, it proved to be a better book than I was anticipating.

The writing and plot were both enjoyable and well-paced, giving me a comfortable feeling as I read this book. Though the writing is clearly in the point of view of teenage girls, it doesn’t take away from the subtle beauty it holds, which captivated me as I read.  In fact, I really appreciated the three POVs, ranging from Mary, the most innocent and sweet of the three, to Lillia, who’s just starting to truly taste life, to Kat, who’s more experienced and seasoned in life.

There are a lot of high school stereotypes used, as expected, but they were surprisingly tolerable. Rennie is the stereotypical mean girl, who’s easy to hate. She was one of the most unrealistic characters, but luckily most of the other ones were not so bad. I really enjoyed the use of flashbacks in this book. They were refreshing to read, as the girls remembered the trauma they endured that led them to this point of revenge.

I really liked the way the girls met, and their subtle and sometimes surprising connection to each other. It was exciting as they progressed with their plans for revenge. There were lots of little surprises throughout the book, which were nice and enjoyable.

The biggest downfall of this novel was Mary. Her character started out really nicely, I thought, but continued going downhill until the very end of the book. Aside from her past, her character is very blurry and lacking in personality. Her voice continues to become weaker as the plot moves along. Eventually I got really bored of reading about her.

However, the worst part about her comes at the end, with an event way too similar to the book/movie Carrie occurs. If not for this event, if not for Mary’s untold powers, I would have given this book four stars. The addition of unearthly powers was just too farfetched, and a desperate pull in the wrong direction. I wanted this book to solely focus on real life issues, and the discovery of Mary’s powers ruined that for me.

Unlike Mary, the characters of Lillia and Kat, two former friends, were very strong and believable. Naturally, I disliked Lillia from the start, but grew to like her more and more. She is smart and sensible. If not for the influence of her best friend Rennie, she would be a lot better off. However, because of this, she proves to be a more realistic, flawed character. As well, Kat is fierce and brave, the rebel of the group.

Overall, I liked this book more than expected. It was a nice contemporary YA book, though it did have several weak points, which left me with mixed feelings toward it. I’m unsure if I will pick up the second book or not.

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