Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vlog Post with Elana K. Arnold

Photo Content from Elana K. Arnold

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.

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (June 11, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385743343
ISBN-13: 978-0385743341
Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches

Praise for BURNING

"Lyrical and inspirational." ―Kirkus Reviews

"No doubt, a great, unexpected ending." ―School Library Journal Teen


Pete, Hog Boy, and I were spending Monday afternoon screwing around on our skateboards on the shipping dock at the deserted drywall plant. The place was creepy these days, and I could tell from Pete’s stupid jokes and Hog Boy’s extra-loud guffaws that they thought so, too, but none of us was saying it out loud.

It was ridiculously hot, well over a hundred degrees, and the air was so dry and electric that my hair felt like it was standing on end. Every breath I took burned the whole way down, hot and dry and painful. I watched Pete almost land a heelflip but miss, his board instead shooting out across the flat expanse of the concrete shipping dock and banging into a ten-foot stack of drywall sheets.

Hog Boy snorted, “Smooth!” and I caught the unconscious quick hunch of Pete’s shoulders as he jogged over to his board and flipped it up with his foot.

Pete’s board had dented one of the bottom sheets. I am- bled over and examined the stack, kicking at it before kneeling down and pushing my finger into the hole his board had created, scooping out some of the gray-white powder that had been pressed together to make this sheet.

Gypsum. Our town was built on it—built because of the wealth of it in our landscape, and named after it, even: Gyp- sum, Nevada. And it was gypsum, too, that was ending it all, because of our town’s reliance on it.

The housing bubble had burst. That was how the journalists put it, as they observed the rise and fall of the lines on their charts with detached impartiality. Pop. Just like that. No one’s building anymore, not when there are so many perfectly good abandoned, foreclosed homes all across the country.

When no one’s building, no one needs drywall. No dry- wall, no need to mine. No mine—no Gypsum.

So we had the shipping dock to ourselves this afternoon as the sun stared down at us, unblinking. Silver lining, I guess. This was a great place to skate.

“Hey, Ben,” called Hog Boy. “You gonna stand around all day jerking off or are you gonna skate?”

For Hog Boy, everything was about jerking off or getting laid or getting air. Truth was, I didn’t much feel like skating. My family—Mom, Pops, my little brother James—they were home packing boxes. I should have been home helping them. I didn’t feel like doing that, either.

I felt like getting in a fight.

But I took a deep breath like the high school counselor had told me to do and I focused my gaze on my board. The grip tape across its deck was worn and peeling in places. I’ll replace it when I get to San Diego next week, I told myself, then threw the board in front of me and jogged toward it, jumping on and curving just before I crashed into Hog Boy.

He didn’t flinch. He never did. He just grinned that goofy grin of his, and I had to smile back. Hog Boy.

I’d known him and Pete forever—we were all Gypsum to the core. If you cut one of us open the white dust of crushed gypsum rocks would probably pour out instead of blood.

All our dads had worked at the mine—Hog Boy’s dad and my pops had been laid off along with everyone else back in January. Pete’s dad would have been laid off, too, if he hadn’t already been dead.

Hog Boy’s face was an almost cartoonish shade of red. He didn’t tan and he wouldn’t wear sunscreen or a hat, so his skin was turning to leather. A crop of white-blond hair, tightly shorn, capped his head. He wasn’t all that fat, but he was big. Packed solid. Like a well-fed hog.

I carved across the platform of the shipping dock, heading for the three-foot ramp we’d built right after the plant had closed for good back in May. I rolled up the ramp and ollied off the back side, but my heart wasn’t in it.

I felt the sticky press of my T-shirt against my back. Damn, it was hot. On days like this, it was like the sun was literally bearing down on me. I felt like some sort of depraved Atlas holding the weight of the sun on my shoulders instead of the world. I felt myself compressed by the weight of it, by the weight of everything.

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’s Burning is a detailed story about the meeting of two young people during a critical time in their lives. Ben is leaving the town he grew up in for a full scholarship at a college. Lala is a fortune telling gypsy who knows exactly what her future holds. She’s bound to an arranged marriage but questions her gypsy lifestyle from years of reading old books. One summer, the two meet when Ben takes his friends, Pete and Hog Boy, to a fortune telling gypsy. Lala didn’t expect that Ben would open her eyes to something that she cannot overlook.

This coming-of-age story is adorably told through Elana’s amazing writing. The layers she brings to the story are interwoven seamlessly. The dual point-of-views provided a different outlook on the story. Each POV was written differently as Elana was able to capture the essence of two entirely different characters. The history of Ben and Lala are fully explained and when they unfold, readers will appreciate the thoroughness of Elana’s writing.

The culture education within this book is quite immense. It was rather impressive how Elana is able to explain a lot about the gypsy lifestyle. Although there are hard strict rules that are attached to this lifestyle, it shows that rules can be loosened to some degree but can also break the bonds of family.

The pacing of the story is done wonderfully. Lala was given a voice that is completely different from most teen girls. Instead of her emotions taking control of her actions, she was a total thinker. Ben on the other hand is the complete opposite. The contrast between them delivered a poignant story about making life choices for yourself. We often lead a life that we are thought to live but Elana K. Arnold’s Burning endows you to think otherwise and go for what feels right.

You can purchase Burning at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ELANA K. ARNOLD for making this giveaway possible.
3 Winners will receive a Copy of Burning by Elana K. Arnold. 
1 Winner will receive a Surprise ART Poster and Bookmark by James Vallesteros. 


  1. I can't wait to see the art James Vallesteros will create for BURNING!! This is so much fun!!

  2. The tweet is for a different book:
    JumpWhenReady by DavidPandolfe
    @booknerdtours {Copies+iTunes GC}

  3. Thanks for the givewaya and the tweet is wrong for this giveaway, check it out :)