Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

The basics

Title: Burn for Burn

Author: and

Series: Burn for Burn #1

- Burn for Burn (2012)
- Fire with Fire (2013)
- Ashes to Ashes (2014)

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Goodreads Summary:

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.

Read a full summary of Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian below. If you can’t remember what happened in Burn for Burn and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

in short

Mary, Kat, and Lillia have all been wronged by the popular crowd at school. One day they realise this, and they decide to get even. Since they think Alex Lind hooked up with Lillia’s sister, they start with him. They replace his sun cream with zit cream and his skin becomes gross and scabby, and they basically make everyone laugh at him. Then they move on to Reeve and Rennie, the popular non-couple. Lillia accidentally-on-purpose steals Rennie’s homecoming crown, and they drug Reeve. Unfortunately it all goes wrong because the ecstasy in Reeve’s drink causes him to have a seizure. He gets taken to hospital. Oh, and Mary thinks she has some sort of witchy power, because locker doors fly closed, Rennie falls off the cheerleading pyramid, and lights explode when Mary is feeling intense emotion.

what happened in Burn for Burn?

  • Mary moves back to Jar Island. Her family lived there for generations before she and her mum moved away. She moves in with her aunt, Bette.
  • Kat is sad because, since it’s the end of summer, her secret romance/friendship with Alex Lind is coming to an end. Alex is usually friends with Lillia, Rennie, and Reeve. Kat and Alex clearly like each other.
  • School starts a week after the book begins. Lillia’s sister, Nadia, is starting high school. Rennie tells Nadia that she can join the cheerleading squad. Nadia wants to cheer for Alex specifically, but Rennie comments that Alex is Lillia’s boy toy.
  • A couple of days earlier, on the night of her 18th, Kat is invited to Alex’s welcome home party at his house. She turns up when the party is over, and sees Alex sleeping next to someone.
  • At school, Alex tries to talk to Kat but Rennie interrupts. Kat doesn’t get along with Rennie, although they used friends a long time ago. Kat spits in Rennie’s face. Ew.
  • Mary sees Reeve at school and is offended when he doesn’t remember her. Rennie and Reeve are kind of dating… everyone thinks so, anyway.
  • Alex is pissed because Lillia and Rennie didn’t tidy up after the welcome home party, which they organised. They didn’t get a chance to tidy up because they left the party to go and see some college boys that they had met on the beach.
  • Reeve accidentally ruins Lillia’s sweater. Lillia runs to the bathroom where Kat is. Lillia reflects on when she first met Rennie. They were ten, and Rennie was already friends with Kat. Soon, Lillia and Rennie became inseparable and Kat was dropped from the group. Lillia had bought both Rennie and Kat really pretty necklaces beforehand. She put her gift in Kat’s locker, but Kat never wore it.
  • Lillia and Kat meet Mary, who is also in the bathroom. Mary admits that Reeve upset heer, and says she used to go to school with him on the mainland.
  • Lillia helps Alex clean up the post-party mess. She finds Nadia’s top in his room.
  • Mary remembers how Reeve joined her school and instantly became popular. He mocked Mary for being fat, and everyone followed suit.
  • Lillia finds out that Nadia was drinking at Alex’s party. She reflects on how she got drunk with those college boys.
  • Kat’s mum is dead and she lives with her dad and her brother, who piss her off so she goes for a walk. She sees Nadia in Alex’s car and calls Lillia to tell her. Lillia lies over the phone and says that Nadia is at home with her, but Kat hears Rennie call Nadia’s name.
  • Mary and Reeve used to catch the ferry to go to school together, but he would leave her as soon as it reached the dock.
  • Rennie invites Reeve, Alex, and some other guys over to Lillia’s house to sit by the pool. Lillia overhears Reeve say Nadia slept at Alex’s on the night of the party.
  • Mary calls out to Reeve at school, and as she shouts all the lockers shut in unison. Creepy.
  • Kat and Lillia meet up at the docks. Kat gets there first and sees Mary, who is trying to leave the island. Kat stops her. The three plan to take down Rennie, Alex, and Reeve by getting revenge on them. They promise to not talk to each other in public so no one knows what they’re up to. No one is allowed to bail halfway through, either. They plan to get Alex first. Lillia wants to make sure no one will want to hook up with him again.
  • Lillia goes to Rennie’s condo and the two arrange to go to the cinema with some friends. Rennie is happy that she and Lillia have made up, and it’s revealed that the two were not on good terms because Lillia had sex at the college party while she was drunk, and Rennie didn’t do anything to stop it from happening, and she didn’t comfort her afterwards.
  • That night, Lillia, Kat, and Mary have a look through Alex’s SUV. They replace Alex’s sunscreen with zit cream, which makes skin sensitive to the sun. They also find his notebook, which is filled with poems. Lillia breaks a window on the SUV.
  • Alex’s skin starts to look more and more pink.
  • Reeve holds a party. They play spin the bottle. Reeve and Lillia have to kiss, but Reeve kisses Lillia’s head. He clearly likes her.
  • At school, Kat sets off the fire alarm. While everyone is outside, she scatters copies of Alex’s poems around the school. Lillia reads one, and realises that the “red ribbon” poem is about her. She tells Kat and Mary that she wants to back out, but she eventually decides to continue with the revenge.
  • Mary recalls how she and Reeve kind of became friends. Her mum met him, and after that Reeve didn’t leave her behind when the ferry docked.
  • While at a football game and about to execute their next plan, Mary sees Rennie climbing the cheerleading pyramid. Mary lets out a breath, and Rennie falls from the top. Mary wonders if she did it, like the lockers.
  • Lillia bought Alex a new football jersey and secretly replaced his old one. The new jersey says “Alex Limp” instead of “Alex Lind”. Everyone laughs, and Alex hits Reeve because he thinks he did it.
  • Kat lets the air out of Rennie’s tyres. Ha.
  • Lillia and Rennie go shopping for homecoming. Rennie says that people are considering voting for the new junior, Mary, for homecoming queen. Rennie also says that she’s going with Reeve, and suggests that Lillia goes with Alex. Alex asks Lillia, kinda, and Lillia complains about how Rennie is changing things now when they usually go together as a group.
  • Lillia tells Kat about her idea to stop Rennie being homecoming queen. Tehy go over to Mary’s house to tell her. They see Aunt Bette, who Mary says is into tarot cards and witchy things. They plan to make Ashlin win the homecoming crown instead of Rennie.
  • Mary says Reeve’s dream used to be to get a scholarship and get off Jar Island. He used to be the smartest guy in class, whereas now he’s making B’s and C’s.
  • Mary recalls how one day her classmates saw her and Reeve walking to the ferry together. Her classmates laughed at them, and Mary told them that she and Reeve were friends. Reeve shoved Mary and she fell over the side of the dock and into the water. She had to be pulled out. Mary snuck home and tried to hang herself, although she soon realised she didn’t really want to die. Luckily, her mother arrived home and saved her. Mary was sent to a psychiatric ward off island.
  • Kat, Mary, and Lillia plan to drug Reeve at homecoming. Kat gets drugs from her brother’s dealer.
  • Lillia tells Alex that she knows about him and Nadia. Alex tells her that Nadia got drunk at the party and her friends – and Lillia – left her, so Nadia had to spend the night at his place. He also reveals that Nadia was in his car because she called him because she was upset about the drinking thing, and how she didn’t want Lillia to know. Lillia apologises and they kind of make up.
  • Lillia distracts the coach so Kat and Mary can sneak into the office to fix the votes for homecoming queen. Kat and Mary are still in the office when they return, so Lillia “faints”.
  • After the homecoming game, Rennie and Lillia go to Ashlin’s house and relax in her sauna. Reeve, PJ, and Alex are there too. After a while, Lillia starts to fake tiredness. Rennie refuses to leave so Alex offers to take her home.
  • Kat shows Lillia and Mary the liquid ecstasy that she bought. Lillia is going to be the one to drug Reeve.
  • Mary wears the daisy pendant necklace to homecoming. It’s the one that Reeve bought her for her twelfth birthday. She had organised a huge party with a carnival theme, and had invited her entire class, but only Reeve had turned up.
  • Rennie and Lillia get ready for homecoming together. Lillia’s father sent her and her sister corsages. Awww. The group arrive, along with the parents, and they take a bunch of photos.
  • Lillia gives Reeve the spiked drink at the dance. After a while, Reeve starts to breakdance. He also dances with a teacher. Clearly it went to his head very quickly.
  • Alex talks to Kat and tells her there’s no hard feelings between them, and that he knows she wasn’t into him after summer ended. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, but Kat doesn’t say so.

how did it end?

Reeve wins the homecoming king crown! Congrats. And in a surprising turn of events, Lillia is crowned homecoming queen. Rennie is very disappointed. Reeve tells Lillia he voted for her. He kisses her once he confirms that she and Alex are just friends. Lillia pushes him away and Reeve apologises to Alex because he’s broken some kind of promise or deal.

Reeve sees Mary and says “Big Easy”. Mary is annoyed and angry, and all the lights pop. Reeve falls off the stage. The students run out of the building. Reeve is having a seizure. Reeve is taken away in an ambulance. Mary is very upset because she thinks she hurt people and killed Reeve.

Rennie asks Lillia about the kiss, because it’s very important to know these things when you’re waiting in a hospital’s waiting room to find out if your friend is okay, and Lillia promises that she didn’t kiss Reeve back.
Lillia finds Kat and Mary on the dock. She tells them Reeve is in the ICU. They all know it’s their fault, and Kat just hopes they can get away with it.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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