Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: Burning by Elana K. Arnold

By Elana K Arnold
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Source: Publisher
Summary: 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.

Review: Going into this one, I had no idea it was about a small town boy who falls in love with a gypsy girl. I know, I know, I really need to start reading the back cover of books instead of picking them up based on their cover alone. Even though the plot surprised me, this book was actually a pretty good read. 

Ben's town is falling apart ever since the gypsum mine shut down and everyone lost their jobs. Now, everyone is moving out and it seems like Ben is the only one with a solid plan, to go and run track for USDC on full scholarship. When Ben and his friends stop by a gypsy tent to get their fortunes told, Ben isn't prepared to have all his doubts and fears told to him by a gorgeous gypsy he just can't get out of his head. Lala can read Ben like an open book and she can tell his attraction to her as strong as her own, but their lives couldn't be more different. Could a small town boy really fall for a gypsy girl? And can Lala defy her family and the only life she's known for the inexplicable attraction she has to Ben? 

Like I said, I had no idea this book would have anything to do with gypsies, so I thought that reading about their life and a girl who wasn't okay with how restrained her life was as a gypsy was really interesting. Elana Arnold did such a fantastic job capturing the life of a gypsy and having Lala embody that kind of personality, especially in the way she spoke and talked. She was a very intelligent girl, but she used no contractions and had no accent like Ben and his friends did. I also loved how she was reading The Catcher In the Rye and really thought about the moral of the story. This was definitely an intricate book about the role a person plays in their own life and how important independence is to them. 

I'm not sure if this one was supposed to be a flat-out romance, but that wasn't really my favorite part. Yeah, the whole story is pretty much Ben and Lala falling for each other, then dealing with their feelings when their worlds were so different. But the way they fall for each other with out knowing that much about each other was kind of odd. Ben talks about how their relationship was progressing weirdly because they had such deep feelings without really talking, but that just seemed like a fleeting thought and he went on to obsess over how much he felt for Lala. I don't know, I just wish it wasn't exactly an insta-love and trust thing when both characters have trust issues in the first place. 

The story itself, though, was very unique and very interesting compared to other YA stories. The whole concept of being about a gypsy was really cool and I loved Ben's character and how he was going to college, but felt guilty because he felt like he was abandoning everyone stuck to find a new life after their town lost all its jobs. Overall, Burning was a really intriguing love story between two completely different people. If you have the time, I'd say go ahead and pick this one up.


  1. I like the idea that this book is different than typical YA romances. I think I may give it a try. :) Oh, and I've done that before, not realizing what a book is about when I pick it up. Sometimes it's a nice surprise! ;)

  2. Your review definitely has me intrigued. No -- nothing about that cover says "gypsy;" more like "beach romance," though on closer inspection there is no water :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics


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