- Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER
- Format: Hardback | 368 pages
- Dimensions: 140mm x 211mm x 36mm | 476g
- Publication date: 18 September 2012
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 1442440759
- ISBN 13: 9781442440753
- Sales rank: 85,096
Payback is paradise in this start to a trilogy from "New York Times "bestselling author Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes--and three girls secretly plotting revenge. KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend. LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she's going to put a stop to it. MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who's responsible has yet to get what's coming to him. None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together...anything is possible. With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more "I wish I'd said..." or "If I could go back and do things differently..." These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.
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By Sarah Elizabeth 30 Nov 2012
(Source: I borrowed a copy of this book.)
17-year-old Mary left Jar Island in 7th grade, and has now to come back to try and lay some old ghosts to rest; most noteably - Reeve, who bullied her for being fat when she was younger.
17-year-old Lillia used to only come to Jar Island for holidays, but for the past couple of years has lived there permanently. She's best friends with Rennie - the head cheerleader, and they're looking forward to being the queen bees of their senior year.
17-year-old Kat has lived on Jar Island all her life. She used to be best friends with Rennie before Lillia came along, but now she has no-one.
All three girls have someone that they want to get even with. Mary obviously wants to get even with Reeve for the way he treated her when she was younger, Lillia wants to get even with Alex, cause she believes he's secretly making out with her 14-year-old sister, and Kat wants to get even with Rennie who is always calling her names and generally being nasty to her.
By chance the girls find themselves banding together to get what they all want - Revenge. But how far should they take it? How badly do they want to mess with Reeve, Alex, and Rennie's lives? And what will the consequences be?
I enjoyed this book, although to be honest I thought the concept had been done so many times before that it wasn't really very original. I can't really think of a list of books similar to this, but one thing that does spring to mind is the movie 'John Tucker Must Die', where three girls band together against a common enemy, and try to make him un-dateable. This book was a very similar sort of idea, just with more than one victim.
I was a little wary of the sort of tricks that the girls were going to pull to get their revenge, I mean I would find it really difficult to come up with ways to get revenge on my friends, but the ideas they came up with weren't too bad, although they did seem to get riskier the longer they went along with their plan. I have to say that the last prank is obviously the riskiest, although not risky to the girls pulling it, but to the person on the receiving end (but I'm not going to say any more cause I don't want to spoil it for you).
I thought that three girls were all very different, and had their own personalities, which was good. I also liked the fact that Lillia was Asian, and they actually put an Asian girl on the cover! (If only they could have done this for 'the immortal rules' as well.)
I thought that when Mary's back story was eventually revealed, that she had maybe gone a bit overboard with her reaction to Reeve's actions, but I could also see where the poor girl was coming from, and couldn't really blame her for wanting revenge. Lillia's story was a little more convoluted, although I could also see where she was coming from, and Kat had a right to be annoyed over the way her former best friend Rennie treated her on a daily basis.
I liked that the girl's acts of revenge had consequences, and that it was made clear that pulling these sort of tricks was actually serious, and could have serious consequences. This book personally reminded me how petty high school is, and why I would never want to go back! God do I feel sorry for all the kids at school currently. High schools are like zoos, filled with ravenous crocodiles with an unhealthy dose of sugar and hormones. Yikes!
The ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger, you've got to read the next one to find out what happens, but to be honest, the book could have ended the story with just one more chapter, and I'm not really sure what the next two books are going to be filled with! One very strange thing about this book though, is that towards the end a paranormal element is brought in! (yes -paranormal) Which really didn't fit the book at all. I mean talk about an elephant in the room! I mean it couldn't have been more out of place if aliens had landed!
I'm not really sure where the authors are going with this paranormal aspect of the storyline, but I think they need to be really careful, because otherwise this series could be a total train-wreck.
Overall I enjoyed this book, even though I thought that the concept had been over-done in the past.
7.5 out of 10.