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  • Angels in Pink: Raina's Story
  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
  • Format: Paperback | ISBN: 9780440238669
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  • Angels in Pink: Raina's Story
  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307513083
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Angels in Pink: Raina's Story

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Written by Lurlene McDanielAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Lurlene McDaniel


List Price: $6.99


On Sale: January 21, 2009
Pages: 208 | ISBN: 978-0-307-51308-3
Published by : Laurel Leaf RH Childrens Books
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Raina is happy and relieved that her friends Kathleen and Holly found volunteering at the hospital rewarding. They loved their summers at the hospital so much they will be working for credit during their junior year.

Raina is also looking forward to spending as much time as possible with Hunter during their last year of high school together. Kathleen is still dating Carson, but they are at different schools and she’s worried it won’t last. And poor Holly’s still waiting for her parents to let up on their rules so she can actually go out on a date.

Everything is going well until Raina’s old boyfriend Tony shows up and threatens to ruin the thing that matters to Raina the most—her relationship with Hunter. But she isn’t the only one with a secret. When Raina’s mother reveals her family secret, Raina feels betrayed. Luckily she has Holly and Kathleen to lean on.

From the Hardcover edition.



"Is everything all right?" Raina St. James asked as soon as Kathleen McKensie had climbed into the car and shut the door.

"Sure," Kathleen said halfheartedly, turning her head so that Raina couldn't see her eyes filling with moisture. "Everything's fine. It's hard coming here, that's all." She had just toured the inside of her home while her friends waited for her in the car. She'd gone from room to room checking everything out, as she had every day for the past few weeks. Nothing was disturbed. Everything looked orderly and, except for some dust buildup, seemed the same as when she had been living there.

From the backseat, Holly Harrison reached out and patted Kathleen's shoulder. "Your mom won't be in the hospital forever. Didn't you say Dr. Kiefer was thinking of transferring her to the rehab center this week?"

Kathleen nodded, still gazing longingly out the car window at the front of her home. "It's just that I can't remember one time that my mom wasn't around for a first day of school. Ever since kindergarten."

"Well, we're here for you now, girlfriend," Raina said, backing her car out of the driveway.

"And . . . and I appreciate it," Kathleen said, finding a tissue and dabbing her eyes. She knew that Raina could have gone to school that morning with her boyfriend, Hunter, Holly's brother, but Raina had elected instead to face day one of their junior year with her best friends. Twisting in her seat, Kathleen told Holly, "And I know your mom tried hard to make the day special for us. It was nice of her to make waffles for breakfast because she knows I like them."

For the past several weeks, while her mother recovered from heart surgery, Kathleen had lived with Holly and her family. Because her father had died tragically years before, she and Mary Ellen had only each other. It had been fun being a part of Holly's family, but Kathleen was ready to go home. Only, her mother had weeks of rehabilitation to go through first, and Kathleen had to remain at Holly's.

"Mom lives to force-feed her family," Holly said, bulging her cheeks out in an exaggerated imitation of overeating. "I could have done just fine with cereal. The first day of school always makes me nervous, and when I'm nervous, I get sick to my stomach."

"Not in my car," Raina said, glancing in the rearview mirror at Holly. "Day one makes me excited," she added. "According to my schedule sheet, I can meet Hunter between three classes."

"Whoopee," Holly said without enthusiasm. "We get to meet him coming out of the bathroom every morning. Not a pretty sight."

This made Kathleen smile. "It's not that bad, Raina."

"And don't think I'm not jealous about it either." Raina was crazy about Hunter, now a senior at their high school, and she couldn't imagine facing the next year without him when he went off to college. "Speaking of boyfriends, what do you hear from Carson? I guess today's his first day too."

"He called last night," Kathleen said. "To wish me luck." Since Carson Kiefer attended the prestigious Bryce Academy on the other side of Tampa, she didn't expect to see him often. She figured it was only a matter of time before he forgot about her completely. Wasn't that what the nasty-tempered Stephanie Marlow had predicted to Kathleen at the end-of-the-year banquet for the Pink Angels hospital volunteers just a couple of weeks before?

The words buzzed in her memory. "Don't think that just because he's fooled around with you all summer, I'm out of the picture. This has happened before, you know. He finds some new little plaything for a few months and keeps himself busy. But he always comes back to me."

"Why don't you invite him to our first football game next Friday night? You can double with me and Hunter." Raina's voice pulled Kathleen into the present.
"Maybe I will. He told me he likes the two of you."

"Hey!" Holly interjected from the backseat. "What about me? Who will I go to the game with if you all double?"

"Is there anyone you could ask? We could make it a triple date," Raina said.

"As if my father will allow me to date anyone. I'll be an old dried-up prune before Dad ever lets go." Holly rolled her eyes. Mike Harrison was known for his strictness, especially when it came to Holly. Since she was the youngest of her friends and wouldn't be sixteen until mid-May, she knew she was facing another dateless year. "Is it going to be like this all year?" she groused. "You two running off on dates and me sitting home all alone?"

"We still have our volunteer jobs at the hospital," Raina offered. "We'll be together then."

"And don't think I'm not glad about it, but that's only two afternoons a week."

"And on Saturdays, if you want. I know I'm going to volunteer most Saturdays," Raina said. Hunter worked on Saturdays at a fast-food place, so she'd already decided to volunteer at the hospital while he was busy, because it allowed her to miss him less. "What do you say?"

"Count me in," Holly said, still unhappy about her solo status. "Anything's better than hanging around the house being bored and getting into my parents' way."

"I don't think I can commit," Kathleen said. "At least not until Mom's home and I see what her needs are going to be." Even before Carson's father had performed heart surgery on Mary Ellen, Kathleen had hesitated to be away from her mother too long. Because Mary Ellen was a victim of multiple sclerosis and Kathleen was her primary caregiver, much of her mother's care fell on Kathleen's shoulders.

"Well, don't let her tie you down too much," Raina said in a lecturing tone. "You're just now getting a real life."

"Raina . . ." Kathleen's voice held a warning note.

"Just a caution," Raina added quickly. By now they were in front of the high school, and she whipped the car into the student parking lot, which was already filling with returning students' vehicles. "I have to go to the office and get a parking permit for this school year," she announced.
Lurlene McDaniel

About Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel - Angels in Pink: Raina's Story

Photo © Meghan Green and Jon Lancaster

“I write the kind of books I write because I want to help kids understand that nobody gets to pick what life dishes out to them. What you do get to choose is how you respond to what life gives you. No matter what happens, life is a gift. And always worth living.”—Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel is a recipient of the RITA Award and several of her works have received the IRA–CBC Children’s Choice Award.


Everyone loves a good cry, and no one delivers heartwrenching stories better than Lurlene McDaniel.

But there’s more to her books than that. McDaniel has written over 40 novels about kids who face life-threatening illnesses, who sometimes do not survive. These are powerful, inspirational stories about courage, love, and strength in the face of overwhelming trauma. McDaniel’s books touch the hearts and spirits of the teenagers and adults who read them. Her following is a devoted group of appreciative fans. McDaniel says: “These are books that challenge you and make you think.”

Some readers—and their parents—have wondered why McDaniel chooses to write about sad situations. “I tell them that sometimes tragedy hits people—kids, too. They want answers. They want to know ‘why.’ By using novels, I show ordinary kids confronting and overcoming great odds.” McDaniel’s books are ultimately optimistic and life-affirming. 

McDaniel began writing about young adults when her son Sean was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 3. His illness changed the lives of everyone in her family forever. “I saw what life was like for someone who was chronically ill, and I experienced how it affected the dynamics of the family,” says McDaniel. She says she found that writing about the trauma and its effects was therapeutic.

To make certain that her books are medically accurate, McDaniel conducts extensive research. She interviews health care professionals and works with appropriate medical groups and hospice organizations, as well as the Tennessee Organ Donor Services. “I study medicine and traditional grief therapy techniques to give the novels a sense of serious medical reality,” she says. “I also study the Bible to instill the human element—the values and ethics often overlooked by the coldness of technology.”

Growing up, McDaniel lived in different parts of the country because her father was in the Navy. Eventually her family settled in Florida. She attended the University of South Florida in Tampa, where she earned a B.A. in English. She now lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In addition to her popular YA novels, McDaniel has written radio and television scripts, promotional and advertising copy, and a magazine column. She is a frequent speaker at schools, writers’ conferences, and conventions.

McDaniel’s books have been named to several bestseller lists, including Publishers Weekly. Three of her novels were
selected by children as IRA–CBC Children’s Choices: Somewhere Between Life and Death, Too Young to Die, and Goodbye Doesn’t Mean Forever. Six Months to Live has been placed in a literary time capsule at the Library of Congress, to be opened in the year 2089.

The One Last Wish books focus on the interconnected stories of the residents and counselors of Jenny House—a group home for critically and terminally ill young girls. Through the kindness of a secret benefactor, each girl receives a cashier’s check for $100,000, to be used to make her last wish come true. Every One Last Wish novel is a compassionate story of triumph and inspiration that makes McDaniel’s dedicated fans come back for more.

McDaniel’s works include To Live Again, one of the Dawn Rochelle books; Angel of Mercy, the companion to Angel of Hope; and How Do I Love Thee, three stories about young couples who are inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beautiful sonnet. In her novel, Telling Christina Goodbye, McDaniel shows that everything can change in the blink of an eye.


“An interesting blend of romance, mystery, and problem novel. The characters are captivating and sensitively drawn and the plot is fast paced.”—School Library Journal

“Touching scenes abound in this crisis novel. . . . Fans of tear-jerker teen romances will enjoy this offering.”—Booklist

“A satisfying story for those who like to take their romance with tears and gutsy characters who know what it means to live beyond the pale of ‘normal.’ ”—School Library Journal

“Readers of McDaniel will enjoy; it’s good to read positive stories about teens.”—VOYA

“McDaniel has a way of getting you to look at the complicated emotions experienced by YAs with major medical problems. . . . Another winner in her One Last Wish series.”—KLIATT

“[The stories] are absorbing, the characters are well developed, and the author does not resolve the girls’ dilemmas with pat solutions. . . . This has solid YA appeal.”—School Library Journal

“These companion novels . . . cast the events of high school into a meaningful perspective and allow for convincing character development. McDaniel’s writing is light and well suited to this refreshing and involving story.”—Publishers Weekly

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