Don't Die, My Love
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pretty Julie and handsome football star Luke have been "engaged" since sixth grade. The attractive high-school couple's fairy tale world of dances, football games, and bright futures envelopes them like a glittery veil. Then Luke becomes ill, and tests confirm the worst medical suspicions--Hodgkin's lymphoma. The better part of the book is consumed with how the two, their parents, and the school community deal with Luke's critical illness and eventual death. Touching scenes abound in this crisis novel, particularly those of the football team's camaraderie and support. The writing is pure romance style, and the characters, especially Julie, tend to talk and think in simplistic terms. "Right now, there was only Luke," she muses typically early on, vaguely wishing she had something as intense to focus on as he had with football and ignoring her mother's prompting to start thinking about college applications. Fans of tear-jerker teen romances will enjoy this offering.