Friday, June 15, 2012

Book Review & Giveaway - Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

One of the first books I received as part of BEA was an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian which is to be released in September 2012 by Simon and Schuster. Armed with a bag load of brand new books on the bus ride home, I decided to take the plunge and start reading. What caught my attention first? Well, the cover, of course!

One has to wonder: what are these girls up to? The second thing that got me was the tag line: Big girls don't cry... they get even. I read that and thought, Whoa. Things are going to get REAL in this book!

From page one I was set adrift on Jar Island, the beach town setting of the novel. Han and Vivian do such a good job of bringing this place to life that I actually had to Google "Jar Island" to double check that it wasn't actually a real place I just hadn't heard of (technically it is a surfing spot in Australia, and the subject of this very strange YouTube video, but neither of those are the Jar Island from the book).

There is something about living and existing in small communities like that of Jar Island - with one high school, a ferry boat as the only means to get you on and off the island, where everybody knows pretty much everybody - that makes one feel as if all of life's dramas are viewed in high relief by your community. Therefore, when you were once part of the popular crowd, but now deemed as trash; when the guy you counted on as a friend has betrayed your trust and your family; and when you were ostracized in your youth for your weight by the boy who is now the quarterback and most popular kid in your high school, it can feel as though the world is unfair, unbalanced and simply out to get you. It may feel as though the only way to empower oneself is, instead of rising above it all, you can get even. The three protagonists in this novel: Kat, Lillian and Mary do just that. They decide enough is enough and waiting around for karma to deal out justice for them is not efficient or validating.

I love this book, not only for its presentation of story, but for all of the questions it raises for the reader.  As I read along, rooting for each of the girls to get the justice they deserved, I slowly felt the quagmire of deception, secrecy and vengeance swallowing me and blurring the lines of good and evil.  Who is right in this novel? Who is just? When does revenge go too far?

I highly recommend this book, particularly to anyone who may still feel the sting of the slight of a friend or bully in school. This novel is incredibly timely as media bursts with discussions of bullying, "it gets better," and unbridled support for victims in bullying situations.

With that said, I am happy to inform you that I happen to have an extra Advanced Reader Copy of Burn for Burn to give away! Unfortunately open to US residents only, you can enter my first Buried in Books Giveaway by using the Rafflecopter widget below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you'd like to share this giveaway on your own blog, here's a link to help you to get the embed code for the Rafflecopter widget above

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