Review: Burning by Elana K. Arnold

BurningBurning by Elana K. Arnold

Publication Date: June 11, 2013
Page Count: 320
Published by: Delacorte Press
Source: eARC courtesy of publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis From Goodreads:

Ben: Having just graduated from high school, Ben is set to leave Gypsum, Nevada. It's good timing since the gypsum mine that is the lifeblood of the area is closing, shutting the whole town down with it. Ben is lucky: he's headed to San Diego, where he's got a track scholarship at the University of California. But his best friends, Pete and Hog Boy, don't have college to look forward to, so to make them happy, Ben goes with them to check out the hot chick parked on the side of Highway 447.

Lala: She and her Gypsy family earn money by telling fortunes. Some customers choose Tarot cards; others have their palms read. The thousands of people attending the nearby Burning Man festival spend lots of cash--especially as Lala gives uncanny readings. But lately Lala's been questioning whether there might be more to life than her upcoming arranged marriage. And the day she reads Ben's cards is the day that everything changes for her. . . and for him.

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I really enjoyed reading Burning. It had an original storyline and such a unique setting. It was different than anything that I have read before. I liked that the story is written with dual POVs, and each had a very distinctive voice - a gypsy girl and a small town boy. Change is coming to both characters, and each must learn how they will deal with their futures.

The protagonists, Ben and Lala, meet when they are both at critical points in their lives. I liken their meeting to a crossroads of sorts - he is on one path, she is on another, but for just that brief moment of time their paths cross and both of their lives are changed forever. Ben and Lala are complicated characters, and both had good and bad qualities that made them more realistic. I couldn't help but feel sympathetic towards Lala and her situation, and wish for her to have a better life. I liked Ben because he wasn't perfect, but he was a really good guy who just wanted to do the right thing.

Going into reading Burning, I didn't know a lot about the Gypsy culture, but I did gain a lot of insight into their lifestyle and beliefs. A lot of what I learned made me understand Lala and her desire to want more for herself than the traditional gypsy life.

I enjoyed the beautiful writing and the way the book quietly moved along. The story was very moody and descriptive, but several times it felt a little slow to me. Character growth was an important part of this book. I thought it was done perfectly, yet there was still room for both characters to continue growing.

I recommend Burning for readers who enjoy realistic YA contemporary, and who want to find out if practicality will win out over romance. Overall, I thought it was a sweet story, but with a lot of depth that made it more than just the standard happily ever after love story.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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  1. Well, Sandra, this looks like a great book
    I have not read anything about the Gypsy lifestyle, so I don't know
    But I am adding it to my TBR
    Your reader,

    1. I hope you get to read it soon. It was very interesting.

  2. I've been really curious about this one but that's kid of what I've been hearing... Good but hoping for just a bit more! I'll still keep it on my TBR list and hopefully get to it because I'm curious about the gypsy culture! :)

    1. I was curious about the gypsy culture also. I thought the author did a great job showing what life would be like for Lala after she marries and why she was so desperate for change.

  3. Very interesting! I haven't heard about this book, but I am very interested in gypsy culture- so many I'll give it a read! Your review has sparked my curiosity :^)

    1. I don't know a lot about the gypsy culture, but at the end of the book the author explains about her research into the gypsy lifestyle. So I'd like to think that what she portrayed is true. It's definitely different from other cultures. I hope you get the chance to read it.

  4. I am glad to know that you enjoyed this. I have it for review also. I don't know much about the gypsy culture either, so that seems interesting.


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