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Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series; Shug; the Burn for Burn trilogy, cowritten with Siobhan Vivian; and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. She is also the author of the chapter book Clara Lee and The Apple Pie Dream. A former children’s bookseller, she earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. Visit her at DearJennyHan.com.
Siobhan Vivian is the author of the young adult novel The List, as well as Not That Kind of Girl, Same Difference, and A Little Friendly Advice, and the Burn for Burn trilogy, cowritten with Jenny Han. A former editor for Alloy Entertainment, she received her MFA in creative writing at the New School. She teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Visit her at SiobhanVivian.com.
I’M SITTING ON MY BATHROOM COUNTER, TRYING TO remember what the makeup lady at Saks told me about how to do eyeliner on Asian eyes. Only . . . I can’t think straight.
I think she said to wing it just the tiniest bit. I do my right eye first, and it looks okay. I’m finishing up my left eye when my little sister, Nadia, bangs on the door so loudly that I jump.
“Lil! I need to take a shower!” she yells. “Lilli-uhh!”
I pick up my hairbrush and then reach over and unlock the door. Nadia rushes in and turns on the water. She sits on the edge of the tub, in her big soccer T-shirt with her shiny black hair mussed up in the back and watches me brush my hair. “You look pretty,” she says, her voice scratchy with sleep.
Do I? At least the outside is still the same.
I keep brushing. Twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, done. I brush my hair twenty-five strokes every morning. I’ve done it that way since I was little.
Today will be like any other day.
“But I thought you weren’t supposed to wear white after Labor Day,” Nadia adds.
I look down at my sweater. It’s new—white cashmere, soft and snug. I’m wearing it with my white short shorts. “Nobody follows that rule anymore,” I tell her, hopping down from the counter. “Besides, this is winter white.” I swat at her butt with my hairbrush. “Hurry up and get in the shower.”
“Do I have time to curl my hair before Rennie gets here?” she asks me.
“No,” I say, closing the door behind me. “Five minutes.”
Back in my room I start filling my brown saddlebag with my school things, like I’m on autopilot. My new pen and the leather planner my mom got me as a back-to-school gift. Lollies. Cherry ChapStick. I try to think if I’m forgetting something, but nothing comes to mind, so I grab my white espadrilles and head down the stairs.
My mom is in the kitchen, wearing her robe and drinking an espresso. My dad bought her one of those fancy espresso machines for Christmas, and she makes a point of using it at least once a week, even though she prefers tea, and even though my dad is hardly ever at home to see her use it. He’s a doctor, the kind who does research. For as long as I can remember, he’s been working on some new drug to cure cancer. He spends part of the month working at a lab in Boston, and he gets sent all over the world to present his findings. He was on the cover of some science journal this summer. I forget the name of it.
Gesturing to the plate of muffins, my mom says, “Sit down and eat before you go, Lilli. I got those sugary ones you love.”
“Rennie will be here any minute,” I say. When I see the disappointed look on my mom’s face, I take a muffin and wrap it in a napkin. “I’ll eat it in the car.”
Touching my hair, she says, “I can’t believe you’re a senior in high school. One more year and you’ll be away at college. My pretty girl is grown-up.”
I look away. I guess I am grown-up now.
“At least I still have my baby. Is Nadi getting ready?”
“You have to look out for Nadi now that you’re at the same school. You know how she looks up to you, Lilli.” My mom squeezes my arm, and I swallow hard. I do have to look out for Nadia better. Not like how I did on Saturday night, when I left her at Alex’s party. She was with her friends, but still.
I should have stayed.
Rennie’s horn honks outside, and I stand up. “Nadia!” I yell. “Rennie’s here!”
“Just one more minute!” Nadia shrieks back.
I hug my mom and head for the garage door.
“Take a muffin for Rennie,” she calls out as I close the door behind me. Rennie wouldn’t eat it anyway. She goes off carbs at the start of every cheerleading season. She only lasts about a month before she gives in, though.
In the garage I slip on my espadrilles, and then I walk down the driveway to Rennie’s Jeep.
“Nadia’s right behind me,” I say, climbing inside.
Rennie leans over and hugs me good morning. Hug her back, I tell myself. And I do.
“Your skin looks awesome against the white,” she says, eyeing me up and down. “I wish I could get as tan as you.”
Rennie’s wearing tight jeans and an even tighter lacy scoop neck top, with a nude cami underneath. She’s so tiny, I can see her rib cage. I don’t think she’s wearing a bra. She doesn’t have to. She’s got a gymnast’s body.
“You’re pretty tan too,” I say, clicking my seat belt.
“Bronzer, baby.” She puts on her sunglasses and starts talking a mile a minute. “So here’s what I’m thinking for the next party. It came to me in a dream last night. The theme will be . . . Are you ready for this? The roaring twenties! The girls could wear flapper costumes with, like, a feather headpiece, and long beaded necklaces, and then the boys could wear zoot suits and fedoras. Hot, right?”
“I don’t know,” I say, looking out the window. Rennie’s talking so fast and so much, it’s making my head pound. “The guys might not be into it. Where are they supposed to find that stuff on the island?”
“Hello, it’s called the Internet!” Rennie taps her fingers on the steering wheel. “What’s taking Nadia so long? I want to get there before everybody else does so I can claim my parking spot for the year.” She presses her hand down on the horn—once, then twice.
“Stop,” I say. “You’re going to wake up my neighbors.”
“Oh, please. The closest house is, like, half a mile down the street.”
Our front door flies open, and Nadia comes running down the steps. She looks tiny against our massive white house. It’s different from most of the other houses on the island—modern lines and lots of glass. My mom helped design it. It was originally our summer home, and then we moved to Jar Island for good before my freshman year. I was the one who begged to move here, to be with Rennie and my summer friends.
My mom waves at us from the front door. I wave back.
“So are you yay or nay on the twenties party?” Rennie asks me.
I honestly don’t care, but I know my answer matters to her—which is why I feel like saying nay.
But before I can, Nadia is at the car, her hair sopping wet. She’s got on her new jeans and the black top the three of us bought together when we went shopping back in July. That feels like forever ago.
She climbs into the backseat. I twist around and say, “You should have dried your hair, Nadi. You know you always get colds when you go around with wet hair.”
Breathlessly she says, “I was scared you guys would leave without me.”
“We wouldn’t leave you!” Rennie cries, turning the wheel. “We’re your big sisters. We’ll always look out for you, honey bun.”
Something nasty is on the tip of my tongue, and I swallow hard to keep from saying it. If I say it, we’ll never be the same again. Even worse than now.
We pull around our circular driveway and down the road.
“Cheerleading practice is at four,” Rennie reminds me, bouncing in her seat to the music. “Don’t be late. We need to evaluate the fresh meat. See what we’ve got to work with. Did you remember to bring your mini camcorder so we can tape them?”
I open my bag and look, even though I know it’s not there. “I forgot.”
“Lil! I wanted to evaluate them later tonight in HD.” Rennie lets out a grumbly sigh, like she’s disappointed in me.
I shrug my shoulders. “We’ll deal.” That’s what we’re doing right now, isn’t it? Dealing? But Rennie’s clearly better at it than me.
“Nadi, who’s the prettiest of all your friends?” Rennie asks.
“Patrice,” Nadia says.
Rennie makes a left, and we pass the small rental cottages that populate Canobie Bluffs. I focus on one in particular. There’s a caretaker outside closing it up for the season, now that it’s empty. I think it’s Reeve’s dad. He’s bolting the shutters on the first floor windows. He hasn’t gotten to the master bedroom yet. Those ones are still wide open.
I turn my head away, and out of the corner of my eye, I look at Rennie. Just to see if she has noticed it too. But there’s nothing there—no recognition, no alarm, nothing.
“Nadi, you’re so much prettier than Patrice. FYI, I’m only taking the cream of the crop for the varsity squad,” Rennie says. “Let me know if there’s anyone you want to cheer for, and I’ll hook it up.”
Immediately Nadia says, “Alex. Can I cheer for Alex?”
Rennie gasps. “Ooh! You better ask your sister. He’s her boy toy.”
“Rennie, be quiet.” I say it more snappishly than I intended, and she makes a face to Nadia in her rearview mirror. I take a breath. “Nadia, there’s a whole line of junior and senior girls ahead of you for Alex. We can’t show favoritism like that. I mean, how would it look, us giving a senior starter to a freshman? Besides, you still have to try out. You haven’t made the squad yet.”
At this, Rennie nods. “Lil’s right. I mean, you’re basically in but we have to treat you the same as everybody else. Even though you’re clearly special.” Nadia wriggles in her seat like a puppy. “Oh, and make sure to tell your friends that if they’re even one minute late, they’re going to be sent home. Period. As captain I need to set the tone for this season.”
“Got it,” Nadia says.
“Good girl. You’re going to be our freshman star.”
I feel like I am floating above myself as I say, “She needs to work on her back handspring. It’s weak.”
It gets really quiet.
I flip down my visor to look at Nadia. The corners of her mouth are turned down, her dark eyes hurt.
Why did I say that?
I know how badly she wants to make the squad. We practiced all summer, back handsprings and tumbling and stunts and our routines. I told Nadia that when Rennie graduates, it will be her on the top of that pyramid. I told her she’ll be set at Jar High. Just like her big sis.
But now I’m not so sure I want her to be anything like me or Rennie. Not anymore.
The professional (ish) reaction: Burn for Burn is most definitely in my Top 5 books (of 2012)! It's a sinister cotemporary that touches on a few paranormal aspects, making it an exciting new read! Dramatic, devious, and stunning, Burn for Burn met, and exceeded, all expectations!
MARY: Mary really does act like the kind of girl she's portraying, shy and meek, but she's got some anger and betrayal hidden in her and I loved that even though she was quiet, she had an undeniable spark in her that just makes you love her! Ever since she was betrayed by the one guy she trusted, Reeve, she's been a bit on the don't-notice-me side, but that's about to change. Something strange is happening too. Whenever she gets emotional, freaky things start to happen--a sudden wind storm, lights exploding. What, exactly, is happening to her? It's just one of the questions raised and left unanswered. Hopefully we'll find out why in book 2! KAT: Kat has beef with Rennie, the Queen Bee of the school and also her ex-best friend. But now because of that same person, Kat is left out all because she got "boring" and got replaced by Lillia, out other narrator. Kat is incredibly rebellious and fiery and she was such an interesting character! She's the "devious" one and came up with most of the revenge plans and man! They were evil! But the one thing about Kat was that she took so much glee from the hurt of others and that...kind of unnerved me. But otherwise, she was an amazing character! LILLIA: Lillia was definitely my favorite character and no, not because she was Chinese. But I'm glad there was diversity! But a guy took advantage of Lillia and when she finds out that her sister may have...done it with her friend, she's more than pissed.Read more ›
I'm sad to say I'm a little disappointed after finihing urn for Burn. With all the hype surrounding the author collaboration I was figuring on something spectacular. I didn't particularly dislike it, and it was a quick read, but I didn't particularly like it either.
My first problem lies with the revenge itself. The first one exacting revenge didn't even really have a reason. She wanted to "protect her sister," but I'm not entirely sure from what considering she was relying solely on second-hand information. Plus, the terrible thing that happened to her doesn't really have anything to do with what's going on with her sister. The other girls' reasons had to do with bullying which is a little more understandable, but I still didn't really have much sympathy for them. Bullying is a terrible thing and difficult to go through, but I just couldn't get on board with the revenge. Normally I love a good revenge story, but you have to really mak me feel the rage and sympathy for it to work and Burn for Burn just didn't.
All that being said, I'll likely read the sequel. Both to see if it's better and simply because it was a really quick read. I'm hoping to see a little more substance and growth in round two (is it still going to be the same characters?) And I really need to know what is up with the paranormal stuff.
Speaking of which, I've seen a lot of people saying that the paranormal stuff was jarring and just tacked on at the end, but it really wasn't. It was there from the start and they weren't trying to hide it from the reader either. I'm a little confused as to how it kind of snuck up on so many people.
The Nutshell: If you're looking for something deep or emotional then Burn for Burn most likely isn't it. However, if you're just looking for a quick read and don't want to get too invested (like a palette cleanser or something) then it's worth picking up.
KARMA CAN SUCK IT! is this books moto! Kat, Mary, and Lillia are about to get their sweet sweet revenge on the three people who did them wrong! Or did they? In this book nothing is what it seems! When three girls whom are not friend team up to get back at those who burned them it is a case of who will really get burned and who will come out on top?
When I started this book I didnt know what I was getting into! This book is not just realistic fiction but supernatural realistic fiction lol I couldnt put it down! With these three girls I so wouldnt want to piss them off! I am starting book two right now Fire with Fire is due out this fall and I so cant wait to get my hands on a finished copy. But the eARC will have do me for now! This one was just so good!
"*I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own."PS. I have also purchased a finished copy of Burn for Burn via amazon
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About The Book:
Welcome to Jar Island. Meet Lillia. Good girl from a rich family who never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. However, this summer is not going to be an easy one. Thanks to her best friend she meets two quite boys who do not get a no for an answer and, then, her little sister is a rumor involving a friend of hers. There's no way she's going to let the same thing happen to her lil' sister like it happened to her. So revenge is a wonderful idea. Now meet Kat. Once upon a time she was friends with Princess Lillia and her best friend, Rennie. Now Rennie is making her life a living hell. However, she's willing to fight back and when the opportunity to make her pay for everything she did is in front of her face, she's more than willing to start savoring the consequences of a good revenge. At last, meet Mary. Poor, timid and cute Mary. She was a citizen of Jar Island before, until something happened and she left. But now is back and willing to make the boy who screwed her life ask for a huge apology or something else. She's not the same girl that left Jar Island and she's wants to prove it. Despite this, it seems that revenge is the only way she can feel even for the thing that boy did to her long ago. Three girls, three huge messes and one common purpose: sweet, sweet revenge. Because big girls don't cry, they get even.
This book is freaking awesome. Those TV show lovers, this book is where Revenge meets 90210 and Pretty Little Liars.Read more ›