When I was younger, I loved, loved, loved Lurline McDaniel’s books. Six Months to Live, about a 13-year old girl that gets leukemia, was a particular favorite. All of McDaniel’s books deal with teenagers put in a tragic situation. They usually don’t have happy endings in the “everyone gets better” sense. I came across this book in our school library and was thrilled to find it, having forgotten all about the joy of reading McDaniel tragedies.
In this book, Julie and Luke have been sweethearts since the sixth grade. Luke is a star football player and Julie’s dad is the football coach. After the football season is over in their Junior year, Luke begins to feel run down. It turns out to be Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The rest of the book explores how everyone accepts or doesn’t accept Luke’s battle with the disease. Will he get better in time to lead the team for his Senior year? Will Julie be able to have a life with a boyfriend with cancer? Will her mother ever get off her back about choosing a college?
It was a pretty typical McDaniel book, though I loved the “message” Luke gave Julie at the end of the book. It was a surprisingly touching scene. I think these books a great for teenagers who want to explore life’s potential tragedies in a safe environment. Especially teenagers who want to read sad stories.