Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Burn for Burn

Authors: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Publish date: September 18, 2012
Source: conference (arc)
"Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.
" (Goodreads)

I know there was some buzz for Burn for Burn at BEA and probably ALA, but I figured I'd read it much later than now, maybe next year or something since it didn't sound that appealing to me. Well, I ended up getting a box of books for my classroom, Burn for Burn included, and decided to try it out a few days ago after being in a "I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO READ!!!!" mood. I liked it a lot and am looking forward to the sequel!

One thing I noticed right away about Burn for Burn is that it's not straightforward at all. Yes, there are 3 narrators, Lillia, Kat, and Mary, and yes, they know the same characters within the book, but it was much more complicated than that. Each girl has a distinct voice and personality and along with that, each sees the other characters differently. I liked that we got different perspectives of everyone along with background stories.

I liked this book, but I didn't love it for a number of smaller reasons. The first is that I felt like a lot of the problems in the characters lives could have been taken care of much more easily than they were (like Nadia?). I mean, yeah, plot and conflict and all that, but come on. The second issue was that although I love island settings, little things about this one weren't thought out enough. 1000 people live on Jar Island year round, but there are 4 middle schools and a high school just full of people? The town I teach in has 2000 people in the village limits and we have 1 middle school and 1 high school that share the same building. 1000 year round residents does not equal that many schools. I think I remember something about a community college on the island too. Yeah right!

Nitpicking aside, I enjoyed the book and will read the sequel whenever it comes out (preceded by a reread so I can remember who the characters are!). I'm sure the book will be a hit in my classroom and I plan on booktalking it soon.

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