Friday, June 21, 2013

Review: The Year of Luminous Love by Lurlene McDaniel

The Year of Luminous Love
The Year of Luminous Love by Lurlene McDaniel
In the vein of Eat, Pray, Love, but for teens, this inspirational novel is set against the backdrop of Tennessee horse country as well as the historic cities of Italy and the Italian countryside. The story unfolds as three teenage girls, recently graduated from high school, plan the next phase of their lives while dealing with immediate life issues. McDaniel subtly explores the many types of love the girls experience--including love for one's family, one's friends, and intimate love--and the sacrifices they choose to make (or not) for each of them.
Publishes in US: May 14th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: Ya contemporary
Source: library
Series? Yes.

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   Love. That is the theme of this book and it is explored in so many ways. It's neat to see the many ways that love can be dysfunctional through the families that hurt one another, and then the sharp contrast of another family who tragedy pulls them together instead of apart and they are close. It also shows the extreme value of friendship and the love it offers. 
   As usual, Lurlene McDaniel hits the hard and emotional issues, and deals with them with elegance but still in a realistic and easy to relate to way of writing. The characters feel real, and I am able to sympathize with them and want the best for them. It is hard to see them hurting or going through hard things, but I know that the character growth and their journey will be so worth it. They all have their own hard problems, Arie has been sick, Eden used to cut and is in a non-traditional and controlling relationship, and Cialina takes care of her grandma who is sick and from the blurb, we know she is going to die. 
    Their friendship was a huge draw for me, I appreciated how close they were and how they supported each other. My issue was only that they kept huge secrets from one another at times, and while they may have done it for good reasons, it only caused more pain than they were trying to prevent. 
    The different kinds of love that they showed was important to, and that relationships can be different things to different people at different times. 
    I will say though, that if it were just going from the blurb, I don't know that I would have picked this book up, but Lurlene McDaniel is an auto-read and I am glad that I gave it the time.
    This is darker than her other works, but still has the same themes and emotional roller coaster type feelings. 
     The Year of Luminous love has a bittersweet ending that ties up the book well. It leaves quite a few things resolved but open. That is okay though because there is a companion novel that will be released. 

Bottom Line: Emotional and powerful novel about friendship, love, grief, pain and healing.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Are you still in touch with any of your friends from elementary school?


  1. I like the sound of this! Even though I've read SO many romance novels, I never tire of the genre, so I find it great that love is explored in so many different ways here, as you mentioned. Glad you enjoyed this, and thanks for putting it on my radar!

  2. Sometimes I hate when characters keep secrets from each other. I feel it can be so unnecessary! Great review :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

  3. I wasn't taken with the movie Eat, Pray, Love although i haven't read the book.

    Things are so much 'HD' when you're a teen. It takes years to see the scope of your emotions on a wider canvas.

    I guess the sequel will handle something like that.

  4. I think the answer to that is no! This sounds quite emotional!

  5. Yes, I'm still in touch with some of the classmates from elementary school. This story seems kinda sad but beautiful. Love is such a wonderful theme to explore. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I like that this focuses on friendships and varying ascpects of relationships..

  7. This sounds like such a good story. I love when I find a book that I wouldn't normally pick up, and love. Great review, Brandi!

  8. Wonderful review and so glad that you liked it despite the blurb not being something that would appeal to you..i am the same way with my auto-buy authors..i just buy them!

  9. I am in touch with a few of them but not close with them. I've read one or two McDaniel books but when I was younger. This one sounds really good! I might need to check it out!

  10. Lurlene is so talented at pushing emotional buttons, and I"m glad she worked her magic again for you here. :-) I still keep in touch with two of my friends from elementary school, but it's only because we ended up at the same college. It's really hard to keep in touch with childhood friends over the years. Lovely review Brandi!

  11. I love that this novel focuses on friendship, I really like reading about that dynamic. I haven't talked to any of my elementary friends in a few years. People just grow apart naturally, I suppose.

  12. I love what you said about relationships meaning different things to different people at different times. It's so true. I also really like what you said about secrets causing problems. I was in Little Rock for my elementary school years, but recently a lot of friends from then found my on Facebook and we've reconnected. Wonderful review! Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

  13. Not really my thing but it does sound powerful. Happy you liked it.

  14. I haven't seen Eat, Pray, Love, but maybe this version is better for me. I'm curious to see how it is.

  15. I like that friendship is the main focus of this book, but I'm not a fan of keeping secrets. That would bother me a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Brandi. I'm not sure if it's for me.

  16. Sounds interesting. I really like how it explores different sides to it. It's always kind of fascinating to watch how it affects different people and what they take from relationships.


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