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  • How Do I Love Thee
  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
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  • How Do I Love Thee
  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307531001
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How Do I Love Thee

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


List Price: $5.99


On Sale: January 21, 2009
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-307-53100-1
Published by : Laurel Leaf RH Childrens Books
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Though written more than a century ago, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beautiful sonnet rings true today for three young couples who believe in the power of love.

In “Night Vision,” Brett finds a way to brighten a special girl’s lonely existence. “Bobby’s Girl” features Dana, who must choose between two brothers, both of whom she loves. “Laura’s Heart,” the third story, introduces 16-year-old Laura Carson, who is hospitalized on a regular basis because of her weak heart. But when tragedy strikes a loved one, she realizes her heart is stronger than she thought and that love lives on forever.

From the Hardcover edition.



The girl danced alone in the moonlight. Brett Noland stood behind a tree watching her, mesmerized. His watch dial glowed 1:00 a.m. When he'd left the cabin where his mother lay asleep to walk and think and figure out how he was going to accept all that had happened in the past month, he hadn't expected to see another living soul. Then he'd rounded a curve in the trail and seen a girl with long, dark hair twirling, swirling, spinning in an open field under the light of the bright full moon.

She wore a long ballerina skirt and held a filmy scarf that fluttered behind her like gossamer wings. There was no music that Brett could hear, only the sound of her graceful leaps in the tall grass. He wasn't sure if he should go back the way he came or wait until she left. The last thing he wanted was for her to catch him. It wasn't right to spy on people, but for the moment he felt glued to the ground.

She ran across the field, jumping and turning in the air like a gazelle. She slipped into the shadows of some trees. Brett held his breath, waiting for her to emerge into the field. She did not. He blinked, listened to the sound of the blood rushing in his ears. Where was she? She had seemed to disappear into thin air. Brett exhaled slowly and, feeling shaken, wondered if she had been there in the first place.

Maybe he'd imagined her. He'd felt stressed and hassled lately. So maybe the girl had only been a figment of an overactive imagination. The idea depressed him. On top of everything else, now he might be going nuts.

"Why are you spying on me?"

Her voice came from behind him, startling Brett so badly that he yelped. Whipping around, he saw her standing in the center of the trail, blocking his escape. "I--I wasn't spying," he said, his voice raspy, his heart pounding. "I was walking. I saw you. I didn't mean for you to see me."

"Then you shouldn't wear watches with glow-in-the-dark dials." She gestured to his wrist.

He covered the watch self-consciously, feeling foolish, and turned to face her more fully. "You do this often?" he asked, trying to regain his composure. "Dance under the moon?"

"Are you a reporter?"

"No . . . I'm Brett Noland. Who are you?"

She studied him, tipping her head to one side. Moonlight flecked her hair. "Shayla," she said.

She stepped forward, and he saw that she was tall, almost as tall as he was, which, according to his mother, was shorter than his father had been. When he'd had a father. "I just moved here," Brett blurted out when Shayla brushed past him to return to the open field.

"I didn't think you looked like a regular."

"What do regulars look like?" He followed her, suddenly not wanting to be alone. The girl intrigued him.

"Where are you from?" she asked.

"Key West, Florida."

She stopped. "Did you live near the sea?"

"Key West is almost surrounded by the sea, so yeah, I lived near it."

"Is it beautiful in the sunlight?"

Brett thought it a very odd question but decided to humor her. "Well, yes. But why--"

"Different from the sea up here, isn't it?"

"Everything's different up here, including the sea," he said bitterly. He and his mother had moved to the coastal town of Harden, Massachusetts, two weeks before. She'd taken a new job with a small seafood manufacturing plant, telling Brett it was time for a change, and no amount of begging her not to move had changed her mind. She kept telling him it was a big promotion, more money, a better opportunity. "And we'll be living closer to Boston Children's Hospital than we do to Miami Children's Hospital," she'd added, as if that would justify totally uprooting his life.

Brett hated his new location, a backwater town that squatted between the hills and woods to the west and the craggy shoreline of the ocean to the east. Industry consisted of fisheries that stunk of salt brine and fish processing. One of those fisheries had hired his mother to manage the office and product shipments. In the Keys, the ocean was pale green, warm and spiked with the smells of exotic flowers and tropical breezes. Here the coast was lined with rocks, not soft white sand. It was harsh, wild, unfriendly.

"You don't sound too happy to be here," Shayla said.

"I wanted to stay in Key West. I'll be a senior, and I wanted to finish school with my friends, but Mom took a new job, and I lost out."

"Tough break."

"You live here?"

"All my life."

"So what's school like?"

"I don't go to school."

Her answer caught him off guard. "Are you homeschooled?"


"What's that?"

"I go to school on the Internet. And sometimes a homebound teacher comes over and spends time with me."

He was taken aback. Homebound teachers only came to help sick kids. He knew that for a fact. Shayla looked normal, better than normal. "Do you live around here?"

"Beyond the woods. How about you?"

"Mom's renting a cabin." He motioned behind him, feeling awkward. Shayla wasn't forthcoming with information, and Brett didn't have much experience with girls. He was usually shy around them, perplexed and mystified by their capricious natures.

Shayla held the chiffon scarf across her eyes and peered up at the moon. "Pretty, isn't it?"

"Yes," he said, meaning both the moon and her. Now that he was closer, he saw that she really was pretty. Her hair fell straight and sleek almost to her waist. Her eyes were almond shaped and in the pale light looked like clear glass. He wondered what color they might be. "Did you sneak out to meet someone?"

"Did you?"

"Do you ever answer a question straight out?"

She laughed, and he thought that made her even prettier. "So tell me, Brett Noland, what did you think when you saw me dancing in the moonlight? Did you think I was crazy?"

"Are you?" Two could play her game of double questions.

"No." She threw the scarf into the air, and they both watched it flutter downward. "To both questions," she said. "I'm not crazy and I'm not meeting anyone."

"You just like to run around in the moonlight?"


He wanted to put her on the defensive. "I know--you're Titania."

"The fairy queen from Midsummer Night's Dream? Is that who you think I am?"

He was shocked that she had instantly known the character from Shakespeare's play. He read constantly, especially the classics, but knew few his age who did the same. "A druid then," he said.

"I don't worship trees," Shayla said with a toss of her head.

"You're a sprite."

"I'm too tall for a pixie."

"A ghost?"

"Some think so."

A shiver shot up his spine. This experience was turning surreal.

"Are you out of guesses?" she asked, making him feel undereducated, as if he'd forgotten some major category.

"I'm thinking," he said, racking his brain for another class of mythical beings who showed up only at night. He snapped his fingers. "Werewolves! No, wait--you don't have enough body hair to be a werewolf."

Again she laughed. "I think only men can be werewolves."

"You're right." He searched his memory, warming to the game they were playing. "Ah . . . I know, vampires come out at night. Are you a vampire?"

She looked straight at him and he felt his heart race crazily. The moon glowed along her hair, lit her face. Her skin was the color of sand, her eyes luminous, hypnotic pools. "Yes," she said. "I am."

From the Hardcover edition.
Lurlene McDaniel

About Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel - How Do I Love Thee

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


“McDaniel fans will want this.”–Booklist

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