Friday, July 5, 2013

Book Review: Burning by Elana K. Arnold

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

Lala is strong, caring, and smart. She comes from a family of Gypsies. She is very proud of her culture, but she begins to doubt and wonder if there is more than the life her family has planned for her. Like the arranged marriage Lala will enter into when she turns eighteen.
Ben is a sweet, kind, protective, and down to earth seventeen year old who is about to leave the town he grew up in (which is also shutting down) to go to college in San Diego. He hates to leave his friends and family behind and he feels guilty over the fact that he is starting a new life in San Diego and his friends can’t come with him.
Ben and Lala’s lives couldn’t be more different. And yet when Ben and his friends visit Lala telling fortunes not far from the Burning Man Festival, there is something that draws them towards each other. But their lives are set to go in opposite directions. Will it be worth it for them to change course?
This is not your typical love story. It is more than that. The characters felt like real people. I love it when that happens in a book. It starts off a little slow, but the more I read, the more I was able to get into the story. Burning is an engaging coming of age story revolving around two young adults who are just beginning to discover who they are and exactly what they want/need. It’s a good choice for summertime reading and readers who enjoy young adult contemporaries.

Rating: 3½ out of 5.
**I received this book on behalf of Random House Children’s Books/Delacorte Press Thank you.**


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