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 book is different. It is contemporary but there is also something magical brought by the gypsy folklore. I am not familiar with the lifestyles of gypsies so I found this introduction into their world so fascinating. There is so much I didn’t know and there is always a great explanation as to why they believe what they believe. The gypsies are incredibly fascinating and add such great depth to a simple story. On the surface Burning is a story about a boy and girl from different backgrounds who fall for each other but the things preventing them from being together are completely unique and new. Layla is looking for freedom and she doesn’t even realize it. Ben is searching for someone to take care of now that he will no longer have someone now that he is headed to college. Both know they are missing something in their lives and believe that the other will be the answer.
The writing is beautiful. There is balance between the two characters stories because it is duel POV. The great part of this duel POV is each felt like it was written different to portray different emotions and feelings each was having. Layla was a bit more whimsical whereas Ben’s POV was written in a more typical sense. These contrasting characters worked great in the duel POV and I would love to see more written this way.
So there was a bit of instalove going on in this book. I am usually OK with instalove in YA because of how easy it is to “fall in love” when you are a teenager. Layla and Ben’s instant attraction was merely physical at first and then later they fall deeper into each other based on their actions with others. I found there was very little conversation that happened between them and it usually only came at a time when depictions needed to be made. I would have liked to see more conversation between them because they are both great characters and both had plenty of conversations with other people.
Overall this was an enjoyable and unique contemporary read. The gypsies brought in a complete different story that was interesting to read. This is great if you are looking for an easy summer read that is different that he rest