Book Title:
Losing Gabriel: A Love Story
Book Author:
Lurlene McDaniel
Publishing Date:
June 14th, 2016
Delacorte Press
Date Read:
June 24th, 2016
I received a copy from the publisher


This emotionally-charged novel about three high school seniors who in the midst of planning their futures after high school are instead faced with present circumstances that force them to grasp what it means to make choices, take responsibility, and truly become an adult.

Lani Kennedy has dreamed of becoming a nurse since her cousin Arie died of leukemia. Nothing will stop her from getting into the local nursing program.

Dawson Burke hasn’t dealt with his mom’s death, and he’s angry at his dad for moving them to Windemere right before senior year. He grudgingly accepts that he must wait till graduation before he leaves.

Sloan Quentin can belt out a song and knows that her band is her ticket to fame and fortune. When she discovers that her boyfriend—the band’s lead guitarist—is cheating on her, she finds comfort—and revenge—in someone else’s arms.

When the lives of Lani, Dawson, and Sloan become entangled in unexpected ways, reality hits harder than anyone could have imagined.

My Review

I have spent a really long time trying to figure out what to say about this book.  Well, to be completely fair, I kind of went into a  reading and blogging slump shortly after reading this, and I think for lack of better understanding as to how a 2 month slump happened, I’m going to blame it on this…thing.

Okay, here’s the thing – I’m a huge Lurlene McDaniel fan.  I’ve probably read every one of her books at least twice, and her writing is the reason I fell in love with the young adult genre in the first place.  So of course, when the awesome folks over at Random House sent me this book (randomly), I couldn’t even tell you how excited I was.  Somehow, this one slipped under my radar, because I honestly had no idea that it was coming out, so I pretty much dropped everything and started reading it the second I got it.

The story is about three teenagers (*checks synopsis because the book was so boring she can’t remember their names) doing teenager-y things – one of them is a singer in a popular band in town (Sloane), one of them is determined to become a nurse after the death of her cousin (Lani), and one of them is being the brooding teenage boy who is angry at his mother for dying and at his father for making them move (Dawson).

…You can already tell there is going to be a love triangle here.

Well, Lani has a huge crush on Dawson, who has no idea she exists.  Sloane is tired of her boyfriend cheating on her, so she finds solace in Dawson’s arms.  Well, she gets pregnant, gives birth to a baby boy, Gabriel, and then splits town with her ex-boyfriend and their band, determined to make it big.  So Dawson is left alone to raise Gabriel.

Gabriel develops asthma, and Dawson can’t watch him 24/7, so he decides to hire a nurse to care for him while he is at work.  Enter Lani.  Dawson never knew she even existed, let alone about the huge crush she had on him, but Dawson’s father recommended her, because she works at the hospital.

Over time, you can tell that Lani and Dawson start developing feelings for each other, and then Sloane comes back into the picture after a tragedy while on tour with their band.  Lani doesn’t care for Sloane, and wants to keep her away from Dawson and Gabriel, but realizes that she really can’t – Sloane is planning on staying there with them.

When another tragedy strikes, changing the way everyone in the book looks at things, blames are placed and feelings change.

Based on the title, I knew it was going to be a heartbreaking book (then again, has Ms. McDaniel written a book to date that hasn’t been?), so yes, I expected that.  But once I started this book…I just felt…bored.  I had a difficult time feeling any emotion for the characters, and I honestly didn’t care about them to the point where I forgot their names in between reading sessions.  Not to mention, this book took me over almost a week and a half to get through, because I just couldn’t get into it.  It was dull, flat, uneventful, and boring (the plot and the characters).

This starts out as a young adult novel, but since a few years go by from the beginning when Sloane and Dawson have Gabriel to the time when Lani comes back into the picture, it’s kind of a young adult-new adult crossover – something that I don’t really ever remember reading in a Lurlene McDaniel book.

Also, I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a mom to two daughters or if I really just disliked this book, but that plot “twist” at the end?  Horrible.  I wanted to throw the book across the room when it happened, even though this was one of the most predictable books I’ve ever read.

The writing in Losing Gabriel just felt stunted and choppy – not the kind of writing I’m used to reading in one of her books.  I don’t know what happened here, but I had a difficult time finishing it.  The entire book was just predictable and boring, and the characters were just generic and flat.

If you’re a fan of Lurlene McDaniel, check it out for yourself…otherwise it’s probably best just to skip this one – there’s not much here that you’ll be missing.

1.5 stars
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