June 11, 2013

Burning by Elana K. Arnold

Burning by Elana K. Arnold
Series: N/A
Source: Publisher for review
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: June 11, 2013
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.
Pete, Hog Boy, and I were spending Monday afternoon screwing around on our skateboards on the shipping dock at the deserted drywall plant.

For me, Burning was a must-read book from the very moment that I heard about it. I couldn't wait to read about a gypsy girl and a regular guy falling in love, which I was sure would happen. But Burning is so much more than a love story-- it's actually more about self-discovery.

Lala had a very authentic voice. I loved hearing about her people's customs, and reading the words that she speaks in her own language-- it's a lot of fun to see a different voice once in a while. I liked hearing the old Romani stories that she told, and I enjoyed seeing things through her eyes, but I find that I don't really connect with her.

I connected much more with Ben, who's lived in a small town his entire life. The things that he says and thinks about small town life are absolutely true-- people generally tolerate you because they've known you forever. It's a fact of life. Anywho, I enjoyed Ben's character. He was so sweet and caring, but I also detected fierce protectiveness from him.

I'm proud to say that Lala and Ben's voices were easily distinguished from each other-- I never found myself rushing back to a chapter marker to see who was speaking. So that was well done. I also enjoyed the ending-- it was completely different than what I expected, but it was perfect.

All in all, Burning was more about self-discovery than love, but it's worth a read for a break from all the relationship drama. (:

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