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  • Haley Stanks

Book Review: Burn for Burn Series


Photo by Hannah Stanks

Are you looking for easy summer reads filled with original characters, revenge, and strong friendships?

Look no further because the Burn for Burn trilogy, written by two New York Times bestselling authors, Siobhan Vivian and Jenny Han, contains all those qualities and more. The trilogy circles around three girls who decide to work as a team to get revenge on people who have wronged them, and they can’t back out once they commit to the plan. This series has many great attributes, and I can guarantee that you’ll find an aspect of this series that will interest you.

As you read, the story transports you to Jar Island and into the completely unique brains of two high school seniors named Lillia and Kat and a junior named Mary. Lillia is best friends with the most popular girl at Jar Island High School, Rennie, and lives a life of luxury. Kat, on the other hand, has no friends at the high school since being shunned by Rennie at the beginning of their freshman year, and her family is just getting by after the death of a family member. Then there’s the new girl, Mary, who had left Jar Island years ago after a traumatic bullying incident, but decided to move back to Jar Island and live with her aunt.

The girls never would have expected that their lives would have intertwined, but exactly that happens when they meet in the bathroom on the first day of the new school year. After meeting, the girls soon realize that all three of them want to pay back the people that have hurt them or lost their trust. They meet in secret over the next few weeks and form a friendship as they plan how they can work together to strike revenge on the bully, the ex-best friend, and the almost boyfriend. Their plans span over the course of three books, which are titled Burn for Burn, Fire with Fire, and Ashes to Ashes.

When I first picked up the series, I thought it would just be a normal contemporary series that had a bit of drama, but my first impression could not have been more off base. Each book in the series was fast paced and layered with more drama and mystery than the previous instalment. I became so wrapped up in the world created by Vivian and Han that I could read over one hundred pages and not realize it. It was as if each book was glued to my hands; I couldn’t put them down! The book also showed some supernatural and ghost story elements that I never thought would show up. There was a supernatural part of the story hinted at in Burn for Burn and the very end of Fire with Fire, but in Ashes to Ashes it became a large part of the plot and everything made sense. Some people might think that introducing such a large part of the plot that late in the series would make it feel forced, but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, adding that to the story provided the reader with explanation to all the events. For people, like myself, who are not the biggest fan of ghost stories, don’t worry; despite having these superficial elements, the plot does not revolve entirely around it and the parts that do aren’t meant to scare the readers.

One of my favourite parts of the story would have to be the friendships experienced by the main characters. Not a lot of young adult books showcase strong female friendships as much as they should. The bond between the three narrators is amazing, especially considering the uniqueness of the three girls. Lillia is the princess of the group, Mary is the shy one, and Kat is the outgoing and sometimes obnoxious one. Their friendship lasts longer than their revenge plans, and that is very evident since they are still interacting and seem closer in the second book despite accomplishing most of their plans in book one. You can tell that all three characters genuinely care for one another through their actions, even though they drift apart at points. The friendship between the girls was so realistic, too, and they had normal and comical conversations with each other. The series also shows great friendships between male and female characters. In most stories, male and female friendships later turn into a romantic relationships, but that wasn’t always the case in these novels. There were so many great friendships between male characters and female characters throughout the story without turning it into something romantic. Romance was still a part of this series, but friendship seemed to play a more key part, in my eyes at least.

I loved the entire series, but I just want to take a minute to address some of my favourite parts. Kat was by far my favourite character in the series. She knew exactly what she wanted and had a plan for anything. Along with that, she was sarcastic and brought humour to even the most intense situations. My favourite book would have to have been Ashes to Ashes, the final book in the trilogy. I’m normally not someone who loves the final book in a series, but the authors wrapped everything up perfectly and didn’t really leave any strings untied. I also loved how realistic the good and bad relationships between the characters were and how the novels showed that it’s never too late to make amends with someone.

The Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian is a perfect series to read on the beach or by the pool and will leave you guessing up until the very end. I quickly devoured this series, and now it’s one of my all time favourites. The first two books earned four out of five stars and the final instalment earned five out of five stars, in my opinion. I think that the Burn for Burn trilogy is perfect for fans of Katie Finn, The Clique, and anyone else wanting to read something unique. If you think it sounds interesting, you should definitely give it a read; I promise you won’t be sorry you did.

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