cover image Burning


Elana K. Arnold. Delacorte, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-74334-1

In a coming-of-age romance driven by a vivid sense of place, Ben Stanley is preparing to head to college, and he's not the only one leaving. His entire town of Gypsum, Nev., is about to be abandoned with the shuttering of the local mine. Lala White, meanwhile, has traveled to the desert for the Burning Man festival, where her Romani family plans to make money by telling Burners' fortunes. Lala is unhappily betrothed to another gypsy, Romeo; when she meets Ben while telling fortunes, she considers the possibility of a different life. Arnold (Sacred) conveys Ben and Lala's growing attraction through their alternating perspectives; Ben also grapples with feelings of obligation and increasing detachment from his best friends, as well as worry over the welfare of his gay younger brother. In Arnold's effort to affect a gypsy dialect and show cultural difference, Lala's voice can be stilted and formal, yet the stirrings of an unconventional first love and the new freedoms that lie in wait for Lala and Ben provide readers ample reason to keep turning pages. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary. (June)