BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Fire with Fire [Burn for Burn Trilogy 2] by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Fire with FireEven more than Reeve who is lying in a hospital bed – his intended college football career probably shattered – Lillia, Kat, and Mary are the ones who need to recover from the shocker that was Homecoming. Guilt, for now, is as paralyzing as any cast … at least until the unlikely coven set into motion the next act in their revenge trilogy.

As much pain as Reeve is suffering, he’s hardly repentant for the grievous harm he caused Mary four years ago. Even when she finally confront him, his only response is an expletive-laden retort. The trio is determined to make him pay, and Lillia proves to be his Achilles’ heel, never mind that her former BFF is increasingly desperate to ensnare the self-absorbed jock. What begins as foul play morphs into potential disaster when Lillia finds she is no longer just acting lovestruck.

Mary becomes increasingly aware that the best-laid plans aren’t always foolproof. Rejected again by Reeve, her smoldering anger is about to burst. As her aunt’s strange behavior becomes ever more disturbing, Mary longs for her faraway parents.

Meanwhile, Kat is more determined than ever to get into Oberlin early decision, a tunnel-vision goal she pursues both for herself and her late mother. Still, her reluctant attachment to Alex reignites as she attempts to convince him to pursue his own dreams regardless of his parents’ expectations.

And then another cliffhanger crash upends the entire island, and our cozy coven seems to have lost all control. Burn for Burn, fire with fire … until ashes to ashes, they all fall down … Or, ashes to ashes, a phoenix rises… ??! The final installment awaits …

Jenny Han certainly ventures far from her sigh-inducing Belly Trilogy which repeatedly returned her to the bestselling lists with each volume. If Belly was all light and love, this latest three-parter – co-written with Han’s BFF and fellow YA author Siobhan Vivian – is predominantly dark and vengeful. For those aurally-inclined, the same three narrators continue their near-pitch-perfect teenage recitation (except for a minor inability to pronounce Hermès correctly, a brand name that overprivileged Lillia would never, ever get wrong).

Reading as a parent, the lives of Lillia, Kat, Mary, and their so-called friends (‘with friends like that, who needs enemies?’ repeats often) are eye-opening at best, nightmare-inducing at worst. Ironically, as the paranormal activity picks up in #2, the logical mind insists, ‘oh, well, then these things could never happen to our kids.’ Not much assurance … but perhaps we older readers could take this as a primer on how-not-to-parent? Younger readers surely don’t seem to have any reservations as the series move up the sales charts. Ashes to Ashes we go.

Readers: Young Adult

Published: 2013


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