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Briana's Gift (Lurlene McDaniel (Mass Market)) Kindle Edition

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Length: 178 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lurlene McDaniel is the #1 author of inspirational fiction for young adults. The author lives in Chattanooga, TN.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

one



I'm probably the only girl in the world who hates the month of December. I know Christmas comes in December, but so what? Every bad, awful thing that's ever happened in my family has happened in December. Like when I was five and Daddy died in an accident at the steel mill just two weeks before Christmas and we had to move to Tennessee and live with Grandma. And when I was eight and Mom was told in the first week of December she had rheumatoid arthritis and so she couldn't work and had to set up her own at-home business. And when I was almost fourteen, my sister, Briana, ran away from home on a cold December Saturday, just after school let out for the holiday break.

Mom said later, "I should have seen it coming."

But neither of us had.

Our mother always said that Briana marched to the beat of a different drummer, which I totally got because I'm in the marching band at school and staying in step is a must. When she was just sixteen, Bree took off with Jerry Stevens, a nineteen-year-old guy Mom called "worthless, hateful and without a lick of sense," but that Bree swore she loved more than anything. Bree and Mom had lots of fights about Bree dating Jerry, and then on a Saturday morning when Mom had driven into town to Pruitt's Food Mart for groceries, Bree comes down the stairs with two suitcases and a duffel bag and drops them at the front door.

"Where you going?" I ask. I'm sprawled on the sofa watching a cartoon and eating Cheetos. I like the old cartoons; plus, it's a good way to spend a Saturday until Mom makes me do my chores, which wasn't going to happen until she came home from the store. My fingers are covered with orange Cheetos dust and I lick them.

Bree scowls. "That's disgusting." She looks out the high glass window of the door. "I'm leaving."

"For where?"

"Los Angeles."

"Why?"

"Me and Jerry are going to find jobs."

"You don't know anyone in Los Angeles," I remind her. We live in farm country, in Duncanville, a small town in middle Tennessee, three hours from Nashville, only forty minutes from Chattanooga, which I guess Bree figures are both too close to home.

"We're going clear across country, seeing everything there is to see on the way. When we get to Hollywood, we'll get a place of our own and be happy forever." Her green eyes sparkle.

"Mom's not going to let you go." Bree had taken off twice before and Mom had gotten the sheriff to fetch her home.

"It's different this time."

"How so?"

"I left a letter in my room. It explains everything."

"What about school?"

"I'm finished with school. I can quit if I want to. You finish school."

"But--"

A horn honks outside and Bree throws open the door and grabs her bags. "I'm out of here."

I follow her onto the front porch, stop when I see Jerry's pickup in our dirt driveway. He jumps out, hugs Bree and tosses her bags into the open bed. "What did you pack, girl? The kitchen sink?" He never looks my way.

Bree laughs and kisses him. She says to me, "Go inside, Sissy."

I'm still wearing my sleep T-shirt and my legs and feet are bare. The cold has sliced right through me and frozen me to the porch.

Bree shoots Jerry an apologetic look, runs back and puts her arms around me. "It'll be all right, Sissy. I know what I'm doing."

I feel all hollow, scared too. I don't want my sister to leave.

"I'll send you postcards."

I stand still, my arms glued to my sides, fighting hard not to cry. I'm careful not to touch her with my disgusting orange fingers. "Why do you want to leave?"

"I don't want to be stuck in this place forever. This is my chance to go places with someone I love and who loves me."

The truck's horn beeps and I see Jerry scowling from behind the wheel. Bree breaks away. "I can't keep Jerry waiting." She bounds off the porch, runs to the truck, gets inside and rolls down the window. She calls out, "Tell Mom not to worry. I know what I want. I love you."

My voice is stuck in my throat and I can't say anything. I stand on the porch shivering and watch them drive away. And find another reason to hate December.



When Mom comes home, I tell her what's happened and we go up to Bree's room together. The usually messy bedroom is neat and clean. The bed's made up with the old quilt Grandma sewed before she died and the closet holds only old summer T's and empty hangers. Mom picks up the letter propped on Bree's pillow. As I watch her stiffened fingers rip open the envelope, I cry. "Shush," she says, her eyes darting over the page.

"Wh-what's it say?"

"She and Jerry are getting married."

"Call the sheriff, Mom. You can stop them."

"Why? Once they're married, I have no say in her life."

"But school--"

"She's sixteen, Susanna. You can't stop a river from flowing downstream, and I can't stop Bree from going her own way. I should have seen it coming."

Shock waves roll over me. Briana is gone. Really and truly gone.

Mom gets to her feet and her orthopedic shoes shuffle on the wood floor. "Come on now and help me bring in the groceries."

Bring in the groceries? How can she think about groceries when her daughter, my only sister, has just run off to get married to a guy Mom hates? I swipe at my eyes. Mom puts her arm around my shoulder. "She'll be back, Sissy."

"When?"

"When he leaves her."

"But if they're married . . ."

"It's a lot easier to break promises than to keep them," Mom says. Her face looks sad. I still can't believe she isn't going to do anything to make Bree come back. "Come on now."

Mom shuts Bree's bedroom door behind us and we go downstairs.


From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3150 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (March 11, 2008)
  • Publication Date: March 11, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00182XI4E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,430 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I was born in Philadelphia PA, grew up (mostly) in Hialeah FL, graduated from the University of South Florida, Tampa FL (go Bulls!) and currently live in Chattanooga TN---I'm an American citizen by birth, and Southern by the grace of God.

I have a brother, three years younger, married, and mathematically gifted. I am totally without math skills.

The books I write, the topics and subject matter, grew out of my firstborn son's diagnosis of diabetes at age 3.
Infinite reward that comes to me from my work.... when a grown reader lets me know that reading my books inspired her to seek a profession that helps others. I have wonderful letters saying, "Today I graduated from nursing/medical school."

Now that's a gift of joy!

Official Lurlene McDaniel Website
http://www.lurlenemcdaniel.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Thirteen-year-old Susanna (Sissy to her family) hasn't had much luck with the month of December. When she was six, her dad died in a horrible accident at work. At eight, her mother was diagnosed with a debilitating arthritis. And most recently, her spirited older sister, Briana, decides to run off to Los Angeles with her boyfriend.

So this year's December also will be a depressing one. Briana sends postcards at first, but all too soon there's no word at all. Sissy depends on her best friends, Melody and Stu, to help her through the lonely days of missing her sister, and practicing her flute passes the time as well. Somehow life goes on.

Then, just before school starts the following year, a pregnant Briana shows up at the front door asking to come home. Briana's boyfriend, who she's better off without, is long gone; she absolutely refuses to track him down for child support. Briana is determined to make a good life for her baby and soon gets a cashier job at Wal-Mart, saving up for everything her baby will need.

Sissy is so ecstatic that her sister is home, and she's really looking forward to becoming an aunt. Her relationship with Briana has grown some as well. Instead of tagging around after Briana, admiring Briana from her little sister status, they are more like friends, pouring over baby books and following the baby's progress together. Sissy even volunteers to redecorate the new nursery, painting the walls lilac with green trim, and she loves to play her flute for the unborn baby.

But without warning, Briana falls deathly ill, and Sissy and her mom are faced with some impossible decisions.
Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In Briana’s Gift, 17-year-old Briana runs away from home and returns alone and pregnant. Suddenly, Briana dies of a freak brain aneurysm and leaves her family to choose what will become of the unborn baby. Improbabilities aside, this could have been an interesting, emotionally touching premise.

Unfortunately, this book was ridiculous. I’ve never read anything else by Lurlene McDaniel, but she’s my coworker’s favorite author, and she lent me this book because I liked The Fault in Our Stars and The Probability of Miracles (apparently I’m known for liking books about teenagers dying. Oops). I read it to the end, hoping something would redeem it, but no.

The writing was awful. It was simplistic, filled with unnecessary flowery descriptions of random things, and the narrator kept switching voices annoyingly. The characters were cardboard and just irritatingly stupid. If they had said “down at the Wal-mart” one more time I was going to pull my hair out. And the plot was laughable.

Don’t even get me started on the could-not-be-more-cliched scene where the main character suddenly realizes out of nowhere that she loves her friend and “drowns in his good-looking blue eyes”. Don’t worry, after about twenty pages of barf about how hot his jeans were and a little lusting over him instead of, you know, paying attention at her sister’s funeral, she just as quickly decides she doesn’t care that her best friend is dating him. What?

I really wanted to care about this family who lost a daughter/sister and had to take care of her child, but because the whole thing was so asinine, it was impossible for me. This premise could have been beautiful, about sisterly love and loss. As it stands, I would not recommend this book at all.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off let me say that this really wasn't my favourite book by Lurlene Mcdaniel at all but I did like it. I liked it because this book while not being her strongest work in my opinion it is written in the usual way most of her older books were written in being from a first person point of view.

I liked Sissy though I hated her name but I found her mother to be an irritating woman who just because her one teenage daughter (Briana) got pregnant it was as if she had forgotten that she even had another child. At times I was very angry at her mother for shoving Sissy aside because Sissy's world was just as affected by the news of Briana's prrgnancy as anyone but she was being the mature one while the mother was just acting out much like a small child.

When Briana comes home and starts straightening her life out she gets a job at the local wal-mart and one day suffers from an anuerysm. She ended up becoming brain damaged and all their mother could think of was giving the unborn baby away as soon as she was born. Sissy wasn't taken into account and her mother would not even allow her to put up a Christmas tree that year because she was too caught up in her suffering to see that her daughter was hurting too.

Now Sissy is the advocate for keeping her sister's baby she out right refuses to allow her mother to give her niece away. And boy does she fight. I love how much strength that Sissy had and how she didn't give up.

My favourite part in the book was the end where her mother and her take her niece home from the hospital and the neighbors offer to help them with raising the baby since her mother has arthritis. It was very touching that their small town community offered their time to help raise the appropriately named baby, Noel.
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