A teacher is supposed to impart a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge. It's a bit different with Ms. Lori Settles. All the kids are talking about how hot she is-and she is especially interested in Ryan Piccoli. When she starts giving Ryan extra attention, he's feeling more than happy-at first. He's used to being the class clown, but really he's a loner. One day after school, the friendship with Lori Settles goes farther than he ever expected. She's his teacher. She's at least twice his age. Intimacy with a teacher is wrong, yet it feels so good in every way. Soon, Lori is making demands and Ryan begins to feel overwhelmed, but Ryan refuses to even admit anything is going on. Something immoral is going on and before too long the choices made will change lives forever.From the Hardcover edition.
McDaniel (Don't Die, My Love) forsakes her typical weeper for a cautionary tale about a high school freshman seduced by his history teacher. On the first day of class, Ryan "locks eyes" with the stiletto-wearing, cleavage-baring Ms. Settles ("I feel heat") and watches her bend over a desk drawer ("The sweaterdress hugs her backside, and I want to do the same"). Describing the same encounter, the teacher says, "I stare at him and the room seems to recede. A halo of light encircles him and suddenly, I know... he'll be the One." The two become sexually involved and mutually obsessed, arousing the suspicions (and jealousy) of Ryan's longtime friend Honey, who wishes she were his girlfriend. McDaniel furnishes the souped-up drama her fans crave, and even the denouement has its soapy excess (Ryan, about to be reunited with the now-vilified and convicted Ms. Settles, asks, "Which of us is the predator and which the prey?"). Readers interested in a more sophisticated, psychologically astute treatment of the same subject should see last fall's Boy Toyby Barry Lyga (Reviews, Sept. 3, 2007). Ages 12-up. (Feb.)
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Delacorte Books for Young Readers
February 11, 2008
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Excerpt from Prey by Lurlene McDaniel
Day one. New school year. New school. Freshman status. Same old Ryan Piccoli. Me, myself and I, lost in the masses--heading to new classes, new teachers, new everything. This is the thing about big high schools like McAllister. People can look right at you, right through you, as if you're Casper the Friendly Ghost. "Hey, watch where you're going, turd." I've bumped into a senior, a jock, and he's snarling at me. I bow slightly and get out of his way. He'd stopped without warning in the middle of the hall. I say, "Sorry, my bad. I didn't see the traffic light over your head giving you the right of way." His pretty girlfriend looks me over, giggles. The guy puffs up. "Take off, creep." He turns and I take a chance and wink at his girlfriend. She's pretty, but off-limits. She blows me a kiss when her boyfriend isn't looking and I watch them take off down the crowded hallway. Wait for it, I think, and am rewarded when she glances over her shoulder to make sure I'm still watching. Gotcha! I can make people like me, even when they don't want to. A talent that got me through middle school--just ask my teachers. If you can't make them love you, make them like you. How, you ask? Make 'em laugh. A survival skill I learned early in life. I'm wishing the day was ending instead of just starting. My summer was pretty laid-back, sleeping in and staying up until three in the morning on my computer. I hung at the pool at the country club, worked on my tan, lifted weights in my garage every afternoon. For a freshman nobody, I look pretty good. At least that's what some girls hanging at the pool said. Sure, they were only eleven and twelve, but girls' opinions are always worth something to me. With school starting up, though, talking to the global universe and gaming are over. "Ry! Wait up." I turn and see Joel weaving through the hall traffic. When he reaches me, he asks, "You home this afternoon?" He'd been a regular drop-by at my place through middle school. My dad's in sales and he travels a lot, so except for a housekeeper now and then, I'm pretty much on my own most days of the week. "As soon as the bus drops me," I say. "Forget the bus. I'll give you a lift." Joel's had a car since July. I won't turn sixteen until December and that's when I hope Dad will get me a car. Until then, I'm at the mercy of the school bus and a few friends who have their own wheels. "All right," I tell him. "I got the new Grand Slam Poker game on Saturday." Joel's eyes light up. "I'm in." "It's tricky." "Bring it on. You're lucky your dad gets you stuff like that. I have to save every cent and buy stuff I want myself." Lucky? I think. It's a bribe, Joel, my man. Dad buys me stuff because he sheds guilt over leaving me alone so much like a shaggy dog sheds hair. His guilt is my ticket to the latest and greatest. A guy adapts. The foot traffic in the hall has thinned and the first bell buzzes. "I'm gone," I say, waving my schedule. "Wait by the gym," Joel calls, and takes off in the other direction. My first class is World History from Ancient to Modern Times, and by the time I get there, all the seats in the back of the room are taken. I find an empty one in the middle of the third row and slide into it, curling my legs. Man, these things must be left over from some elementary school. The room smells of chalk dust and stale air. All schools smell the same. If someone blindfolded you and led you through a maze ending in a classroom, you'd know in an instant where you were by the smells. The door shuts and a woman's voice says, "Welcome to WHAM--your free pass to Tomorrow Land. I'm Ms. Settles." I look up because I can feel an undercurrent flowing through the room. I hear the guy next to me exhale a soft "wow." Ms. Settles is gorgeous. Straight