Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review of Prey by Lurlene McDaniel

Name of book: Prey

Author Name: Lurlene McDaniel

ISBN: 978-0-385-73453-0

Publisher: Delacourte Press

Type of book: Adult, contemporary

Year it was published: 2008

Summary:

Ryan Piccoli is a good-looking high school freshman-smart, a class cutup, but also a loner. His father travels; his mother is out of his life. He spends his free time with friends, including his gal pal Honey, hanging out at school and getting by. Then new teacher Lori Settles walks into his history class. She's beautiful, the talk of the school, considered hot and sexy, and she takes a special interest in Ryan. One day after school, Lori Settles surprises Ryan with a request, and he's flattered and eager to help. He's attracted to her, but she's his teacher and more than twice his age. As Ryan and Lori grow closer, Ryan's friends see changes in him. He's secretive. He keeps more and more to himself. Honey can tell something is wrong. Even his busy father senses changes. Ryan is torn between the excitement of his secret relationship with Lori and the relative quiet of his former life. When Lori begins to make demands, Ryan feels overwhelmed. But the thought of not having her is almost unbearable. And as events spiral out of control, Ryan and Lori must deal with the consequences of hte choices they have made, choices that change the course of both their lives forever.

Characters:

To be honest the characters sounded a little too alike, and I really wished that there would have been more thoughts of Stiletto Settles in the book. I feel that Honey served no purpose in the book beyond the obvious onlooker, and even in 2008, with teenagers already knowing about sex and whatnot, its hard to believe that she is traumatized by certain emails, unless she's religious, but I didn't see that in the text at all. Ryan, to be honest, isn't a very in-depth character, and his anger at the end of the book sounds as if the doctors and whatnot have hit a little too close to home. Instead of Honey and Ryan, there should have been more Lori, and more about her background beyond the few words that Lurlene McDaniel revealed at the very end. Why he chose to have an affair with a woman more than half his age still remains a mystery.

Theme:

Although the relationship between Ryan and Lori is best described as squeamish, the portrayal of it is interesting to say the least. Just like in a normal relationship at first its roses and fireworks, then comes the hard part where different things are starting to interfere with it such as people, community, laws, etc. and during that time Lori exhibits emotions and the fact that she is beginning to cling on to Ryan, which seems like a normal grownup response. In truth though, how are the relationships between teenagers and adults different? That is what is common in a teenage relationship that isn't there in an adult one? That is one question the author doesn't address. The ending is an interesting one, and I won't say much about it because I don't want to spoil it.

Plot:

I kind of wish that the author would have added more depth to the characters and perhaps more thoroughly explored the characters. I also feel that the seduction happened a little too quickly, and I would have liked to see more character buildup. But in truth it happened quickly with little build up. I also would have liked there to be what happened during the separation time and as mentioned again, I would have liked to see and understand more of Lori's thoughts.

Author Information:

Lurlene McDaniel began writing inspirational novels about teenagers facing life-altering situations when her son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. "I saw firsthand how chronic illness affects every aspect of a person's life," she has said. "I want kids to know that while people don't get to choose what life gives to them, they do get to choose how they respond." Lurlene McDaniel's novels are hard hitting and realistic, but also leave readers with inspiration and hope. Her books have received acclaim from readers, teachers, parents, and reviewers. Her novels Don't Die, My Love; I'll be Seeing You; and 'Till Death DO us Part have all been national bestsellers. Lurlene McDaniel lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (From inside flap)

Opinion:

I was first introduced to Lurlene McDaniel as a teenager at a middle school. To this day I had no idea why or how I picked up one of her books and got introduced to teens and cancer. (The first book I read by her involved a teenager, Lacy, I think, who went through anorexia or something like that.) As such, when I found out about this novel, I became curious about it. I wanted to read it for several years, but it wasn't until now that I got my hands on it and read it. For me it was a quick read. (I finished reading it in one day!) but just because I finished reading it in one day, it doesn't mean that the story is good or a masterpiece. (There are books like that though.) I don't think she did a good job with this book, although I admit it was intriguing and interesting, and a tad bit creepy. To me though, the first person narrative voices sounded a little too similar to one another, I also wonder about the purpose of Honey in the book, and why only three characters and not more. (Would have been cool if she could have added Ryan's father as another voice.)

3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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