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Creator / Lurlene McDaniel

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An American Young Adult author who got her start in 1985, writing books about children with cancer, congenital illnesses or other disabilities in order to cope with her three-year-old son being diagnosed with diabetes. Her stories can basically be considered Hallmark Hall of Fame in literary form: sad, gooey, schmaltzy, loaded with Glurge and big on wholesome values like family and chaste romances between teenagers.

Lurlene McDaniel's works include examples of:

  • All Girls Like Ponies:
    • Anne Wingate of Sixteen and Dying uses her One Last Wish money to visit a dude ranch and do some riding.
    • Shannon Campbell of When Happily Ever After Ends.
    • Mandy Underwood of A Horse for Mandy.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Chelsea James from the One Last Wish series falls for two boys and wins over neither of them. Eric says she's "not his type" while D.J. can't get over the fact that his sister and Chelsea's friend Jillian died due to Chelsea getting the heart transplant that would have saved Jillian.
  • All Women Are Prudes: Ryan's female friend Honey in Prey comes off as this, chastising their attractive female teacher for not covering herself more, and tells the protagonist she doesn't approve of him having sex with anyone. Part of this may come from Honey having feeling for Ryan and being upset that he doesn't return them.
  • Beta Couple: Lacey and Jeff eventually become this for Katie and Josh in the One Last Wish series.
  • Break the Cutie: Dawn Rochelle.
  • Billy Needs an Organ:
    • In Let Him Live, the heroine befriends and falls in love with a boy who desperately needs a liver transplant. He doesn't make it.
    • She Died Too Young has the complication of a heart being available, but two girls need a transplant. The heroine of that particular book gets the heart while the other girl dies.
    • Katie O'Roark gets a heart transplant in her debut book. She survives to the end of the One Last Wish series and gets married to her longtime boyfriend.
    • The short story "Laura's Heart" has heroine Laura receive the heart of a boy she fell in love with, who was gunned down. He had a feeling his death was imminent, as he'd escaped a gang, and signed the donor forms in advance.
  • The Chew Toy: Even for a McDaniel heroine, Dawn Rochelle suffers quite a bit. Her leukemia comes back twice, and in the final book she suffers a stroke as a belated side effect of chemo.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl:
    • A weird variation has some of the heroines or other girls being like this on behalf of their friends. Melissa in the Always and Forever duology, Jillian in She Died Too Young and Alexis in The Time Capsule make angry faces at their brothers' girlfriends because their best friend has a crush on the guy.
    • Played straight in The Girl Death Left Behind. Terri has a huge crush on Jared and gets angry when he pays attention to Beth.
    • Also played straight in Prey. Honey's hatred for Lori Settles is based on the fact that Ryan finds her pretty, and she gets angry anytime he mentions or spends time with her. Though when she discovers Ryan's affair with Lori her jealousy is pushed aside in favor of seeking justice for Ryan, who's clearly being taken advantage of. Lori herself is this trope when she spies Honey and Ryan at a dance together, and throws a fit when he mentions wanting to spend more time with his friends.
  • Collateral Angst: Mourning Song, Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever, and Don't Die, My Love give the main focus to the relative, friend or boyfriend/girlfriend of the dying character and how the character's condition is affecting them.
  • Daddy's Girl: Shannon Campbell in When Happily Ever After Ends, Katie O'Roark in Someone Dies, Someone Lives.
  • Designated Villain Has A Point: The faculty in Prey gets on Lori Settles's case for her sexy clothing, and while it carries whiffs of Slut-Shaming and "good women cover their bodies", there's a valid point: teachers are often advised to make sure the students pay attention to the lessons and not to their clothes, sexy or outlandish or otherwise. Plus, Lori is a sexual predator who was using her attractive body to lure in Ryan.
  • Driven to Suicide:
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Erin and Amy in the duology Somewhere Between Life and Death and Time To Let Go.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The majority of the One Last Wish books have the focal character die near the end.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Lacey in All The Days of Her Life.
  • It's All About Me: Cassie and Dani's mother in Mourning Song comes across as this in the beginning, refusing to tell Cassie she's dying and keeping her cooped up in the hospital because it makes her feel safe with little regard to the wishes of her sick daughter.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Used ironically in Don't Die, My Love. It's Luke who's dangerously ill with Hodgkins' Lymphoma, but his girlfriend Julie's the one clinging to him and their relationship as her only reason for living. When Luke dies, Julie completely shuts down from her grief and only begins to come out of it when she sees the football field decorated with an "I Love You" spelled out in tulips that Luke planted ages ago.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Between Lacey, Amanda and Jeff in Please Don't Die. Lacey steps aside for Amanda's sake, but when Amanda dies, she and Jeff eventually gravitate towards each other.
    • Sloan, Dawson and Lani in Losing Gabriel. Lani has a crush on Dawson who doesn't know she's alive and has the hots for Sloan. When Sloan catches her boyfriend cheating on her she runs into Dawson's arms, leading to a Teen Pregnancy and Sloan leaving after the baby's born. After the Time Skip, Lani takes a job as the baby's caretaker and Dawson ends up drawn to her despite his history with Sloan. In the end, Dawson and Lani get together while Sloan leaves to find herself.
  • Mighty Whitey: The basic premise of Baby Alicia is Dying.
  • The Mourning After: Richard Holloway. Marian Crawford notes it's a shame he never married, and it's clear Richard can't bring himself to love after losing Jenny.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Sarah MacGregor in Mother, Help Me Live didn't even know she was adopted until she needed a bone marrow transplant and neither of her siblings were matches. She goes into a Heroic BSoD and uses her One Last Wish money to search for her birth mother, who rejects her and can't donate her marrow anyway due to having had breast cancer. This is all to teach An Aesop about real families being formed through love and caring rather than just blood.
  • Second Love: Meg Charnell forms a romance with the dying Donovan Jacoby in Let Him Live and Morgan Lancaster falls in love with HIV sufferer Anne Wingate in Sixteen and Dying, only for the inevitable to happen. In the final One Last Wish installment Reach For Tomorrow, they meet at the Jenny House, bond over their losses and slowly fall in love with each other.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Everyone at the Jenny House in the One Last Wish series is this for Katie and Josh.
    • Lacey is this for Amanda and Jeff, despite her own feelings for Jeff. When Amanda dies, everyone eventually becomes this for Jeff and Lacey.
    • The Clingy Jealous Girl examples above: Melissa ships her best friend Jory with her brother Michael, Jillian ships Chelsea with her brother JD, and Alexis ships her best friend Tessa with her twin brother Adam.
    • Alana and her boyfriend in Let Him Live ship Megan and Donovan quite hard.
    • Beth in The Girl Death Left Behind supports her friends Marcie and Teddy hooking up and is glad when they do.
  • Sibling Triangle: In the How Do I Love Thee installment "Bobby's Girl", heroine Dana dated Steve Harrod one summer and sometime later got together with his brother Bobby. This raises panic in her when Steve visits after she hadn't expected to see him again, and she finds her old feelings for him returning despite loving Bobby.
  • Stalking Is Love:
    • David in Time To Let Go follows Erin around constantly despite her protests, and she ends up dating him.
    • Nathan, the protagonist of Letting Go of Lisa does this with the titular Lisa, following her and swearing he'll break through her walls and make her love him and even saying he has the right to follow her to the hospital because he loves her.
    • Downplayed with Brett and Shayla in How Do I Love Thee's "Night Visions". He does seek her out and drive by her house a few times, but she has no major objections aside from wondering why he's so interested. Brett is very cool and low-key about having been captivated by her when they first met, and they develop a friendship when Shayla feels comfortable enough to explain why she only comes out at night and avoids people.
  • Sour Prudes: The faculty and Honey Fowler in Prey are treated like this for objecting to Lori Settles's wardrobe, but the trope's actually subverted due to Lori being a sexual predator.
  • Survivor Guilt: The premise of The Girl Death Left Behind. Beth's family dies in a car wreck (on the 4th of July, no less) and it takes her most of the book to get over it.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: Deconstructed in Prey, one of Lurlene's only books not to deal with disease or death. Or so you'd think, except the teacher and student are implied to get back together in the end even after all the trauma.
  • Teen Pregnancy:
    • The titular Kathy of the short story "Kathy's Life" in Starry Starry Night. The heroine of the story learns her classmate went through this when she discovers that the baby she takes care of is actually Kathy's son, whom she's giving up for adoption to the parents.
    • The focus of Brianna's Gift, only the pregnant Brianna suffers an aneurysm and winds up on life support until the baby is ready to be born, and her mother and younger sister take the baby home to raise at the end of the book.
    • Sloan Quentin has one in Losing Gabriel, ends up delivering the titular Gabriel two months early and runs away, leaving her boyfriend Dawson and his widowed father to raise the baby and hire a caretaker.
  • Tropical Epilogue: April and her family in Till Death Do Us Part go on vacation to the Virgin Islands at the end of the story, while April copes with her boyfriend Mark's death.
  • The Unfavorite:
    • Desilia "Desi" in Baby Alicia is Dying until the end when she and her mother patch things up.
    • Bobby Harrod in the "Bobby's Girl" installment of How Do I Love Thee. His father doesn't care about him or his passions and blatantly dotes on Bobby's half brother Steve.
    • Erin in the End of Forever duology feels like this, thinking their parents always let Amy have her way and that her mother calling her "the dependable one" is an insult rather than a compliment. She feels this way to the point where she's happy when she hears their father grounding Amy for slacking off on her schoolwork.
  • You're Not My Parents: Sarah in Mother, Help Me Live keeps saying and thinking this about her adoptive parents, even after they call her out on her nasty treatment of the family once she learns she's adopted.