Burning

 
0.0
 
5.0 (1)
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Burning
Age Range
16+
Release Date
June 11, 2013
ISBN
978-0385743341
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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.

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Overall rating 
 
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Plot 
 
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Many Ways to Burn
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Burning is about story of Ben, a boy from Gypsum, Nevada and Lala, a gypsy girl. Defining traits for both of them, they come together at a time when they reflect what what exactly it means and what choosing your own path can mean.

As a coming-of-age story, I adored it. Both Ben and Lala are at turning points in their lives. Ben didn't want to be stuck in the small town of Gypsum, but now that the town is shutting down he must come to terms with moving on being more than just him leaving--everyone is going and his hometown is no more. Still, the fact that he has a chance at a different future than the life everyone around him has leaves him with mixed emotions. As with Lala, she too is examining what it means to follow the path her culture and family have chosen for her--and whether it is what she wants.

The backgrounds of both Ben and Lala are done in such a way that you can see all sides. You understand why Ben has always wanted to go, yet why Gypsum shutting down has such an effect on him. Lala's gypsy background isn't as black and white as it could have been, but explored and you sense the conflict and affection Lala has for her upbringing and what it means for her future.

All of this set against Burning Man. While not the focus, what it means culturally and to each character is explored. The self-discovery and escape of the festival works as a parallel o the transitions of both Ben and Lala, as well as what it means to connect with others. Elana K. Arnold does a great job with the layers to the story, weaving each concept together as well as referencing other coming-of-age literature, fairy tales and poetry, bringing it all together beautifully. On top of that, there is a sensuality to the writing (especially in Lala's parts) and lyrical quality that made the emotion and passion so present, really drawing me in. I highly recommend this book!
Good Points
- Beautiful writing style. Very sensual and lyrical.

- The layers and references.
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