and speaking of death

I just picked up the book “shelf discovery” which basically features summaries of loads of YA books. There’s some Lois Duncan in there, although not my favorite (that would be Gallows Hill) and a surprising number of books I’ve never read. There’s also no Babysitter’s Club, which is just sad. On the other hand, there is “A Ring of Endless Light” which was one of my ultimate favorites. The author also informs us that for L’Engle fans, one is either a Vicky, a Poly, or a Meg. No one, she says, is a Camilla.In that case I’d probably have to be Vicky. Although there’s some Meg in there. But I always did love Camilla….

Anyway. Also not in this anthology: Lurlene McDaniel books. And just the other day I was thinking about them, too.

Lurlene McDaniel, for those of you who are lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the author, are basically this books in which teenagers die. Well, there’s a bit more to it then that, but I think you can sum up her oeuvre thusly:

1. Teenager is diagnosed with some dread disease, most often cancer but also including, off the top of my head, kidney failure, brain aneurysm (that guy just died, I think).

2. Teenager who is dying falls in love with some other teenager.

3. They all learn Big Life Lessons by watching someone their own age die. Also, in one book, the boyfriend gives his girlfriend a kidney.

Then there’s the matter of titles:

I feel like that should give you a good idea of what exactly this woman is about.

I devoured this books as  a kid. DEVOURED. I read them nonstop. I liked the romance. I liked that even though teenagers might die that at least had a chance to learn Big Life Lessons. Read: corny fucking lessons, oh my lord.

The fact that these books have been so incredible popular makes perfect sense to me, because their level of drama is so exactly the level of drama inside your average tweensters head. Death and sex, what else do teenagers want to read about?


One response

  1. Gracie Goes!

    I.loved.her. When I was in 5th grade I started reading her books and I fell in love with them. It’s led me to a whole problematic chapter in my life though. Now that I’m older and need books that are larger to sustain my reading capabilities who can take her place? I was so addicted to her books and she could produce them faster than I could read them. There’s no author out there at this point in time that has done the same thing for me yet.

    August 30, 2010 at 11:36 pm

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