Burning by Elana K. ArnoldBurning by Elana K. Arnold


byElana K. Arnold

Hardcover | March 16, 2015

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A sizzling love story between a small-town boy and a Gypsy girl unfolds as the Burning Man festival is in full swing. 

Ben, a small-town boy from Gypsum, Nevada, and Lala, a gypsy girl in town to read fortunes for the tourists who have come for the annual Burning Man festival, are from two completely different worlds. In the fall, Ben will be going off to college, and Lala will be entering into an arranged marriage. But this summer, each of them is searching for something more . . . And one sizzling summer day when Lala reads Ben’s cards, everything changes for both of them.

A Bankstreet Best Book of the Year

A Los Angeles Public Library Best Book 

“Seductive and uplifting . . . An absolutely perfect summer read.” —Andrew Smith, author of Winger and The Marbury Lens

“A story of forbidden love, great risk, and, ultimately, transformation. Readers will find themselves moved beyond words.” —Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone

“Wholly compelling and full of surprises.” —Pam Houston, author of Cowboys Are My Weakness

"Lyrical and inspirational."--Kirkus Reviews

"Readers looking for a romantic coming-of-age novel won’t be disappointed."--SLJ

"The stirrings of an unconventional first love and the new freedoms that lie in wait for Lala and Ben provide readers ample reason to keep turning pages"--Publisher's Weekly
ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. Her previous novel for young adults is Sacred.
Title:BurningFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.49 × 5.91 × 1.08 inPublished:March 16, 2015Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385743343

ISBN - 13:9780385743341

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gorgeous and Riveting. 4.5/5 stars Burning is a true summer-love romance. From the moment I picked the book, I knew that it would be the perfect summer read. Just look at the cover! I've never read a gypsy book before. Elana K. Arnold has definitely introduced something completely new to me. A gypsy girl. A small-town boy. Star-crossed lovers. A beautiful romance. An amazing, thrilling summer. That's basically what the plot is all about, summed up in 5 short statements. Lala and her Gypsy family come to Nevada for the summer to continue telling fortunes and making a living. She has an arranged marriage to a man that she never and never will love, and all she wants is change, and to get the get the heck out of her family's hands. When she meets small-town boy Ben, who's spending his last summer before university in his home that he's known all his life, everything suddenly changes. They both fall in love, despite their different ways of life, and have to make sacrifices to make everything work. Is it just a fling? It's not. The romance between Lala and Ben wasn't a fling, it was something far more special and beautiful. They were in love, and love doesn't come that easily. Bala (my ship name for them) had such a strong romance that hardly anyone's can compare to. From a matter of weeks, they learnt to understand each other completely despite everything that's going on with their families. The relationship they had was not only a romance, but a complete understanding and friendship. They didn't love each other just for the excitement and hunger, they loved each other because of love. You'd think that you cannot understand this type of relationship because of the matter that it is put in, but it's so easy to. Their love gave me the feels. *dreams* The concept of this book was fresh, unique, and summery. If you're looking for something related to Sarah Dessen's books, then this book is for you. Elana K. Arnold has created the next Sarah Dessen-related book. I keep thinking "Don't Stop Believin" about this story. "Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world..." But in ways, it's kind of the opposite. Ben is the small-town boy, and Lala comes from the ways of the city. They're not supposed to be together, but fate helped them along the way. When beginning this book, I had mixed expectations of what it could become. A possible 3.5 star rated book because of its cheesiness and predictability was my biggest guess. And from the beginning, that's where the book took off to be. The beginning was very narrow-sided and not strong and captivating. Until 100 pages, I was getting bored. And also, there was insta-love. *pukes* They basically fell in love at first sight, and that's unreal, in my opinion. But put that aside, and you have an amazing novel. From there, the plot took off. It became so captivating, and my squealing feels went out of control. When predicting the ending, I had a whole other idea of what was to come. In ways, the book was a masterpiece. But what I really liked about it was that it wasn't perfect. Imperfection is a strong thing, and it helps us realize that the story was more real than anything. This sounds very much like a true story, and I'd believe it if someone'd just tell me it verbally. I really had a total love relationship with the characters, especially because of their imperfection. Ben was a total heartthrob, and I can see him being in every YA romance story and totally making it awesome. Ugh, I just loved him too much, and it's very difficult to explain my feels in his case. :) But all I can say is that he made my heart skip a beat. Lala was just a total fun and witty female protagonist. She was a rebel, and sick and tired of the Gypsy ways. All she wanted was to be free and to have a new chance at life because her arranged marriage and tradition would just ruin everything. We usually don't get protagonists like that, willing to do anything to have change. Of course, I loved the whole Gypsy aspect of the book, and I can tell that the subject means a lot to the author because she wrote about everything with such understanding passion. It was so unique to learn about that, and it was another of my favourite things about this book! The last thing that I wanted to mention was the ending. EHMAGERD. I don't know how to put this into words, but it SHOCKED ME. Overall, this book was amazing. I recommend it to any chick-lit lover, young or old. The romance is strong and beautiful, and so are the relatable real characters. Go for it.
Date published: 2014-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Forbidden love, gypsies and a ghost town Gypsum is a dying town in the middle of the Nevada desert. Ben and his family is about to be uprooted from the only home they'd ever known. Barely a week left before he - himself moves to San Diego for college, he meets Lala White. Gobsmacked was the only word that comes to mind to describe how they saw each other from the get go: undeniable attraction, palpable chemistry and all. But there was something deeper and more intense between them that has nothing to do with Lana's incredibly intuitive perception of Ben. Call it magic, call it what you will - but Lala sees through Ben like nobody else can. With a full-ride track scholarship to UCSD as his guaranteed passport out of Gypsum, Ben knew that starting something with the gypsy girl is probably not a good idea. Fortunately for him, the gypsy girl is not exactly available for the taking. She's already sold to the tune of $15,000 to marry somebody else. Fate has a way of inconveniently derailing well-laid out plans and Ben's isn't exactly a sure thing; especially when his heart aches with the thought of moving away from his family and the girl who sees more than any tarot cards could show. Before the Burning Man festival is over, Ben would have to make a choice between his ordained future and being stuck like the rest of the people of Gypsum. Lala White is no ordinary girl: exotically beautiful and uncannily perceptive. She's always accepted the gypsy ways of living. But lately, she's been restless. As she questions every single impartial facets of being a woman in her family, she meets Ben - a boy who showed her exactly how the outside world functions without tarot cards, arranged marriages and being free. But in the end, she would learn that freedom comes with a price that would both be liberating and heartbreaking at the same time. Elana K. Arnold's Burning is a tender, romantic book that realistically shows how two people can be so right for each other but could be so wrong. Sometimes, perfect timing is everything and it takes a lot more than instant attraction to make a go of it. Lala and Ben may have all the right chemistry but choices have to be made and people need to find their places in the world before a relationship can become a priority. It's knowing oneself and figuring out what was truly valuable in their lives. Lala needed to find freedom from the clutches of everything that makes a gypsy's life a prison and Ben needed to reconcile to the fact that he needed to move on and do everything in his power to find a better life for himself. The characters' voices were replete with longing for things that may seem impossible but not really improbable. This book may be romantic but don't get too comfortable; it was a good combination of romance and reality that not a lot of books in this genre have the guts to pursue.
Date published: 2013-09-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved the Realistic Characters! This is such a beautifully written story of two people that are kind of figuring their lives out. Told from both Lala and Ben's POV this read was powerful in its own way. Some people may shy away because if the circumstance that cause the chain reaction of events: love at first sight. Though the characters don't swoon and fall all over each other the connection is there and it brings upon something bigger than the both of them. It was hard to put this one down because I honestly loved the beauty of the story. As stated the writing was beautiful but what made it so spectacular was that it brought the world to life. I assumed seeing that it was the desert that it would be a bland and kind of desolate world and yet it wasn't. The desert is beautiful in it's own way and with the shutting down town and the Burning Man event going on there is a lot of life in this particular barren land. It seems rather that the events and the desert itself represent the start of things and yet an end as well. I can't even begin to tell you all of the ways that make the setting perfect and beautiful in it own tragic ways. I seriously loved Ben. He is a wonderful and good person but not without his faults. An overachiever in his own rights but worked hard for everything that he had, including his all paid ticket out of there. Despite the fact that his town is closing down and everyone/everything he knows and loves is being forced to relocate and find new jobs, he feels bad for being the one to leave it all behind, leave everyone behind. This is both a fault and endearing at the same time. It isn't until he has his fortune read by Lala that he realizes just how much he has over thought and how much he hasn't considered. This includes an attachment to a girl that he never would have expected and a possible heart break that he could have never predicted. Ben is very much the teenage boy that you would expect but he is also acts older than his years and knowing that feeling just made me have something else to relate to with him. I was shocked and hurt by some of the reactions he had (especially when it came to his brother) but he is only human. Lala was a beautifully written character and I could not get over that. She isn't exactly someone that you would think you could relate to but it became clear that you could. I would never claim to know much about Gypsy's but this book did a great job of educating me on that through Lala. Although she loves her family and her community, through the power of reading she starts to question what she has always known for what might be possible. It seems that she is made out of so much more than the arranged marriage and life set out for serving the males around her. Nothing this girl did was rash because she had seen so much and though her heart called for things her mind ultimately ruled. I felt for her and her restricted world but there was a part of me that said I didn't understand because I wasn't raised like her, with the values she was. As a whole Lala is probably one of the most well rounded characters I have read and I actually wish I could have more of her. The book is kind of a coming of age story, about growing up and making decisions for yourself and no one else because ultimately your destiny is up to you. The way it ended was not the perfect happy ending and that's okay with me. Why should everything end with a happy ending? Elana brilliantly stuck with her characters and ended it in a realistic and beautifully sad way. There is a part of me that wanted something else and for it all to end a different way but it is what it is and I find myself unusually okay with that. This book is kind of a YA that lightly touches on NA but not so much that it is too vivid for teenage readers. Pick this up on a hot and sunny day if you like contemporary and real characters.
Date published: 2013-07-24

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2013:
"Lyrical and inspirational."

School Library Journal Teen, May 1, 2013:
"No doubt, a great, unexpected ending."