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  • Starry, Starry Night
  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
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  • Starry, Starry Night
  • Written by Lurlene McDaniel
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780375899225
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Starry, Starry Night

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

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List Price: $8.99

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On Sale: September 13, 2011
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89922-5
Published by : Delacorte Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books
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ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE PRAISE
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

The star that led the three wise men could be the same star wished upon this Christmas-time by three young women.
     In the opening story, "Christmas Child," 15-year-old Melanie feels cheated when her baby sister, born during the holidays, lives only a few hours. But the baby's brief life shows Melanie the lasting value of love.
     Brenda struggles between noble intentions and earthier desires when she becomes a dying boy's final chance for happiness in "Last Dance."
     The closing story, "Kathy's Life," presents a 16-year-old who appears to have it all. Kathy is beautiful, intelligent, and has the perfect job as a live-in caretaker for a couple's baby boy. But not everything is as perfect as it seems. Must Kathy give up the one person she loves most in the world?
     Readers will be inspired, enlightened, and comforted by these moving stories that depict the many kinds of love in the world.

Excerpt

Mom, look at these.  Aren't they cute?"  Melanie Barton jiggled a pair of dinosaur-shaped baby booties under her mother's nose.  Melanie and her mother, Connie, stood in a baby superstore, surrounded by aisles of adorable merchandise.  Her mother leaned heavily against a shopping cart heaped with diapers, newborn-size clothes, crib sheets, and a mobile and eyed the bright dino booties.

"Yes, they're cute, but I think they're too big for a newborn.  Your feet weren't any bigger than this."  Connie held out her finger and thumb to indicate a couple of inches, then arched her back and rubbed the hollow.  "I need to get off my feet, Mellie.  I'd forgotten how much your back aches when you're pregnant."

"How about the paint store?  You said we could stop there before we go home.  I need more yellow to finish the nursery walls."

"You'll get it done before the baby comes, I'm sure.  Right now, I want to get home before I collapse."

"But I still have Christmas shopping to do."

"It'll keep, Mellie," her mother said patiently.  "I need to rest.  You can go to the mall anytime."

Melanie told herself to be sensitive to her pregnant mother. In only a couple more weeks, Melanie's little brother or sister would be born.  Since Christmas was also only two weeks away, it was possible that the baby could be born on Christmas Day.  Which was what Melanie was secretly hoping.

"If only I could drive," Melanie grumbled as she and her mother walked to the car, pushing the cart full of purchases.

"This time next year you'll have your license, and you can take Baby Mortimer Christmas shopping while I sit around eating candy and reading a book."

Suddenly Melanie stopped.  "You and Dad aren't really going to call him Mortimer, are you?"

Her mother laughed.  "Don't be silly.  It could be a girl. Then we'll call her Morticia."

"Mother!  Don't joke.  We can't give the baby some crazy name.  It has to be something special."

"I'm sure you have some suggestions."

"A few."

"Can you save them for later?  I just want to get home and lie down."

On the drive home, Melanie gazed at the Christmas decorations hung from lampposts, the store windows decked out with lights, glitter, and holiday displays of toys and clothes.  Santas stood on street corners, ringing bells and collecting money.  Outside, the world looked expectant, ready for the most wonderful day of the year. Inside, Melanie's heart felt full to overflowing.  What a Christmas this was going to be!

In the spring, when her mother had first told Melanie about her pregnancy, Melanie had been shocked, then embarrassed.  Weren't her parents too old?  Forty-two and forty-five seemed pretty old to be having a baby.  And she had wondered what her friends would think.  As it turned out, her friends thought she was lucky to be getting a newborn baby to cuddle and hold.  Now she couldn't wait.

Back at the house, Melanie unloaded the car.  "You go lie down," she told her mother once they were in the foyer.  "I can start dinner."

Her mother patted Melanie's cheek.  "You've been such a help to me.  I don't know what I'd do without you, honey."

"I guess it's one of the perks of having babies fifteen years apart," Melanie said with a grin.

Her mother headed upstairs.  "Let me know when your dad gets home.  Remind him that we have Lamaze class tonight."

Melanie had to hand it to her parents.  Despite their age, they were going all out to make this birth a memorable experience.  They were attending natural-childbirth classes at the local hospital where their baby would be born.  Melanie had even gone with them a couple of times.  The class was full of young couples, and although her parents looked old among them, the group had welcomed them warmly.

"We always wanted a big family," Melanie had overheard her mom tell one woman.  "But after Melanie's birth, I just couldn't seem to get pregnant again.  Imagine my shock when it happened now, after all these years!"

In the kitchen, Melanie quickly got to work making dinner.  A casserole was warming in the oven and she was starting on the salad when the phone rang.

"What's shaking?"  It was the voice of her friend Coren.

"Just slaving in the kitchen.  What's up with you?"  Melanie cradled the phone beneath her chin and broke lettuce into a salad bowl.

"Nothing," Coren said with an exaggerated sigh.  School was out for the holidays and she already sounded bored.  "Are you going to Justine's party next Saturday?"

"It depends on how my mom's doing."

"She's okay, isn't she?"

"Sure, but she says that sometimes babies arrive early, so the baby could be here by Saturday."

"But you've got to come."

"I will if I can."  Melanie didn't see why it was so urgent that she go.

"Well, try hard, all right?"

Changing the subject, Melanie said, "You should see all the cute stuff we bought for the baby today.  The clothes are so tiny. It'll be like dressing a doll."  She heard her father's key in the door.  "Got to run.  My dad's home.  I'll call you tomorrow." Melanie hung up and kissed her father's cheek as he came into the room.

"Where's your mom?"

"Upstairs, resting."

He swiped a piece of carrot from the cutting board and ruffled her hair, which irritated her.  "Smells good in here."

"Mom said to remind you about Lamaze class tonight.  Can you drop me at the mall on your way there and pick me up on your way home?"

Her father set down his briefcase.  "You know I hate you wandering the mall alone."

"Dad, there's a thousand people at the mall.  It's not like I'll get lost or anything."

"You could get mugged."

She rolled her eyes, ignoring his concern.  "I still have Christmas shopping to do, and Mom said it was all right with her."

"I'll discuss it with your mom."

"I'm not a baby, you know."

"But you're still my baby," he said with a grin.

"I can get everything done before your class is over. Promise."  Melanie made a final stab at pleading her case.

"I said we'll discuss it, Mellie.  Now I'm going upstairs."

Melanie pouted.  She'd be glad when the baby was here and her father could see what a real baby looked like.  She was tired of him always treating her as if she were still five.  It was about time he started treating her like the fifteen-year-old she was. It was part of the hazard of being an only child, she reminded herself.  Her friends always got to try new things ahead of her.  But her own parents were usually the last ones to okay anything she wanted to do.

Still sulking, Melanie carried the garbage pail onto the back porch.  The frosty air felt cold on her warm cheeks.  She looked up. The sky was dark, but in the west she could still see a hint of lavender and pink left from the setting sun.  A single star twinkled, as if trapped between the light and the darkness.  Impulsively she said, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight . . ."  Finishing the familiar children's rhyme, she asked, "Could I have a baby sister?  And if it's not too much trouble, do you think you could get my parents to treat me as a truly older sister and let the new baby be the baby?"

The star winked like a tiny jeweled eye, making her think that perhaps it had heard her and would grant her wishes.


From the Paperback edition.
Lurlene McDaniel

About Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel - Starry, Starry Night

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.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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.


PRAISE

ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME
“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

DON’T DIE, MY LOVE
“Touching scenes abound in this crisis novel. . . . Fans of tear-jerker teen romances will enjoy this offering.”—Booklist

I’LL BE SEEING YOU
“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

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

SHE DIED TOO YOUNG
“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

STARRY, STARRY NIGHT
“[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

TOO YOUNG TO DIE and GOODBYE DOESN’T MEAN FOREVER
“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
Praise

Praise

"[The stories] are absorbing, the characters are well developed, and the author does not resolve the girls' dilemmas with pat solutions....Fans of McDaniel's inspirational fiction will enjoy this as will others who have not discovered her work."
--School Library Journal

Starry, Starry Night is the first hardcover book by Lurlene McDaniel, the biggest-selling author of young adult inspirational fiction.


From the Hardcover edition.

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