What is the toughest request anyone can be asked to fulfill?
Most people who know me personally can quote my favorite author. Some who don’t know me as well, will quote a favorite, but not my favorite. My favorite author has always been Lurlene McDaniel. When I was a pre-teen, struggling through middle school, I discovered her books and got lost for hours at a time reading and re-reading them. I loved them because they could be read in a couple of swallows. I loved them because I couldn’t put them down, because each page begged me to continue turning to the next. And I loved them because they were real. Real situations that I knew were happening to people. She didn’t sugar coat anything, but you always completed the book with a satisfaction, a lesson and knowledge you didn’t have before.
The best part about Lurlene McDaniel is that I have been reading and re-reading her books for about 24 years now. That’s a long time to consider someone your favorite. It was Lurlene in fact, who gave me the courage to write what I wanted, and the drive and desire to be an author.
This book review is for her just released novel Breathless. The review itself does contain spoilers.
Author: Lurlene McDaniel
Pages: 176 pages
Genre: Young Adult
Jacket Description: Travis Morrison is a champion diver and one of the most popular kids at school. On the first day of summer vacation, while boating on the lake with his friends, Travis attempts a silly stunt dive that goes wrong. He fears he has broken his leg. Instead, his trip to the hospital reveals he has a rare form of cancer, and to save him, the doctors tell his parents they must amputate. In an instant, Travis’s life and the lives of everyone around him are forever changed. Travis is determined that he and only he should decide the course of his life. He has a plan, but he can’t carry it out alone. Will he convince one of his friends to fulfill his most important request?
Review: Lurlene McDaniel has once again tackled a controversial subject, digging deep into the issues of right or wrong, and of personal choices vs. the quality of life.
I was drawn in by her lovable characters immediately. You couldn’t help but sympathize with his situation. How can anyone imagine living without a limb, and one that plays so importantly in his desire to dive. It was in a sense, the shattering of a dream and the ending of his life, although not physically.
The story begins as Travis, his best friend Cooper, his girl friend Darla and his sister Emily head to the lake on their first day of summer vacation. A tragic incident follows and the story just goes from there. The thing is, its not like a typical story – there is winding and weaving and you get a good look into the lives of the other three main characters who’s home lives aren’t all they should be.
Shortly into the story we learn that Travis has given up. He does not want to continue to live if he cannot truly live. He has been diagnosed with cancer, he lost a limb and now his life appears over in his eyes. The story then turns into a choice to live or die and who has the power to decide when it’s time.
I really do not want to give away the book so what I will say is that it was truly a page turner. I loved every moment of the book, and ever windy turn she took us on. The ending was a complete surprise, and you’re left with your own thoughts to figure out who is talking in the last chapter. I loved that.
The only bad thing I have to say, is that at the end of the book, I was wishing I had known the characters just a little bit better. I was wishing there was a sequel to find out what happens next. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, it means she did her job pulling me deep into the book. However, I felt like I still had some unanswered questions surrounding the other three main characters that unfortunately never be answered.
I give this book 4/5 stars. It was an EXCELLENT read.