Review: Losing Gabriel by Lurlene McDaniel

June 12, 2016 Review 14 ★★★

Review: Losing Gabriel by Lurlene McDaniel
Losing Gabriel by Lurlene McDaniel
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Pages: 336
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Genres: Death & Dying, Family, Friendship, General, Social Themes, Young Adult
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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.
This book may be unsuitable for younger readers due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence. Note that this review itself does not contain any inappropriate material.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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LOSING GABRIEL is an incredibly realistic contemporary novel about what it is like to be a young adult facing real-world challenges and having to take responsibility for your actions. It is also about love, loss, mistakes, and miracles.

The novel immediately introduces you to three protagonists: the studious and good-natured Alana Kennedy, Dawson Burke, who has a chip on his shoulder, and Sloan Quentin, a girl who was arguably dealt a bad hand in life. Each character has his or her own unique characteristics and personalities, making for a really interesting dynamic.

LOSING GABRIEL feels like a story that is being told to you by a close friend due to third person POV. You’re emotionally involved, but can’t help but still feel a little disconnect from the characters. I knew what motivated the characters, but I still wasn’t able to fully feel where they were coming from when they made their decisions, which also made me doubt how genuine the romance was.

However, that would probably be my only qualm. It was interesting to see Sloan, Dawson, and Lani gradually evolve and become who they are supposed to be. Dealing with real issues like drug abuse, death, unprotected sex, and other important topics, LOSING GABRIEL is a story that holds a lot of truth in it. While it does focus on the life of the three main characters, I never felt bored because it was so interesting to get a glimpse into their lives. With an open ending full of hope, it’s nice to imagine where all the characters will end up.

This was my first book by Lurlene McDaniel but it will probably not be my last. However, next time I read something by her, I’m definitely going to be more prepared for all those feels!

Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Pacing
Romance
Overall: 3

14 Responses to “Review: Losing Gabriel by Lurlene McDaniel”

    • Alise

      I actually tend to like first person better, haha, so you may have a bit more luck with this one. Sure!

    • Alise

      Yeah I’ve also seen a lot from this author and how she writes really good romances! I agree :) Sure!

  1. Romi

    Oh, this is such a lovely review, Alise! I’ve never heard of this book, and although I’m not sure whether it would be the perfect read for me, I really do like the sound of quite a few elements, and how character driven it is- it can be difficult, I think, in novels that have such a focus on the character development, because sometimes it feels as if you sacrifice getting to know them for their development, and that effect can negate the development because you end up not really knowing/caring about the character in the first place. I think with Losing Gabriel there might be a nice balance, though, at least for the most part- you do say you felt a bit of disconnect, so I guess you could definitely have been more invested in their story.

    I’m actually really liking the sound of the three characters and their different goals, espcially Lani, who just sounds like such an impassioned and emotionally driven character. I feel like, of the three, she and Sloan are the two that would captivate me.
    xx
    Romi recently posted…Why is This Night Different From all Other Nights by Lemony Snicket…

    • Alise

      Thank you so much! I totally agree, sadly, sometimes it’s just one or the other. I tend to struggle with relating to characters, especially in third person so that might be it. I’m glad that you are liking the sound of this one :) Sloan is definitely an interesting character because there are so many sides of her.

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