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BREATHLESS by Lurlene McDaniel


by Lurlene McDaniel

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: May 12th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-385-73459-2
Publisher: Delacorte

The prolific author’s latest novel features her signature pull at teen readers’ hearts. In the slim volume, four distinct voices describe Travis Morrison’s terrible health situation. Travis is a champion high-school diver until his femur snaps while cliff diving at a rural Alabama lake. It’s bone cancer. In alternating chapters, the fragile emotions of his best friend Cooper, his girlfriend Darla and little sister Emily come forth. Travis’s health deteriorates after his leg is amputated and he bounces between chemo treatments and false remission over the next year and a half. But there are other story lines. Cooper’s mother is an alcoholic prostitute, Darla is labeled the school slut and Emily is the kid sister in love with her brother’s friend. The pages drip with angst as Travis’s health fades to a point where he pressures the other teenagers to help him commit suicide. Melodramatic scenes, stock characters and stiff phrasing blemish this work. Despite—or perhaps because of—these formula-wrought flaws, McDaniel’s fans, who seemingly read with tissues in hand, will snatch it off the shelves. (Fiction. YA)