The Year of Luminous Love
By Lurlene McDaniel
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Source: PublisherSummary: In the vein of Eat, Pray, Love, but for teens, this inspirational novel is set against the backdrop of Tennessee horse country as well as the historic cities of Italy and the Italian countryside. The story unfolds as three teenage girls, recently graduated from high school, plan the next phase of their lives while dealing with immediate life issues. McDaniel subtly explores the many types of love the girls experience--including love for one's family, one's friends, and intimate love--and the sacrifices they choose to make (or not) for each of them.
Review: I was over the moon excited to read this book. Not only is the cover gorgeous and it was described as an Eat Pray Love for teens, but I am also a huge fan of Lurlene McDaniel. So I had huge expectations that this one would be a super awesome read, but it was just too unrealistic for my taste.
Arie, Eden, and Ciana are best friends that have recently graduated from high school and they've all got some pretty big problems. Arie is fighting cancer, Eden is dealing with a bipolar mom and a possessive boyfriend, and Ciana has to run her farm with an alcoholic mother. The girls go off to Italy to forget their troubles, hoping to find love and life in the middle of their hectic pasts.
The first thing that stopped me from loving this book were the main characters. I just didn't really care about any of them and it was pretty unbelievable that ALL of them would have really horrible lives. Seriously, how come Arie has the only good family? BOTH Ciana and Eden have horrible mothers and don't even have a dad. I think that's just putting on the problems a little too thick. Also, what's up with the names? I had no idea how to pronounce Arie or Ciana during the entire book. And Eden is definitely not a normal name. Why do the characters have to be so different in their lives and their names?
Going onto the story, that was pretty unbelievable as well. I really didn't like the insta-love between Jon and CIana, and then all she could do was think of him, even when she was across the world. And then some 29-year-old gorgeous hot-shot Italian decides he's in love with her? Yeah, sure. It seemed like all the girls got guys no problem and it was kind of annoying. Then, the dialogue was pretty unbelievable at times, especially their excessive use of similes. Just thinking of the things they said being spoken out loud was pretty unbelievable.
While the idea behind the story of three best friends discovering life and love was a really intriguing idea, it fell way short when actually reading the book. With characters I didn't really care for and an unrealistic plot and dialogue, I was more annoyed than happy when reading this book. Some parts were pretty good, but overall I had expected a lot more from this book.