Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: Burning by Elana K. Arnold + Giveaway!

Burning by Elana K. Arnold

Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Pages: 320
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: ARC
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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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.

This takes places during a pivotal time in both Ben and Lala's lives. It is the summer before Ben is moving to San Diego for college. He got a full scholarship and is leaving behind his friends, family and the town he grew up in. Not just moving away from the town but the whole town is shutting down. Ben is worried and feeling some regret leaving his brother and now jobless father. Lala is nearing the age of 18 and the time of her arranged marriage. She loves her family but doesn't want to marry or follow the gypsy way of life anymore. 

Ben is spending his last days of summer with his friends Pete and Hog Boy. For a going away gift they take him to the fortune telling gypsies where he meets Lala. Lala is exotic and perspective and like no one Ben has met before. She feels magical to him. It is easy to see why he would fall so easily and quickly for her. Ben is also feeling a lot of guilt about leaving. He wants to protect his gay brother from being picked on and he is worried about his now jobless family and also feels bad for the friends he is leaving behind. Going away to college is such an exciting yet scary time in life. I felt all those feelings perfectly from Ben as well as how it would be so sad to see the town you grew up in abandoned.

Lala loves her family and sisters but there are things she questions about her lifestyle and upcoming arranged marriage. The alternating dual POVs were so well written. I really got to understand the history of both characters and see both sides of the story unfolding without it ever feeling like things were repeating which sometimes happens with a dual POV. Lala is drawn to Ben who comes back to see her again. While getting ice cream with her family she makes a life changing decision to leave with Ben and get to know him. He is so different from what she grew up with. I learned a lot of interesting facts about gypsy culture I never knew. Also the summer ends with the Burning Man Festival that Ben and Lala attend. The settings were detailed so well that I could feel the summer heat.

Ben and Lala just got together but as I mentioned this is such a pivotal time in their lives. Ben has to go to college. This is his big chance. But Lala just left her family for the chance to be free and not tied down by marriage. So should she begin her new life by following Ben? Or start by living free? Not a perfect romantic ending but I think a realistic ending. So many readers complain about female characters that follow boys blinding so I think many readers will appreciate the girl power ending. It did leave me a little sad and think 4 stars for this one but the beautiful high quality writing really made me think this deserves a full 5 stars. It was different from anything else I've read and I really enjoyed the characters and story.

"And yet here I was, wedged between Pete and Hog Boy in a tent that hadn't been here last week on the side of Highway 447, across from a girl who seemed magical to me, who seemed able to look inside my soul."

"It didn't matter what I had thought before about fate, about God, about magic. Lala White had appeared in  the desert for a reason. She was meant for me. No matter what the cost."

Rating: 5/5

Giving away my ARC!
Rules in rafflecopter terms & conditions.
Also I saw a fellow blogger with a giveaway for this book so head over to Nala's Book Corner for an extra chance to win!


  1. Wow! I haven't even heard of this novel before, but after that glowing review it's going straight on my "to-read" shelf! And thank you for the giveaway :D

    -Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

  2. This one is on my Wish List, now I want to read it even more, especially with those little teasers you gave. :)

  3. I was wondering about this bc it sounds really good but I wasn't super in love with the last Elana K. Arnold book I read which was pretty religious. No mention of religion here though so maybe this one would be more up my alley. I do love dual POVs especially boy/girl and it really sounds like it was brilliancy written. I also like how they're a bit older than normal YA. Great review! :)

  4. I like that this involves an arranged marriage not something we get too often. I know what you mean about realistic endings. I know we all want that HEA but that isn't always the way life works, so I can handle a girl powered realistic ending.

  5. This bookwas good but the ending pissed me
    The hell off!

  6. Wow... this book sounds so compelling! Thanks for the great review. I definitely haven't read a book about gypsies or small town life in a while. Definitely going to have to get this a closer look!

  7. I had no idea this book would be so good! Now I want to run out and grab a copy. Great review!

  8. This book sounds amazing! Has a great cover, makes me even more intrigued.

  9. This sounds really good. I think this is the first review I have actually read for it. I admit, I wanted it for the pretty cover. I'm glad that you liked it!!

  10. Great review! I haven't heard about this one, sounds interesting. Glad you like it

  11. I kept seeing this on NG and was interested in the gypsy aspect, but I was trying to be good. Now I want to smack myself. :P

  12. Very well written review. I have been seeing this book around and never thought to much of it but after reading your review I REALLY want a copy to read. It sounds amazing!

    - Beckie

  13. That was a very eloquent review. Thanks for sharing that. I appreciate knowing about the ending.

  14. Sounds great! I want to read it now!

  15. Five stars? I love the cover and after your review, I'll definitely give this one a try!
    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

  16. I've been seeing this book everywhere. I'm glad to see that you liked it! Thank you for the giveaway as well. I'm following your blog and I was wondering if you could do this tag that I created called Blogging Things I Suck At. You can find out all the details and more at the post on my blog here. I really hope you can do it.
    Laura @ Music Plus Books

  17. Sounds like a great book! I cannot wait to read it.

  18. Wonderful review! Glad you enjoyed the story :)

  19. So much about this book is telling me to read it. The setting, the characters .. definitely need to get a hold of it.

  20. This sounds really interesting, especially Lala and the gypsy way of life I don't know much about. I'm glad to see you liked it! :)

  21. Great review! Burning sounds like a really good book! :D I'm not sure about the gypsy idea, but that's an interesting idea. I'm happy you liked this!

  22. Oooh! I could totally go for a girl-power ending. I'm really up-in-the-air about dual POVs, though. When done well, I love them, but I sometimes have a hard team keeping the POVs straight. However, if you say it's good, I think I'll give ti a shot because the premise does sound super interesting!



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