By: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Reported by: Julianna Helms
Source: ARC via tour
Release date: Sept. 18th, 2012 via Simon & Schuster BFYR
BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY...
THEY GET EVEN.
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.
-Summary from Goodreads
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For fans of Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries, Burn for Burn is a must-read. Drama and reality collide in this novel that delicately balances what's known and the supernatural: a mixture I usually support and love, such as in the case of Fracture. However, there are reasons Burn for Burn didn't have me trapped in its story, and those reasons ultimately burned (terrible pun intended) my love for the story.
You know that feeling you get when you are so shaken by a book that you can't distinguish between reality from fiction? That you feel as if every move you make is only an echo of a character's, and that you are no longer yourself--and even if you still are physically so, your mental state is but a puppet show? Burn for Burn has a tendency to do that. I'm generally understanding around people, but every time I finished reading this book I am either so frustrated with the characters' selfishness that I explode, or their stories become so weaved with my life that I have a hard time focusing. This, as you can guess, if a very, very bad thing. It may be just me, but when I realize that a book is altering the way I react to others in real life, I will put it down and not read it again unless I know I can handle it.
It's not so much that this book was bad. In fact, its plot and the connections the different girls' stories share is brilliant and captivating. Although, I have to on a tangent here that I was not expecting that sudden supernatural element near the end. I can't say I like it, because I think I know exactly where it came from. But it's the very characters themselves that were the problem for me--Lillia and Kat and Mary. They might be good people, but they're too blinded by revenge to draw the boundaries. I once read a study that shows that people subconsciously adopt the behavior of fictional characters immediately upon finishing a book, and that is very true in this case. The characters were so real that it's like they just walked out of the pages and stamped on my life. So, no, I couldn't finish this book (though I did skip ahead to the ending--it had an acceptable, if not good, ending), because I just couldn't handle all the emotional drama and brutality that the girls committed and suffered through. (Also, let me assure you that it's not because I am a squeamish youngster. I read Forbidden, for goodness's sakes. It's just... I don't know. I guess I'm just not the right person for this book.)
So maybe you didn't understand my ranting or maybe I'm just far too alone in my island of real-or-not-real*, but I want to make it clear one last time that Burn for Burn is not a bad book. It's simply that I believe in justice and whenever I disagree with something I'd like to talk to the person about it--civilly, of course--and I can't do that with a fictional character. Which left me arguing the merits of their actions in my head, which ultimately scrambled my brain so much that I could not enjoy the story like I wish I could've.
*Hunger Games reference! Ha, see, I loved The Hunger Games because Katniss actually has boundaries, even if her situation didn't really allow for them. Which also explains why I liked Lillia the best in this story--she actually questioned the extent of their actions.