Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Lurlene McDaniel Books (Soooooo Many)

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Author Lurlene McDaniel has written so many books, I’ve lost count. She’s one of those authors whose works you can only quantify as “over (however many) books.” Her official biography says over 40, to which I say, well over 40. I haven’t read her recent releases, but I think I pretty much exhausted her backlist back when I was in middle school. One thing that always struck me when reading her novels was how strong her characters were, or became throughout the (usually heartbreaking) course of the book. It was her work that made me look at medicine as a possible career path, and it was her work that kept me reading compulsively after I outgrew BSC.

Here’s a brief overview of my favorites (not reviews because I pretty much would say the same thing: very sad, but somehow inspirational!):

Don't Die, My Love
Julie Ellis and Luke Muldenhower have always been school sweethearts. Now both are in high school and deeply in love. Luke, a talented football player, is almost certain to receive an athletic scholarship to a top college. And no matter what her parents say, wherever Luke goes, Julie intends to follow. When Luke can't shake what he thinks is a virus, Julie persuades him to see a doctor. Luke's test results are alarming, but Julie believes their love is stronger than anything. Can love survive, now and forever?

The One Last Wish series
(11 books - view them all here)
The One Last Wish books focus on the interconnected stories of the residents and counselors of Jenny House—a group home for critically and terminally ill young girls. Through the kindness of a secret benefactor, each girl receives a cashier’s check for $100,000, to be used to make her last wish come true. Every One Last Wish novel is a compassionate story of triumph and inspiration that makes McDaniel’s dedicated fans come back for more.

The Angels Trilogy
(Angels Watching Over Me, Lifted Up By Angels, and Until Angels Close My Eyes)
Leah is not happy about being stuck in the hospital for the holidays while her mother is thousands of miles away on a honeymoon with husband number five. Until she meets her hospital roommate, Rebekah, and her big family. Cynical 16-year-old Leah has never known people like this before. From Rebekah’s handsome brother, Ethan, who can barely look Leah in the eye, to her kind older sister, Charity, the Amish family captivates Leah with its simple, loving ways. When Leah receives frightening information about her condition, her new friends show her that miracles can happen. And that sometimes angels appear in the most unexpected places.

Always & Forever
(Two Books: Too Young To Die [my favorite Lurlene Book ever] and Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever)
16-year-old Melissa Austin has always worked hard to get what she wants. As the school year begins, her work is paying off: Her grades are up and she’s landed a coveted spot on the Brain Bowl team. She and her best friend, Jory Delaney, are determined to have the best junior year ever.Then Melissa receives devastating news about her health. At first she refuses to accept the doctor’s diagnosis, but as her illness gets worse, she cannot deny the truth. Only with the loving support of her family, and especially Jory, can Melissa come to terms with the mysteries of living . . . and dying.

As Long As We Both Shall Live
(Two Books: Till Death Do Us Part and For Better, For Worse, Forever)
A change is coming, April Lancaster’s fortune cookie reads. Be prepared. But how could she be prepared for the news that she has an inoperable brain tumor? April’s life will never be the same. Then she meets handsome Mark Gianni. Mark has cystic fibrosis, but he also has a passion for life . . . and for April. When he asks April to marry him, she’s happier than she’s ever been.

April thought she and Mark would be together forever. But since Mark’s death, April has never felt more alone. Then Brandon Benedict comes into her life. Brandon is lonely and angry—he and April have a lot in common. But April cannot tell Brandon about her illness. When April’s medical problems suddenly return, she must decide what to tell Brandon. Can the love she’s felt before help her now?

The Time Capsule
In first grade, twins Alexis and Adam wrote down what they wanted to be when they grew up and put it in their teacher’s time capsule. Now entering their senior year in high school, they are surprised to find out what they wrote: Alexis wanted to “help people” and Adam wanted to be a fireman. But that was before Adam got sick and their family fell apart. Adam’s leukemia is now in remission but, sadly, so is the twins’ family. Their mother and father are always working—not only don’t they have time for Alexis and Adam, they don’t have time for each other. Alexis can’t even convince them to take a weekend off for one last family vacation to Disney World.

No one is prepared when Adam gets sick again, but this time Alexis is not alone. Adam’s illness reunites the family. And Alexis discovers that the time capsule predictions weren’t so far off the mark.

Girl Week is a week-long event here on the blog celebrating strong YA heroines and feminism. Find out more about it here.

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Anonymous said...

I've lost count of how many books I read of hers too. haha. I absolutely loved The Angels Trilogy. =)

jocelyn said...

I've never read any of her books. I always assumed (perhaps wrongfully) that they were of the category "too many to count, too many to actually be quality books." Especially because they all seemed to have the same plot.

Perhaps I'll have to change that and read one. Which is best?

Steph said...

I loved Too Young To Die back when I was in seventh grade. Haven't reread it since, but I have fond memories :) You might like. Also you should try One Last Wish. Read them in order though - the one pictured above is the 7th (THE LEGACY: MAKING WISHES COME TRUE) but it's a prequel. It has a lot more impact if you read them in their proper sequence.

Steph said...

In the order they were released, I mean. You need to see what Jenny did before reading her story. :)

Shalonda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shalonda said...

I am really messing up tonight. Let me try this again.

One of my favorites is When Happily Ever After Ends. It has been a while since I read it. This one deals with a father's suicide and is one of the saddest Lurlene McDaniel books. However, it is worth the tears because it truly captures your heart.

Steph said...

Shalonda - really? Didn't like that one so much. Then again, I'm a cancer-girl. Thus why I want to do oncology. (This sounds so morbid...)

Unknown said...

I love Lurlene books! I agree, they really have to be read in their proper sequence (especially the One Last Wish series). I read Reach for Tomorrow (the last one) before many others, so there were a lot of spoilers I would have rather not known.

Shalonda said...

Steph, that's so funny! When I was typing that in, I was think Steph probably didn't like that one too much. Let me redeem myself, I did also like Too Young to Die and there was another one about 3 young girls at camp (I think Please Don't Die) that I really liked.

Your statement didn't sound that morbid. I understood what you meant. Oncology is cool and it's a field where good people are needed. Your honesty will also help you excel in that area.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Out of all of those, I've only read The Timpe Capsule. I really enjoyed it. I'd had it for awhile, but didn't get too far b/c I was going through one of those times where I hardly read...and then i go back and read that book and I started reading a ton after that!
I love the cover with all the little kid photos!


Amee said...

I really need to get reading on my Lurlene books! I need to find the Angels trilogy as well. I'm a sucker for the Amish. :P

Khy said...

I'm very glad to hear that Don't Die, My Love is good because I grabbed that one randomly of the shelf at B&N last week and bought it.

Anonymous said...

Can you believe that her books had me addicted! I would make my dad take me to the bookstore to buy one and I'd have it finished by the next day or two and begged to go and get another one. lol. I learned to pick up more than one. She's a great author!

ellie_enchanted said...

I've actually never heard of any of the books, or the author, which is kind of weird for me.

Maybe I'll pick one up if I get the chance, though the plot-lines do all sound kind of similar.

Steph said...

Ellie - believe me, if you were anything like I was in regards to these, after you read a couple, you won't be able to get enough. Steer clear of the dance/ballet titles, though, I never really liked them. Which would be why none are spotlighted here.

Kathleen said...

I read Time Capsule and liked it a lot. I have Baby Alicia is Dying on my TBR list.

Sarah Woodard said...

I love her books.

Carolina said...

I haven't read any of these books. I have read some of her other books but not these. But I will check them out. :)

Anonymous said...

love her books, so addicting

Anonymous said...

I have read quite a few of her books, and I think that The Time Capsule is my favorite. The part about graduation makes me cry so hard.

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