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The Year of Luminous Love

The Year of Luminous Love

4.6 7
by Lurlene McDaniel

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For fans of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, this inspirational novel is set in Tennessee horse country, as well as the historic cities and picturesque countryside of Italy. As the story unfolds, three girls, recently graduated from high school, plan the next phase of their lives while dealing with complicated issues. Author Lurlene McDaniel


For fans of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, this inspirational novel is set in Tennessee horse country, as well as the historic cities and picturesque countryside of Italy. As the story unfolds, three girls, recently graduated from high school, plan the next phase of their lives while dealing with complicated issues. Author Lurlene McDaniel subtly explores the many types of love—including love for one's family and friends, and intimate love—and the sacrifices the girls face.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McDaniel's (Red Heart Tattoo) latest drama centers on the tumultuous lives of three best friends during the summer after their high school graduation. Ciana is contending with an alcoholic mother and trying to take care of her family farm. Arie has been fighting cancer (and a smothering family) for years. And Eden is weighed down by her possessive drug-dealer boyfriend, her impulses to harm herself, and a mother with bipolar disorder. When Ciana's grandmother leaves her a large college fund, Ciana invites her friends to leave their small Tennessee town to vacation at a villa in Tuscany. There, they discover that some relationships and realities will follow them anywhere, including a romantic conflict between two of the girls. In Tuscany and Rome, the girls encounter worldly men, explore historical sights, and reassess their priorities. The emotional chemistry between the friends can be slight at times, but the story's themes of escape, freedom, horse riding, and finding love should have a strong pull for romance fans. Ages 12–up. Agent: Meg Ruley, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (May)
VOYA - Adrienne Amborski
Well-known teen author Lurlene McDaniel introduces three friends who each have obstacles to face and dilemmas to solve. The Year Of Luminous Love begins a new series introducing Ciana, Arie, and Eden, who are freshly graduated from high school. Arie and Ciana plan to attend college in the fall while Eden is struggling with her prospects as the girlfriend of a high-rolling drug dealer. Ciana has inherited the family farm and must decide the fate of the land she now owns, while dealing with her alcoholic mother. Arie has fought cancer since childhood and faces the reality that it could return anytime. Eden, who is involved in a controlling relationship, must find a way to break free. Enter Jon Mercer, a rugged cowboy with a kind heart who attracts the romantic attention of both Ciana and Arie, and the drama unfolds. Using inheritance funds, Ciana decides to treat her friends to an Italian summer getaway. While touring Italy, the girls encounter romantic possibilities and chances to start anew. Add a charming Australian on a "walkabout," a wealthy Italian vineyard owner, and an unexpected visit from the handsome Jon Mercer to the lush setting and this is an engaging read. Unfortunately, the carefree days of Italy come to an end when the girls are confronted with life's harsh realities. Will Arie's health fade? Will Eden return to her abusive boyfriend? Will Ciana attend college or remain home to run the family farm? McDaniel weaves a well written story with characters that realistically embody personalities of contemporary young women. Delivered in true McDaniel style, the story will have readers needing to break out the tissues. Fans will anxiously await the next installment in this series bound to be popular with readers who enjoy romance and drama. Reviewer: Adrienne Amborski
VOYA - Gwen Amborski
The Year Of Luminous Love is a tear-jerker novel. Like most McDaniel novels, the book does not disappoint. The writing is well executed. The only negative aspect is trying to keep straight the various characters' points of view. Readers who enjoy realistic love stories will enjoy this title. Reviewer: Gwen Amborski, Teen Reviewer
From the Publisher
Seventeen.com, April 10, 2013:
"The Year Of Luminous Love will definitely tug at your heart strings, and will make you so grateful for your friends....If you've ever wanted to start a book club with your friends, this is the read to go for! You'll love it if you're a fan of Eat, Pray, Love. You'll devour this pick!"

Romantic Times Book Review, April 2013:
"The Year of Luminous Love expertly pulls at readers' heartstrings and wrings emotion. Vintage McDaniel!"

Publishers Weekly, April 29, 2013:
"In Tuscany and Rome, the girls encounter worldly men, explore historical sights, and reassess their priorities...The story's themes of escape, freedom, horse riding, and finding love should have a strong pull for romance fans."

Booklist, May 1, 2013:
"McDaniel’s breathless saga takes readers from picturesque Tennessee horse country to sun-washed Tuscan vineyards, all the while establishing characters worth caring about. McDaniel fans won’t want to miss this age-appropriate Eat, Pray, Love—well, it has the eating and the love at least—and they’ll eagerly await the follow-up, The Year of Chasing Dreams."

School Library Journal, May 2013:
"Will tempt teens seeking a dramatic summer read."

Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
Is love true if it is unrequited? Dangerous? Unattainable? Recent high school graduates and best friends Ciana, Arie and Eden spend their summer following their high school graduation exploring the many facets of love. Arie, struggling to overcome her life-long battle with cancer, falls hard for the handsome cowboy training her new horse. But is her love one-sided? Eden, dealing with an absent father, a bipolar mother and an increasingly controlling drug-dealer boyfriend, must come to grips with a dangerous love that may threaten her very existence. Ciana, trying to manage her beloved family farm despite her a gin-addled widowed mother, is shocked to discover the hunky rodeo rider she thought she'd lost turn up where she least expects it. What she thought was love at first sight may be anything but. With things getting increasingly tense at home, Ciana decides to take advantage of her grandmother's unexpected inheritance, Arie's remission, and Eden's increasing isolated world, to escape to Italy on a once-in-a-lifetime trip that will test and strengthen their friendship and their understanding of love. Despite the lame title, often clunky dialogue, and the absurd level of bad luck attributed to the girls, the book pulls you in and won't let you go. Not your typical teen beach read, there are no neat endings, but plenty of inspiration and even hope. Contemporary teen readers likely won't find underage drinking, fake ids, premarital sex or cutting—along with all the other aforementioned issues—to be all that shocking, but parents and teachers may wish to recommend this book to high school rather than middle school students. Readers who get hooked will be pleased to learn that the girls' story continues in the companion novel, The Year of Chasing Dreams, set to be published in 2014. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—While this novel lacks substance and the characters are stereotypical, readers who clamor for pure escapist chick lit might like it. The plot centers on the friendship and growing pains of three friends in Tennessee trying to figure out what to do with their lives after high school. Ciana's once-prominent family now has little money since her father and grandfather died in a plane crash. Her grandmother is near death and her mother is an alcoholic, so Ciana runs the family's massive property. Arie has a huge family and no money, and has been battling cancer off and on since she was five years old. Eden's mother is bipolar and left Eden to raise herself through much of her formative years. Eden is attached to Tony, who is a drug lord and very controlling. Arie is infatuated with Jon Mercer, a horse trainer, but Ciana met him and the two became attached before Ciana knew about Arie's crush. Instead of starting college in the fall, Ciana decides to take her friends to Italy for three months to help Eden escape Tony and give Arie her dream of travel and art. This slight, accessible story will tempt teens seeking a dramatic summer read.—Elizabeth Kahn, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)
HL700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

LURLENE MCDANIEL began writing inspirational novels about teenagers facing life-altering situations when her son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Her novels are hard-hitting and realistic, but also leave readers with inspiration and hope. Her books have received acclaim from readers, teachers, parents, and reviewers. Her bestselling novels include Don't Die, My Love; Till Death Do Us Part; Hit and Run; Telling Christina Goodbye; True Love: Three Novels; and The End of Forever.

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The Year of Luminous Love 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
   Love. That is the theme of this book and it is explored in so many ways. It's neat to see the many ways that love can be dysfunctional through the families that hurt one another, and then the sharp contrast of another family who tragedy pulls them together instead of apart and they are close. It also shows the extreme value of friendship and the love it offers.     As usual, Lurlene McDaniel hits the hard and emotional issues, and deals with them with elegance but still in a realistic and easy to relate to way of writing. The characters feel real, and I am able to sympathize with them and want the best for them. It is hard to see them hurting or going through hard things, but I know that the character growth and their journey will be so worth it. They all have their own hard problems, Arie has been sick, Eden used to cut and is in a non-traditional and controlling relationship, and Cialina takes care of her grandma who is sick and from the blurb, we know she is going to die.      Their friendship was a huge draw for me, I appreciated how close they were and how they supported each other. My issue was only that they kept huge secrets from one another at times, and while they may have done it for good reasons, it only caused more pain than they were trying to prevent.      The different kinds of love that they showed was important to, and that relationships can be different things to different people at different times.      I will say though, that if it were just going from the blurb, I don't know that I would have picked this book up, but Lurlene McDaniel is an auto-read and I am glad that I gave it the time.     This is darker than her other works, but still has the same themes and emotional roller coaster type feelings.       The Year of Luminous love has a bittersweet ending that ties up the book well. It leaves quite a few things resolved but open. That is okay though because there is a companion novel that will be released.  Bottom Line: Emotional and powerful novel about friendship, love, grief, pain and healing. 
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
I'm always up for a good Western. If not for the setting, I may not have picked up this novel because of the heavy content, and also because I tend not to pick up novels that advertise dystopic relationships and love at first sight. I'm glad that I gave it a chance because I ended up really liking this novel. I'm also not typically fond of multiple perspectives. However, it really worked for this novel. Ciana, Eden, and Arie all have something to add to the story. Seeing the world from each of their perspectives help round out the plot, and I enjoyed getting to know them. Some may find this novel overly dark and depressing because they all have issues in their private lives. For me, the girls' problems added to their characters. More importantly, the author made me feel for the characters. Ciana is the girl who sacrifices herself to protect those she cares about. This also means that she's slow to open her heart, even to her closest friends. She's the girl that I ended up sympathizing with the most. Her life isn't as tough as that of the other girls on the surface level, but she keeps a lot bottled up inside. Arie is the sunny one, the girl that everyone cares about. However, she's been fighting cancer for as long as anyone can remember, and she doesn't know when her time may come to an end. She's sweet and very sheltered because people tend to coddle her, something that she wishes they wouldn't do. Eden is the observant one and a bit of a loner. Being in a difficult place in life, she's seen many of the world's dark sides. I respect her for her personal strength and admire her courage to keep going through life after all that's happened to her. Plot-wise, there are many threads weaving through the story, and it's almost magical how everything comes together in the end. This is a story about three friends entering the big bad world. They experience many hardships, some most of us will never have to encounter, and yet it's still relatable. At heart, the girls are just that--girls. They want to live, laugh, and laugh. They're not always able to do so, but they make the most out of what life sends them, and they still manage to stay close and happy for the most part. I recommend this novel to those who enjoy a dark contemporary. Content: There are some sexual scenes, language, violence, drugs, abuse, cancer, manic-depressive disorder.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Little confusing when Myriad and the kitten were talking. Couldn't figure out who was talking and who was shuddering but thats kinda hard to do on a nook. Overall, great job!
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Lurlene McDaniel continues writing about relationships, loss, and grief but this time she begins a new series aimed at older readers than with her previous teen novels.  The three protagonists have graduated from high school and are spending their last summer together before going out into the world.  Each girl has dark issues going on in her life and must rely on the friendship of the other two to help her get through the issue.  Because of the age of the young ladies, there is mature content; while not described, it is obvious that sexual activity has taken place.  Abuse and drug use also take place.  Strong language might be inappropriate for younger readers.   There are a few story lines that didn't set well with me:  only one of the girls has what appears to be a good upbringing while the other two you just have to feel sorry for, the loss of virginity by a guy who is in with the girl's best friend, the back and forth romance of each character.  While these things are plausible, it felt like McDaniel was trying to put too much into the story.  BUT this book is a good selection for older teens who want a bridge between soft teen romance and dystopian novels and adult books.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an amazing book!!! Read it read it read it!!!!