How Do I Love Thee: Three Stories

How Do I Love Thee: Three Stories

4.8 98
by Lurlene McDaniel

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Though written more than a century ago, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beautiful sonnet rings true today for three young couples who believe in the power of love.
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Though written more than a century ago, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beautiful sonnet rings true today for three young couples who believe in the power of love.

In “Night Vision,” Brett finds a way to brighten a special girl’s lonely existence. “Bobby’s Girl” features Dana, who must choose between two brothers, both of whom she loves. “Laura’s Heart,” the third story, introduces 16-year-old Laura Carson, who is hospitalized on a regular basis because of her weak heart. But when tragedy strikes a loved one, she realizes her heart is stronger than she thought and that love lives on forever.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

In the three stories in this collection, McDaniel shares a poignant yet hopeful view of love. As in most of her novels, one of the major characters in each story is dealing with a life- threatening illness. In Night Vision, Bret meets Shayla, a girl who cannot tolerate sunlight. He helps her lead a more normal life for a teen in the short time he has to love her before her tragic death. In Bobby's Girl, Dana is Bobby's girlfriend now, but two summers ago she met and fell in love with his brother, Steve. When Steve comes home from college with a brain tumor, Dana lives a double life as she tries to support both the boys that she loves. While hospitalized with a weak heart, Laura meets and falls in love with Ramon in Laura's Heart. After he is killed in a drive-by gang-related shooting, she finds that he has made the ultimate gift to her by willing his heart to her for a transplant. In each story, the ending offers hope in spite of the tragic death of a main character. McDaniel's stories speak to teens because she deals with difficult issues while validating a young person's ability to feel real love and make hard choices and sacrifices. These three tales will appeal to those who love to have a good cry while reading a fine story. VOYA CODES:4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses;For the YA with a special interest in the subject;Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8;Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9;Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Bantam, 256p, $9.95 Trade pb. Ages 11 to 18. Reviewer:Deborah L. Dubois—VOYA, December 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 5)
McDaniel's books should come with warning labels: "Have a tissue handy and be prepared to cry." She has mastered the genre of romance featuring death, tragedy and genuinely sad endings. In this volume she offers three stories that grab the heart. She involves readers quickly in the lives of the characters and immerses them in the characters' grief. The first story involves a girl inflicted with xeroderma pigmentosum, an allergy to the sun. Brett has moved from Key West, Florida to the Northeast and meets the lovely Shayla who can only surface in the dark. The second story, "Bobby's Girl," concerns a complicated relationship that develops when two brothers are involved with the same girl. Steve is a famous athlete while his brother is overlooked because he lacks brawn, though he has brains. Unfortunately, Steve is dying from brain cancer. Dana is torn between the two, not wanting to hurt either one. The last story involves a sick young woman who desperately needs a new heart. On one of her trips to the hospital she converses with an orderly and begins a relationship that will stay with her the rest of her life. The author does a tremendous job of taking realistic, life-altering situations and giving the reader inspiration and hope...and a really good cry. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2001, Bantam, 256p.,
— Sherri Forgash Ginsberg
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-The tone of these three love stories is set with a quotation from the Song of Solomon describing the strength of love in life, and in death; this is further accentuated in the prologue that contains Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee" to explain the effects of unconditional love. In the first selection, high school senior Brett, a leukemia survivor, meets Shayla, who has a sun allergy. They fall in love, and the drama peaks when her skin becomes badly burned after she falls asleep in a boat and she dies. In "Bobby's Girl," Dana is dating Bobby but once had a secret fling with his brother, who has terminal brain cancer, and he wants her back. In "Laura's Heart," a high school junior hospitalized because of heart damage falls for the night intern, and, in spite of parental objections, they see one another. In a melodramatic turn, he is shot and killed, but his heart is salvageable. An element of love poetry is worked into each story. Characters are highly sensitive and emotional, and have intense personalities. Moods range from complete happiness to total devastation. There's a level of realism here; but there is also a strong dose of drama, which will attract established fans of this author. This short-story format will give new readers a taste of McDaniel's style.-Elizabeth Maggio, Palos Verdes Library District, Rolling Hills Estates, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“McDaniel fans will want this.”–Booklist

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Random House Children's Books
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2 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


The girl danced alone in the moonlight. Brett Noland stood behind a tree watching her, mesmerized. His watch dial glowed 1:00 a.m. When he'd left the cabin where his mother lay asleep to walk and think and figure out how he was going to accept all that had happened in the past month, he hadn't expected to see another living soul. Then he'd rounded a curve in the trail and seen a girl with long, dark hair twirling, swirling, spinning in an open field under the light of the bright full moon.

She wore a long ballerina skirt and held a filmy scarf that fluttered behind her like gossamer wings. There was no music that Brett could hear, only the sound of her graceful leaps in the tall grass. He wasn't sure if he should go back the way he came or wait until she left. The last thing he wanted was for her to catch him. It wasn't right to spy on people, but for the moment he felt glued to the ground.

She ran across the field, jumping and turning in the air like a gazelle. She slipped into the shadows of some trees. Brett held his breath, waiting for her to emerge into the field. She did not. He blinked, listened to the sound of the blood rushing in his ears. Where was she? She had seemed to disappear into thin air. Brett exhaled slowly and, feeling shaken, wondered if she had been there in the first place.

Maybe he'd imagined her. He'd felt stressed and hassled lately. So maybe the girl had only been a figment of an overactive imagination. The idea depressed him. On top of everything else, now he might be going nuts.

"Why are you spying on me?"

Her voice came from behind him, startling Brett so badly that he yelped. Whipping around, he saw her standing in the center of the trail, blocking his escape. "I--I wasn't spying," he said, his voice raspy, his heart pounding. "I was walking. I saw you. I didn't mean for you to see me."

"Then you shouldn't wear watches with glow-in-the-dark dials." She gestured to his wrist.

He covered the watch self-consciously, feeling foolish, and turned to face her more fully. "You do this often?" he asked, trying to regain his composure. "Dance under the moon?"

"Are you a reporter?"

"No . . . I'm Brett Noland. Who are you?"

She studied him, tipping her head to one side. Moonlight flecked her hair. "Shayla," she said.

She stepped forward, and he saw that she was tall, almost as tall as he was, which, according to his mother, was shorter than his father had been. When he'd had a father. "I just moved here," Brett blurted out when Shayla brushed past him to return to the open field.

"I didn't think you looked like a regular."

"What do regulars look like?" He followed her, suddenly not wanting to be alone. The girl intrigued him.

"Where are you from?" she asked.

"Key West, Florida."

She stopped. "Did you live near the sea?"

"Key West is almost surrounded by the sea, so yeah, I lived near it."

"Is it beautiful in the sunlight?"

Brett thought it a very odd question but decided to humor her. "Well, yes. But why--"

"Different from the sea up here, isn't it?"

"Everything's different up here, including the sea," he said bitterly. He and his mother had moved to the coastal town of Harden, Massachusetts, two weeks before. She'd taken a new job with a small seafood manufacturing plant, telling Brett it was time for a change, and no amount of begging her not to move had changed her mind. She kept telling him it was a big promotion, more money, a better opportunity. "And we'll be living closer to Boston Children's Hospital than we do to Miami Children's Hospital," she'd added, as if that would justify totally uprooting his life.

Brett hated his new location, a backwater town that squatted between the hills and woods to the west and the craggy shoreline of the ocean to the east. Industry consisted of fisheries that stunk of salt brine and fish processing. One of those fisheries had hired his mother to manage the office and product shipments. In the Keys, the ocean was pale green, warm and spiked with the smells of exotic flowers and tropical breezes. Here the coast was lined with rocks, not soft white sand. It was harsh, wild, unfriendly.

"You don't sound too happy to be here," Shayla said.

"I wanted to stay in Key West. I'll be a senior, and I wanted to finish school with my friends, but Mom took a new job, and I lost out."

"Tough break."

"You live here?"

"All my life."

"So what's school like?"

"I don't go to school."

Her answer caught him off guard. "Are you homeschooled?"


"What's that?"

"I go to school on the Internet. And sometimes a homebound teacher comes over and spends time with me."

He was taken aback. Homebound teachers only came to help sick kids. He knew that for a fact. Shayla looked normal, better than normal. "Do you live around here?"

"Beyond the woods. How about you?"

"Mom's renting a cabin." He motioned behind him, feeling awkward. Shayla wasn't forthcoming with information, and Brett didn't have much experience with girls. He was usually shy around them, perplexed and mystified by their capricious natures.

Shayla held the chiffon scarf across her eyes and peered up at the moon. "Pretty, isn't it?"

"Yes," he said, meaning both the moon and her. Now that he was closer, he saw that she really was pretty. Her hair fell straight and sleek almost to her waist. Her eyes were almond shaped and in the pale light looked like clear glass. He wondered what color they might be. "Did you sneak out to meet someone?"

"Did you?"

"Do you ever answer a question straight out?"

She laughed, and he thought that made her even prettier. "So tell me, Brett Noland, what did you think when you saw me dancing in the moonlight? Did you think I was crazy?"

"Are you?" Two could play her game of double questions.

"No." She threw the scarf into the air, and they both watched it flutter downward. "To both questions," she said. "I'm not crazy and I'm not meeting anyone."

"You just like to run around in the moonlight?"


He wanted to put her on the defensive. "I know--you're Titania."

"The fairy queen from Midsummer Night's Dream? Is that who you think I am?"

He was shocked that she had instantly known the character from Shakespeare's play. He read constantly, especially the classics, but knew few his age who did the same. "A druid then," he said.

"I don't worship trees," Shayla said with a toss of her head.

"You're a sprite."

"I'm too tall for a pixie."

"A ghost?"

"Some think so."

A shiver shot up his spine. This experience was turning surreal.

"Are you out of guesses?" she asked, making him feel undereducated, as if he'd forgotten some major category.

"I'm thinking," he said, racking his brain for another class of mythical beings who showed up only at night. He snapped his fingers. "Werewolves! No, wait--you don't have enough body hair to be a werewolf."

Again she laughed. "I think only men can be werewolves."

"You're right." He searched his memory, warming to the game they were playing. "Ah . . . I know, vampires come out at night. Are you a vampire?"

She looked straight at him and he felt his heart race crazily. The moon glowed along her hair, lit her face. Her skin was the color of sand, her eyes luminous, hypnotic pools. "Yes," she said. "I am."

From the Hardcover edition.

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How Do I Love Thee 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 97 reviews.
dachely More than 1 year ago
These three stories were really cute. I cried. Alot. The three stories were attached by one poem. In every story, one way or another, the main character reads it. If you want an emotional, unforgetable and achingly sweet book to read, this one is the one you've been looking for. Once again, Lurlene McDaniel steals my heart away with her precious writing.
ramenxloser More than 1 year ago
Personally, its an okay book. There are some that she written that is better but this is better than others. The storyline was good. In all three stories, the main character's love one dies in very different ways but they are connected by this one book. Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browing. My favorite would have to be the first tale, Night Vision. Go check it out. ;]
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great book i think that this is a very touching book i'v read it abut 8 times keep on writing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is amazing..i cryed like a baby. ive read it twice so far and i highly recommend it:)
Wolfa-girl More than 1 year ago
These stories were so touching and inspiring, not to mention well written! They're all so sweet. I just about cried my eyes out during the last story (Laura's Heart), although the other stories were definitely "cry worthy" too. You MUST read this book!
Pinklove_ More than 1 year ago
The stories were pretty good.The last one I must admit made me cry!
Full_Moon More than 1 year ago
??Once I've read the first page I couldn't stop to read the book. It's soo romantic and I've also cried in some parts of the stories but this is a 5 star rating. Once you read this will blow your mind and your heart.??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love music, and l want to go into it myself! And it doesn't matter how old you are. Taylor Swift was 14. <br> It depends. Do you want to play an instrument for a famous singer, or sing yourself? I'm assuming the latter. <br> Record yourself on a CD. If you play guitar, better. You could go into a recording studio, give them your CD and contact info. And wait. That's what Taylor Swift did. It'd be easier to record yourself and post it on YouTube. You can write your n songs, or sing songs by other people. I suggest trying to write a song. <br> About writing a song, l've heard of this app or soething were you can watch (short) videos from celebrities on how to do something. Writing a song was one of them. <br> There's a college that l bieve is in Nashville. It has to do with music and other arts. You could go there. That's where Trisha Yearwood went, and look where she is now! <br> One mor thing: Many, singers get their career from winning a singing show. You can try out for American Idol or the Voice. I would research both first, so you know what to expect. I will say that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood both won American Idol. <br> <p> I wish you luck. Keep us all updated! I'd love to see how a peer is farring in the music world. Good luck! <br> -Bird &#31609
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(Nashville was Taylor's starter) Another option, find a way to record yourself and get yourself a cd of songs you sang. Make multiple copies, and go on a radio tour, lik walk into the big radio place, say hi I am so and so, please listen to this, and walk out. Also, perform live anywhere you can.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With it depends. I will do the same. Be like 5SOS and start on youtube and create a sml band d star playing some awesome songs! ~Julie &#9786
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What kind of Music? You<_>tube is the best option, if you dont know how or don have a youtube acount you can send my e-<_>mail video. I this option disturbs you to much, just tell me. (Not saying my e-<_>mail until you agrees.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do I go about getting in the music business? I have one year until I can try to pursue my dreams. Can anyone give me help on how to work towards my dream? How to get there when I can? Anything will help.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love her books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its so sad that he has cancer opps cant tell u the rest
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutly outstanding! Very nicely written, and also very interesting. I couldn't put the book down for second because it was that awesomr of a book. The story has a meaning more than life, if you know what I mean. I totally recomend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is soo awesome. I cried after i read Bobby's girl.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont know find out on your own! Ha tricked yyou! :))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All three stories were very heart-warming and touching. Lurlene Mcdaniel is a great writter and my favorite author. From this book all three stories were great espically "Bobby's Girl".
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