Goodreads Summary: 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.The simplistic yet gorgeous cover caught my attention...and as soon as I read the summary of this novel I just KNEW that I had to get my hands on it. I've always been crazy fascinated by gypsies [Got some interesting recommendations?] since I was a kid, even going so far as wishing I was one...and writing a few stories about them. And I have two Tarot decks of my own which made Lala doubly interesting as a character. Then throw in the fact that Ben was on his way out, I always have thought more books need to be written about that terribly awkward/anxious/miserable summer before college, and it was a sealed deal.
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.
I absolutely LOVED the way that the readings [Tarot] were given in the novel. They were so detailed and I could just really relate to Lala as she went through the motions of explaining them to those around her. And it was just plain fascinating! There's so much history behind the decks themselves, each individual one and how the special ones are passed down [though to be honest we don't see much of this] and the history behind all of the suits and their meanings which I hadn't known prior...at least not in such detail. Very well done!
Also, the way that it handles relationships [family, friends, and romantic] felt extremely realistic. There was none of the romanticism [or at least not heavy, cringe-worthy doses] in this novel. There were genuine issues, and the people were real. No one was perfect, no one liked everyone all the time [in the family/friend relationships]. You could see that a lot of work had gone in to persevering those relationships and how that was ongoing and how hard it was to leave those behind when the time did come for Ben to leave. You could see the strain in Lala's family too as she struggled to find her way and make peace with her family and who she was. The people in this novel just felt real. And I loved Ben's mother.
Overall I really liked Burning, I thought it was one of those perfect summer reads...especially for those of us who are going away at the end of the summer, or who have some major life change coming that is stirring things up. Its the book for all of us and more. Its a story of individuals, of relationships, of making peace and finding your freedom. And it is a great read.