Book Review: Burning by Elana K. Arnold

Author: Elana K. Arnold
Reading Level: YA
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Released: June 11th 2013
Review Source: NetGalley/Delacorte Press
Available: Amazon

Summary: (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.

Ben- a leader, a protector. The small town, populated by 489 people, where he grew up in was now kicking him out. There was nothing left there for anyone. The town was soon to be deserted. Ben was going off to college in San Diego and his family and his two best friends were moving to Reno. Even though he has such a great opportunity ahead of him, he feels guilty because of it. It pained him to have to leave behind his best friends, and his little brother whom he protected. Enter Lala- a fortune telling gypsy. She knows her future perfectly. She will get married to her fiancé, have children and live the Gypsy life. Her way of life is not wrong to her, it just is. But when Ben shows up in her tent for a fortune, the burning he awakens in her is too real to ignore.

I don't even know how to being describing this book. It was amazing! We get to view both Ben and Lala's perspectives. Ben is about to start his college journey but is feeling an insane amount of guilt and doesn't even like talking about it. His mom, dad, and little brother are moving to Reno. He has always tried protecting his little brother and now that he's leaving to college he hates that he won't be there for him anymore. He's also leaving behind his two best friends, whom have nothing exciting to look forward to. As a going away present, his best friends drive him to a place where they saw a hot chick telling fortunes. That is when Lala and Ben meet. Lala feels it as soon as she sees Ben, there is undoubted chemistry between them. She gives him his fortune and he asks her out on a date. But she denies him. Why? Because she is engaged already, and Ben is a ghazi. Lala's way of life is completely different than Ben's. She has different rules and different beliefs. But what if she were allowed to choose what SHE wants? This book is about self-discovery. Both of the characters learn from each other, and help each other move on to their great journeys.

When I finished reading the last words of this book my initial thoughts were: "that is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever read." I FELT liberated, I FELT free. When you read a book there is always one character you relate to, usually the main character. But I am torn, I found myself relating entirely to both Ben and Lala. It was a strange feeling for me- to want what Ben wanted, and then want what Lala wanted even though it was conflicting. My gosh Elana K. Arnold, you are absolutely brilliant! I feel like conquering the world now, like choosing things because it is what I WANT to choose. If this book is not on your to-be-read pile, do yourself a favor and add it immediately. It is a true eye-opener, seeing the lives of Ben and Lala making choices for them entirely and no one else. Often times we live our life the way it is "supposed to be lived." But this book empowers you! It was much more than a YA read, and I am recommending this to anyone and everyone! And I would love to say "Thank you, Elana K. Arnold. Thank you!"

1 comment:

  1. I thought this book was quite well-written and amazing as well. Ben and Lala were such sympathetic characters and it was easy to root for them and want what they wanted even if it conflicted, just as you say.


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