Sunday, August 4, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Burning by Elana K. Arnold

Welcome to our stop on the BURNING by Elana Arnold blog tour. Brought to you by the lovely ladies of BookNerd Tours; Jean and Amber. I can't thank them enough for grabbing this little beauty and extending to us. And to think I nearly passed it up. What a fatal mistake that would have been.
Suffice to say, I cannot tell you how proud I am that we're able to present to you, our readers, such a phenomenal piece of literature in BURNING. To call it simply another YA Contemporary is like calling Michelangelo simply a painter. This book is truly a work of art. A masterpiece. Think I'm exaggerating? Check it out here for yourself. You'll be singing it's praises as well, as sure as the sun will rise.
Enough of my boasting for now. I have a full review ahead for you after all...
Enjoy the post. And please try to drop by each stop along the tour. As always, the ladies have planned an event full of fun, excitement and prizes.

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. 

ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she was lucky enough to have her own horse--a gorgeous mare named Rainbow--and a family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Long Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is represented by Rubin Pfeffer of the East/West Literary Agency. Sacred is her debut novel.


Devastatingly beautiful. Not a term I've used a lot to describe a book, but BURNING was a painfully beautiful and poignant story. I was completely lost in these characters... With Ben, a typical boy in so many ways, trying to hold onto his childhood, his memories in a small town destined to disappear. His feelings of guilt for finding a way out, but without his family and friends. His troubled relationship with his quirky little brother. Wanting to make a life for himself, but burdened with worry and fear, not wanting to leave those important behind... In Lala's way of life. Her world not far from mine- an hour away, if you were actually able to drive there. And culturally a lifetime apart. Yet she touched me so deeply. Her compassion, her wisdom for one so young, her eloquence, her ability to dream. Both bound by loyalty to family and friends, and expectations. Both them wrought with fear, regret, and desperation. Both uncertain of their future, but brought together in an overwhelming need to know the other. To explore the unknown, to hope and dare to dream for a happy future. Yes, fate had everything to do with their meeting.
BURNING is a perfect coming of age story that doesn't waste time on outrageous antics or scenes meant for shock value. It tells a very real, emotional tale of growing up and moving on. That means something very different to everyone, and Elana does a wonderful job drawing the differences between what Ben and Lala are searching for.
This is probably the shortest review I've ever written. If I say much more, I'll say too much so I'll just continue by telling you how this book made me feel.
For what Elana has given us is a story you must experience all on your own. Never before have I  walked away feeling I knew characters so intimately. While each chapter is scribed in alternating POV's, beginning with Ben, the writing is wonderfully lyrical and yet so profoundly clear. I found myself fully invested in these two very quickly. Both speaking so passionately and honestly. Each having to endure their own brand of pain and suffering. At times it was torture. My heartbreaking. And swelling. My mind exploding. My moods were swinging with each emotional reflection, every event, and personal discovery. I felt the full range of emotions from sadness to elation, anger and disgust, to anxiety and admiration. And LOVE. I laughed, cheered, sneered, mourned, and dreamed right along them. And I cried. UGLY cried. On more than one occasion. I was agitated when I had close the book and step back into my life. I didn't want to leave them for one moment until the very end. And when I returned to their world I felt content. What Ben and Lala experience is magical and life affirming. It was perfection and yet it ended to soon. BURNED is absolutely exquisite from the first words to the last. And by far my favorite book of the year.

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