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don't die, my love Don’t Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel | Rating: ★★★★★

“When you’re up against a superior enemy, sometimes it’s okay to just bow out gracefully”

I will always, always have a soft spot for Lurlene McDaniel’s books. She is, after all, one of the authors who truly got me into reading. Don’t Die, My Love is perhaps one of her most popular works and has all the love and tragedy that became her signature in fiction. Without over exaggerating, I need to tell you guys this: THIS is her best work, even decades later. It’s beautiful and tragic, yet oddly hopeful as she explores the touchy subject of first loves and the loss of your loved one.

Truly, Don’t Die stands the test of time.

Lurlene McDaniel approaches illness, death and the sudden loss with an undeniably realistic tone which shows us the tragedy of life and the difficulty of coping. It’s a perfect addition to any ones book collection, but in particular it’s excellent for preteens/teens, because of the touchy subject material.

This novel shows the harsh reality of life and illness. It isn’t easy and it isn’t pretty, but the strength you witness in her characters as they navigate these hardships is so inspiring. She can break your heart and put it back together within the span of her stories and there’s no way to possibly explain it.

Don’t Die, My Love follows Julie Ellis and Luke Muldenhower, a pair of teenage sweethearts who’s fate as lovers seemed to have been sealed many, many years ago. You see instantly that the two are crazy for one another — in love, supportive and genuinely sweet. Their romance has been blooming since childhood; the perfectly sweet path to love.

They just fit together in the way that so many people hope for when it comes to the relationships; a delightful example of first loves.

You really want for it to be that simple when it comes to these two.

But it isn’t — when Luke thinks he’s struggling to beat a flu, the unthinkable comes to light upon being diagnosed with cancer; not a virus as he originally thought. Just like that, the world shifts and changes for these two and your heart breaks just as much as theirs. Instead of destroying their relationship, their love for one another grows and Julie supports him through it all.

It’s true love, for these two. Nothing will ever change that.

Lurlene captions the essence of teen love really incredibly well and the story progresses at a realistic pace. She doesn’t sugar coat the struggles Luke faces with his health and his path is that of something which requires a lot of tissues. Luke, in spite of his struggles, remains just as warm and loving as he’s always been; although there is angst and sadness throughout the story, it’s something organic.
I will always, always recommend this novel.

Also in recommendation: a box of tissues, your favorite sweet treats and a whole lot of time to recover from the emotional ride you’ve buckled yourself into upon picking up this novel.

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