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.
From the first page of Burning, I was hooked. Lala is a gypsy girl, who comes with her family to Nevada to tell fortunes to travelers off Highway 447 on their way to a yearly festival. Ben, is leaving in a few days on a University of California, San Diego scholarship. His town, Gypsum, is dying after the collapse of the economy. In his final days, he struggles with mixed feelings of joy of leaving the small town for California and the conflicts of leaving his family behind. That all changes once his friends tell him about the 'hot chick' telling fortunes. Once Lala tells his fortune, their fates change. Or do they?
I totally loved this story. Romantic bittersweet coming of age story that heats up in the shadow of the Burning Man festival. Seems that the fortune Lala gave might not be Ben's alone. Choices are made by not only Ben but Lala. They have to have the courage to make their own fates.
There's a twist of Romeo and Juliet conflict woven through this tale with surprise revelations at the end.
A wide spectrum of emotions are portrayed on how choices could affect both characters. I love how the author doesn't hold back with Lala's questioning of the traditions of her people and wondering if it's wrong to want something more than what is expected of her. Lala seems to have the most to lose if she follows her heart and not the plans her father has for her which include a prearranged marriage. Korkoro is the gypsy word for freedom. Lala needs to be strong enough to follow her own destiny and gain freedom from what other's expect out of her. There's some symbolism behind what she does at the end which gives her strength. I think this will resonate with readers especially how it's okay to question and also scary but how branching out can be rewarding too.
A must read for fans of YA romance.