Friday, July 19, 2013

I was Burning for this novel to be better than it actually was.....

Book:  Burning
Author:  Elana K. Arnold
Publisher:  Delacorte
Date:  Available now
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss
My grade:  C-?  Or could I give it back for some revisions?

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.

Initial reaction
I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

Cover story
This cover is absolutely GORGEOUS!  I loved it!  It grabbed my attention and made me want to read this book and love it.  I just hate that I didn’t. ::sighs::

What’s the Story?
I’m not even sure how to go about reviewing this book.  There were parts that I loved, parts that I hated and parts that had potential but fell through.  Maybe I’ll just make 3 lists!  So here goes:

What I liked
  1. I liked Ben.  A lot.  He was a great guy.
  2. I liked the premise of the story. 
  3. I liked the introduction to gypsy culture.
  4. I liked it that Lala was a strong female protagonist.

What I hated
  1. I hated the ending.  Seriously.   It was a cop-out.
  2. I hated the way Lala’s voice was written.  It felt like she was a foreigner, but she was born and raised in the U.S., so I don’t think she would be so awkward with English.
  3. I really didn’t like Lala very much either.  She was a hard character to love in spite of her difficult circumstances.

What needed more work
  1. Even though Lala was a “strong female”, she sort of came across as mean and unfeeling, so it was hard to sympathize with her.
  2. I don’t like the way she treated the boys in the town.  It felt like she just used them.
  3. The damn ending!  Would it hurt to give me an epilogue with a glimpse into her future????
  4. Not sure what the gay brother story line was all about.  It felt like it was thrown in as an after thought.  There was no real development of that story line.

In my humble opinion, this is a book that had a lot of potential, but it just fell through.  The story felt disjointed, rushed and poorly executed.  I ending up not liking Lala very much when I think I was supposed to really feel sorry for her and eventually cheer for her.  Instead, I sort of wanted to smack her.

The Soundtrack

Gypsy by Fleetwood Mac

Gypsy by Suzanne Vega

Featherstone by The Paper Kites

This Used to Be My Playground by Madonna

Graduation (Friends Forever) by Vitamin C

The Final Grade
::sighs::  I really wanted to love this novel, but in the end, it just didn’t work for me.  It wasn’t terrible, but I just couldn’t connect with Lala and I closed the book wondering what the point of it was.  My final grade is a C-.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.  I received no compensation, financial or otherwise, for this review.

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