Friday, March 26, 2010

Book Review: Prey by Lurlene McDaniel

SUMMARY: A teacher is supposed to impart a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge. It’s a bit different with Ms. Lori Settles. All the kids are talking about how hot she is–and she is especially interested in Ryan Piccoli. When she starts giving Ryan extra attention, he’s feeling more than happy–at first. He’s used to being the class clown, but really he’s a loner. One day after school, the friendship with Lori Settles goes farther than he ever expected. She’s his teacher. She’s at least twice his age. Intimacy with a teacher is wrong, yet it feels so good in every way. Soon, Lori is making demands and Ryan begins to feel overwhelmed, but Ryan refuses to even admit anything is going on. Something immoral is going on and before too long the choices made will change lives forever.


Unique, beautifully grotesque, and cataclysmic. This book takes some very interesting turns, pitching the reader between being grossed out and engrossed. The subject alone- teacher sleeping with student- is one that makes the majority of people cringe and turn their nose up in disgust. But McDaniel writes Ryan in such a way that immediate discredit doesn't exist, even during his first time in bed with this teacher.

This book will make you think. Ryan's homelife isn't ideal- a mother who died when he was 2 and a father who loves him but travels often for work, leaving him alone the majority of the time- but by the end of the book, I found myself wondering how much, in this scenario, that homelife really mattered. How drastically different would Ryan's decisions have been if he had two loving parents who were there? Granted, sneaking around would have been more difficult but even with his father being gone, it didn't go unnoticed. I think this is a very prime example of a teen knowing what he wants and going for it, all legalities aside. Ryan is a cocky yet sweet guy but becomes his own sort of obsessive, falling quickly for a women double his age. He falls into the trap she sets easily, going through the gauntlet of emotions from lust and love to jealousy and betrayal. He puts Lori first for a long while, at least until her unsettling mental state begins to become apparent. It seems like Ryan gains some insight and maybe even grows a pair, turning back towards his schoolwork and the friends he ditched for her, but still masterfully played both sides.

Lori is an incredibly unique character and despite being the sexual predator, she was written in a brilliant way to thrust sympathy and understanding towards her. She could easily have been the victim in this case which added an entirely new element, taking the story as a whole to a different level. This, coupled with Ryan's home life and several other twists- particularly towards the end- all tie together to make this book shocking and memorable. She uses her beauty and body to get what she wants, tossing the reader back and forth between appreciating her for it and despising her.

The ending of this book was very shocking but once that faded, it left me in thought. I didn't see it coming and that one part made me feel a myriad of emotions but ultimately, it did make me wonder long term how this would effect not only Ryan but Lori too- and even Ryan's friends and family. These relationships, while seemingly solitary and intimate, have a ripple effect once they come out and while it's subtle at first, this ending very much emphasizes this point.

Switching between character's, this book gives the reader a look at Ryan and Lori, as well as Ryan's best friend Honey. This varying mindset helps show multiple angles of the story without making it choppy or hard to follow. This book is written very beautifully, building each of the characters artfully. Overall, this one hits in at 4 stars and is one I recommend across the ages.

Source: Library
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 12, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385734530
ISBN-13: 978-0385734530

Author's Website What Others Are Saying
Edifying & Edgy
The Compulsive Reader


  1. This book sounds pretty interesting. I love the cover and will defaintly give it a try, great review!

  2. wow, I have read tones of Lurlene Mcdaniels other books, the ones with sick teenagers finding love, know what I'm talking about? This is sooo different from her usually books, but I like the premise! Thanks for pointing this book out to me!

  3. Amazing review as usual. I really wanted to buy this book, I think I just might! :)

  4. The first time I read the description of this book I thought, "I can't believe Lurlene McDaniel wrote that! So not her usual thing." I have been undecided as to whether or not I wanted to read this book until now. Your review has definitely convinced me to give this book a try. :D