Wednesday, August 1, 2012

High School Pick: Burn for Burn

Burn for Burn
By Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Simon & Schuster
368 pages

Available September 18, 2012

Revenge. A great word; a powerful word--so full of nuance and danger, and that’s what makes Burn for Burn a great new ya read. Readers meet the three main characters: Mary, Kat, and Lillia and many (perhaps too many) bit players in this “Gossip Girls” meets “Revenge” inspired story.(“Revenge” was one of last season’s great t.v. shows). The girls have all been wronged and they meet secretly to discuss their next targets and mean girl plans.

At first the girls plan practical jokes, but then it escalates into minor criminal behavior and before blowing up into someone facing death. That’s the problem with power---it can get you in trouble fast, and when there are others willing to use their power, will you be strong enough to face them? And can you face the consequences of your own actions?

Jar Island is its own little Peyton Place—it’s insular and set apart from the mainland and the rest of civilization. Everyone knows everyone and everyone knows your dirty, little secrets. Lillia is a teen queen at her high school—she’s smart and popular but she’s had enough of some people’s pettiness. She’s fed up and she won’t let anyone take advantage of her younger sister. Kat is the sullen girl, the one who smokes cigarettes and hangs out with older boys. She loves danger and isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty. Mary returns to Jar Island after going away for four years. She has a terrible secret, yet she is drawn back to the island like a moth to a flame. When the three of them band together, they will not be stopped.

One problem with the book: there are many characters and readers may become confused with storyline. Also, Mary seems to have a strange power? Or does she? There are a couple of hints that she may have some paranormal power, yet then that plotline is never developed.

Kat and Mary were my favorite characters due to each of them being both weak and strong. They are also the most developed characters in the novel.
Recommended grades 9-up. Language, sex, mature situations.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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