Friday, July 11, 2008

PREY by Lurlene McDaniel

Author Lurlene McDaniel explains that she didn't really set out to write this book, but given the increasing number of media stories about teacher/student affairs, the book seemed to write itself.

Lori Settles is the new history teacher, and Ryan Piccoli finds himself in her class. She has the attention of all the males in the classroom with her tight outfits and stiletto heels. The difference with Ryan is that she has his attention, and he has hers as well. Their lives are on a collision course the day Ryan enters her classroom.

With his father out of town all week on business and his mother gone from his life since he was just two years old, it doesn't take long for Ryan to become involved with Ms. Settles. He is not in any sports or after-school activities, and at first his friends don't seem to notice that he is not the "involved" friend that he used to be. His meetings with Lori go from the coffeeshop to the bedroom in record time. She introduces him to another world where he gets all the attention he is missing at home.

As in so many of these situations, Ryan soon realizes that his life is spinning out of control. She is demanding more of his time, and his friends are beginning to suspect something weird is going on. Long-time best friend, Honey Fowler asks the most questions, making Ryan pretty nervous about the whole situation.

Veteran YA author Lurlene McDaniel takes on a controversial subject and handles it well. She doesn't pull any punches with the delicate details of the affair, so this is definitely a book for the older end of the teen spectrum. However, mature teens who read PREY will see an honest portrayal of how making the wrong decisions can create a ripple-effect that encompasses way more territory than anyone ever suspects.

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