Dani (Pen to Paper)'s Reviews > Burn for Burn

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han
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Aug 23, 2012

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bookshelves: review-books, kindle
Read from August 11 to 19, 2012

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I'd not previously read anything by either Jenny Han, or Siobhan Vivian, before I picked up this book, but I was certainly looking forward to trying them both out. As with other joint author projects, I was worried that this wouldn't work too well, and that the writing styles would clash, but Jenny and Siobhan compliment each other really well - so well, in fact, that it seemed as though it had been written all by one person. They blended together so easily and seamlessly.
I really loved the style that the book was written in, as well. It was an easy-going and friendly style, but at the same time, it managed to communicate the sense of urgency, excitement and injustice that the characters were feeling, and caused the reader to feel them too. I was utterly gripped by it.

However, the book does switch between three different points of view, and narrative voices (Mary's, Kat's and Lillia's), and at the beginning, I did find this quite difficult to get into. This wasn't because the story wasn't interesting, or that it didn't initially grab me, it was just because we obviously didn't know the characters well enough yet, to distinguish them from one another. At first, I hadn't even realised that the point of view had switched onto another character, so I was really confused for the first few chapters, until I figured it out. After I'd worked it out, though, and I got further into the book (and therefore knew the characters better), it became easier to tell whose chapter it was.
Hopefully the finished copy will have chapter headers, telling us which character we are about to see, but as I was reading an advance eBook, mine did not have this.

The characters in the book were all really well-developed - particularly the three main characters (who I've already mentioned), and the three secondary characters (Alex, Rennie and Reeve). Each of them had a really well-thought-out back-story, and really distinct character traits, which made them feel much more real.
However, some of the other 'background' characters weren't so well developed. A good example of this would be Ashlin, one of the girls in Lillia's group of friends. She wasn't really given much personality, and all I think I could tell you about her was that she's one of Lillia's friends. I guess that these other characters don't matter as much though, seeing as they aren't fundamental to the storyline, and the characters that do matter, are well done.
Despite the fact that these six characters are well-developed, I didn't actually like many of them. Mary was too quiet for her own good (and I didn't get to feel particularly sorry for her, for some reason - her revelation didn't really move me - but maybe I'm just heartless? :P), Lillia was quite self-centred, in a way (despite her revenge apparently being due to her concern for her younger sister), and Kat could be nearly as cruel as Rennie; the person she was seeking revenge on. Saying that, however, I did end up kind of liking Kat; not because of the awful (and frankly stupid) things she did, but because she was headstrong and independent, and rather than hiding away from her problems, she decided to face them head-on. So despite her cruel side, I also kind of admired her.
The one character that I can safely say I liked, was Alex (which made me dislike Lillia even more). Although his motives were a little unclear, and what he was doing did seem to be a little suspicious, I just couldn't help but like him - he seemed to be a kind, generous and genuine person, all of the way through, even after all of the pranks the girls pulled on him, as their 'revenge'.

As for the plot, I did enjoy the story, but it didn't blow me away. It's about three girls, each of whom has been wronged by someone else, and they set out to get even, in a typical 'teenage', 'highschool' kind of way (although, I guess they did take things a bit further than I ever thought they would). The scenario with Kat and Rennie, actually reminded me a bit of Mean Girls, with Janis and Regina!
Some parts of the story did annoy me - particularly with Lillia - I just couldn't help feeling that most of it was a total overreaction, that the characters handled everything in a very immature manner, and that what the characters ended up doing was not realistic (I don't think that in reality, they would have taken things as far as they did). However, I guess this is pretty much a 'teen thing' - every small incident becoming a huge drama - so I may just be a little too old, to be able to relate to it?
I did enjoy the story, though, and it definitely made me want to carry on reading.

Overall, this was not an incredible read, but it was certainly interesting enough to keep me engaged in the story, and continuing to read. I really enjoyed the written style, and I'd definitely read more books by both of these authors.
This was an entertaining read, great for the end of our summer months! Not perfect, but still recommended, and probably around a 3.5 star rating.
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