book review for Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Magan: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

book review for Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan VivianBurn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Pages: 375
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: revenge, unlikely friendships, payback
Format read: ARC from Simon & Schuster.

Summary: Three girls team up to secretly seek revenge on the people who’ve hurt (or burned) them in the past. It’s all about getting payback.


In late middle school/early high school, my small class went through a transition period. This is the one point in time I look back and can pinpoint exactly when it became clear there was a hierarchy of popularity. Claws came out and some girls became mean while others remained innocent and naive. I was among the naive, not really understanding the social ladder. I wanted to be friends with everyone.

It didn’t really make sense to me when gym clothes were stripped away from one of my friends while the native mean girls proceeded to use them as skates on the locker room floor and glide around on them. A group of about four girls tossed the clothes over our heads and played keep away. To this day, I’m not really sure where the desire for that kind of behavior comes from, but this experience made Burn for Burn more understandable for me.

Three girls, Lillia, Kat, and Mary all have some issue or event they want revenge for. They’ve individually experienced something that causes these three very different characters to forge together and promise to help one another out. These girls aren’t in the same social circle; they have to learn how to trust one another as they become more deceptive and their revenge becomes more intense.

While I wasn’t directly targeted in the above scenario, I do understand that it would have been nice for the bullies to receive payback for the torture they put my friend through. I could relate to Lillia, Kat, and Mary’s pain, but the extremes they went to seemed a bit vindictive at times. I worried about all they had to lose as their plans got bigger and riskier. I was a mixed bag of emotions because I knew that the girls wanted closure for the pain they had suffered. However, I’m also a girl that doesn’t necessarily believe in “eye for an eye” behavior — it’s nice to take the high road and resolve issues in less forceful ways.

Han and Vivian did an incredible job of seamlessly writing the story – I felt that each girl (since it was told from all of their POVs) was unique and I couldn’t tell which sections were written by either author. The build-up was fantastic and there was an interesting dynamic between the three girls. I do hope in the upcoming books of the trilogy that we’ll see each of the relationships explored a bit more – both with the team of three revengeful friends and the people they are out to burn.

Within the last fifteen percent of the book, there is a lot of explosive action. My heart raced and the crazy action made the end pass by quickly. I was left with a few particular questions about Mary and definitely have questions regarding the serious cliffhanger of an ending. I can promise you will be very “OH MY GOSH! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!” as you close the book. Brace yourselves.

I’m very excited to see where Vivian and Han take this story in the upcoming books. For two authors I admire very much, I’m sure the message they’ll be sending will be on pointe, even if I have a few lingering questions right now.

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12 thoughts on “Magan: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

  1. Tara says:

    This one is on my to-read list and I plan on getting to it every soon. You review is making me even THAT more excited to read it and I can’t wait to see this explosive ending 🙂

  2. Jamie says:

    Omg this review makes me even more excited to read this one! I’ve been eyeballing it on my shelf since BEA but I’m SO bumping it up after praise from you!

  3. elena says:

    I’m SOOO curious about this one! I like revenge stories (to a degree) and this sounds V INTRIGUING. It sounds like the authors did a great job writing the characters and I’m eager to find out more about them.

  4. Aneeqah says:

    I actually won a copy of this on Twitter, and my copy is going to get here tomorrow! (What, you don’t stalk your books with DC?! ;)) Anyways, I can definitely see how you thought the revenge was unnecessary, I believe that you can avoid revenge and settle things peacefully as well. However, it’s great to hear that the POVs are really distinct! I love when you can easily distinguish each character. =) And the action in the last part of the book sounds amazing!!

    Fabulous review Magan! I am even more excited to read this book now. <3

  5. Lisa says:

    This book makes my heart hurt and my skin crawl in the best possible way.

    Reading books like this is so hard, but so necessary. How else can we relate to other people’s experiences?

    Sorry to be all Debbie Downer. For reals this sounds awesome and HELLO Han and Vivian? YESPLS.

  6. VeganYANerds says:

    I know what you mean about wondering why bullies are the way they are, sometimes I read YA and think “come one, people don’t actually go that far” but it turns out they really do. I felt the same way, I could understand the girls wanting revenge but they went to extreme lengths and I was definitely all “What just happened?” at the end!

  7. Kristen Evey says:

    Hm, intriguing! This sounded interesting to me from the summary (though I’m with you, and revenge type books are iffy for me). I think this is something that I would enjoy though. Sounds like the writing is top-notch, and I can basically get through any kind of plot if that’s the case. Great review!

  8. Lori says:

    I’m going to go ahead and admit that I scrolled to the end of your review to see if you recommended it first. 🙂 I really love Siobhan Vivian’s books so I’ve been really looking forward to this one. Now I’m even more excited. It’s nice that you could relate so well to it.

  9. Jasmine Rose says:

    I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it because I’m always kind of fascinated by revenge stories so I’ve been looking forward to this one.
    I went to such a small school that we actually didn’t have much of a popularity hierarchy. There were a few kids always got picked on throughout the years, but it wasn’t the throw-them-in-a-garbage-and-humiliate-them-in-front-of-the-whole-cafeteria type of stuff you always read about and see on tv. It’s sad to hear that stuff like what happened to your friend is really out there :[

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