Monday, December 8, 2014

Series Review: Burn for Burn Series by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (slight spoilers)

Books: Burn for Burn, Fire with Fire, Ashes to Ashes
Authors: Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
Publication Dates: September 18th, 2012, August 13th, 2013, September 16th, 2014
Source: Local Library
Read Dates: October 18, 2014, October 19-31, 2014, November 22-30, 2014
Burn for Burn Summary
Fire with Fire Summary
Ashes to Ashes Summary




My Thoughts:
Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian have written a stellar series. All three books were equally amazing and this has by far been my favorite series I have read in 2014.

I read Burn for Burn in a day for Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon. Usually I take lots of breaks during Dewey's read-a-thon, but I could not put this book down. I fell in love with Mary, Kat, and Lillia and their plans for revenge. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time as their plans unfolded.

Lillia is the smart, popular, plenty of friends, a cheerleader, and a rich girl. She has everything she could ever want, but when bad things happen to her during the summer there is no way she is going to trust guys. She will do anything to protect her sister Nadia from the same fate. Kat is the girl who used to be friends with Lillia and Rennie, but now is the person who has to take cruel jokes and insults from Rennie. Kat is not willing to put up with this anymore. Mary is the girl who used to be fat and had been bullied at her Montessori school. Now that Mary has friends by her side Reeve is in huge trouble. These main characters were only the beginning of the Burn for Burn trilogy. The authors did an amazing job developing the secondary characters. Rennie is the classic head cheerleader, bossy, and used to getting her way. Alex is the sweet boy. Reeve is the cocky football player, but underneath all that he is actually really sweet. Then there is Ashlin, PJ, and Derek who are all part of the friend group, but are pretty minor characters.

Everything has a scaffolding effect in Burn for Burn. Every decision that Mary, Kat, and Lillia make will come back to haunt them later. Burn for Burn left me wanting to read more about these girls.

That's why I started Fire with Fire almost immediately after finishing Burn for Burn. I read these so close together that I have a hard time telling you where Burn for Burn ended and where Fire with Fire began. That is the main reason for this series review. It is just easier to talk about all the books at once.

***Spoilers of book 1***

Kat, Lillia, and Mary are back. They are as thick as thieves and their revenge plan is as solid as ever. Reeve is their main target in this book. "It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn..." This is a quote from the summary and it describes the book perfectly. Lillia, Kat, and Mary set up the altament heartbreak. Lillia will get Reeve to fall in love with her and then she will break his heart. This was bittersweet for me. From the first book even though Reeve was a total jerk I loved him as a character. I saw that he was a nice guy underneath his facade of being a tough football player. Here's the other thing I wanted Lillia and Reeve to be together. I didn't like Rennie being with Reeve. I was always rooting for Reeve and Lillia. I didn't really want this plan to unfold correctly. I mean their last plan went terribly wrong so this one could also. 

Lillia and Reeve bonded during Reeve's physical therapy in the pool and Reeve taught Lillia how to swim to pass the swim test for graduation. We watched their romance form while many of the other characters were getting hurt. Alex broke my heart most of all because as I mentioned above he is a very sweet guy, so my heart went out for him. Rennie was the character I didn't care about as much, but I knew she would mess everything up. 

Kat's part in this novel was big also. While Lillia betrayed her best friend to be with Reeve. Rennie and Lillia were coming back together. I was actually happy for Rennie. I wanted her to have one true friend and I knew Kat could be that friend. 

The ending to Fire with Fire blew my mind. I had clues about Mary, but actually knowing the truth was as I said mind blowing. I couldn't wait to get my hands on Ashes to Ashes and find out how this jaw dropping series would end. 

*** Spoilers of Books 1 and 2***

Ashes to Ashes is the most shocking book of this series. Sweet, innocent Mary is not so sweet nor so innocent. She learns that her whole friendship with Kat and Lillia has been a lie. She was never alive and she would not be allowed to leave this island until the person that caused her pain is gone.

In the wake of Rennie's death the whole community of Jar Island has fell apart. Lillia and Reeve try to hide their relationship because they know it is the ultimate betrayal to Rennie and breaks the guy code with Alex. They are seniors in high school and trying to get their life together. Lillia plans to go to Boston. Alex wants to go to USC. Reeve is up for anything and Kat she wants more than anything to go to Oberlin.

But Mary has not forgot the promise Kat and Lillia made on the night this all started. "You must be in until the end otherwise consider yourself fair game." I may have not got the quote exactly right, but I have the premise. Mary is out for blood now. This is not a simple high school revenge game anymore. Reeve has caused Mary endless misery and she will make sure that he suffers the way she did.

Reeve and Lillia's relationship is complicated in this book. With Alex still pinning over Lillia and Lillia trying to keep their relationship a secret from their group of friends bad stuff is bound to happen. Everything goes down in flames on Valentine's day. Everything else that happens in this novel is a spiral effect from there.

The first half of this novel was slightly slow, but the last half was gut wrenching. I was on the edge of my seat just waiting for the next bomb to occur. Mary's part in this book was what made everything happen. Every weird thing that happened in Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire all made sense in Ashes to Ashes. Words can't describe the drastic change she made from the previous two books.

Every choice Kat and Lillia make are dangerous. Their lives and their futures are at stake. Every friendship will be tested and no relationship will go untouched. The ending of this book was crazy. I couldn't believe the things that were happening and I almost cried thinking of what at the time seemed inevitable. As much as I was supposed to hate Reeve throughout this trilogy I never could. Reeve did the impossible and made me like him. At the end it seemed that everything was going to go down in flames. There was no way any character would have a happy. What started out as plan for revenge would end in Ashes.

I don't want to ruin the ending, but I do want to say that I'm not totally satisfied with the ending, but it is ending that gives me closure and one I can deal with.


I highly recommend the Burn for Burn trilogy. I think these are some of my top books I have read this year. A plan that started out as a high school revenge turned into something so complicated. Lillia became the popular girl gone bad and Kat became the outcast that became popular. Their lives were changed forever when they made that promise that night. This series blew me away. It made me think what would I sacrifice for somebody that I love? What would I do to keep people that mean the most to me safe? I don't think that this long review has done this series justice. I think this is the series that I will think about for quite some time. This series was intense.


To end off this review I want to thank my sister, Renae for recommending this trilogy to me. We started this thing in 2014 where we recommend each other 5 books that the other person has to read by the end of 2014. Burn for Burn and Fire with Fire were two of those books on my list. I'm so glad that I read them and I enjoyed them immensely if this review doesn't already give you that feeling.

Thanks to my readers who have made it this far into the review.

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