Burning by Elana K. Arnold

IMG_3664Forbidden love, gypsies and a ghost town

by Elana K. Arnold
Delacorte Press | Hardcover, 309 pages
“When Ben and Lala meet, a passion is ignited.”
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.

My rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

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