Briana's Gift

Briana's Gift

by Lurlene McDaniel


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Thirteen-year-old Casey's mother always said that Casey's sixteen-year-old sister marched to the beat of a different drummer. But it isn't until Briana runs away with an older boy that Casey begins to understand what her mother meant. When Briana returns home alone and pregnant, Casey and her mother try to help Briana come to terms with her options.

It was already complicated to think about Briana's choices and then things change suddenly again. When Briana is in a serious accident, Casey's mother sees things one way. Although Casey understands her mother's reaction, she feels she must try to convince her mother to make a different decision. Casey needs to grow up fast and do what she can to maintain Briana's legacy. Will she be able to make her mother understand that there is only one way to accept Briana's gift?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385731607
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 10/10/2006
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 4.50(w) x 7.19(h) x 0.78(d)
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About the Author

Lurlene McDaniel is the #1 author of inspirational fiction for young adults. The author lives in Chattanooga, TN.

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Briana's Gift

Chapter One


I'm probably the only girl in the world who hates the month of December. I know Christmas comes in December, but so what? Every bad, awful thing that's ever happened in my family has happened in December. Like when I was five and Daddy died in an accident at the steel mill just two weeks before Christmas and we had to move to Tennessee and live with Grandma. And when I was eight and Mom was told in the first week of December she had rheumatoid arthritis and so she couldn't work and had to set up her own at-home business. And when I was almost fourteen, my sister, Briana, ran away from home on a cold December Saturday, just after school let out for the holiday break.

Mom said later, "I should have seen it coming."

But neither of us had.

Our mother always said that Briana marched to the beat of a different drummer, which I totally got because I'm in the marching band at school and staying in step is a must. When she was just sixteen, Bree took off with Jerry Stevens, a nineteen-year-old guy Mom called "worthless, hateful and without a lick of sense," but that Bree swore she loved more than anything. Bree and Mom had lots of fights about Bree dating Jerry, and then on a Saturday morning when Mom had driven into town to Pruitt's Food Mart for groceries, Bree comes down the stairs with two suitcases and a duffel bag and drops them at the front door.

"Where you going?" Iask. I'm sprawled on the sofa watching a cartoon and eating Cheetos. I like the old cartoons; plus, it's a good way to spend a Saturday until Mom makes me do my chores, which wasn't going to happen until she came home from the store. My fingers are covered with orange Cheetos dust and I lick them.

Bree scowls. "That's disgusting." She looks out the high glass window of the door. "I'm leaving."

"For where?"

"Los Angeles."


"Me and Jerry are going to find jobs."

"You don't know anyone in Los Angeles," I remind her. We live in farm country, in Duncanville, a small town in middle Tennessee, three hours from Nashville, only forty minutes from Chattanooga, which I guess Bree figures are both too close to home.

"We're going clear across country, seeing everything there is to see on the way. When we get to Hollywood, we'll get a place of our own and be happy forever." Her green eyes sparkle.

"Mom's not going to let you go." Bree had taken off twice before and Mom had gotten the sheriff to fetch her home.

"It's different this time."

"How so?"

"I left a letter in my room. It explains everything."

"What about school?"

"I'm finished with school. I can quit if I want to. You finish school."


A horn honks outside and Bree throws open the door and grabs her bags. "I'm out of here."

I follow her onto the front porch, stop when I see Jerry's pickup in our dirt driveway. He jumps out, hugs Bree and tosses her bags into the open bed. "What did you pack, girl? The kitchen sink?" He never looks my way.

Bree laughs and kisses him. She says to me, "Go inside, Sissy."

I'm still wearing my sleep T-shirt and my legs and feet are bare. The cold has sliced right through me and frozen me to the porch.

Bree shoots Jerry an apologetic look, runs back and puts her arms around me. "It'll be all right, Sissy. I know what I'm doing."

I feel all hollow, scared too. I don't want my sister to leave.

"I'll send you postcards."

I stand still, my arms glued to my sides, fighting hard not to cry. I'm careful not to touch her with my disgusting orange fingers. "Why do you want to leave?"

"I don't want to be stuck in this place forever. This is my chance to go places with someone I love and who loves me."

The truck's horn beeps and I see Jerry scowling from behind the wheel. Bree breaks away. "I can't keep Jerry waiting." She bounds off the porch, runs to the truck, gets inside and rolls down the window. She calls out, "Tell Mom not to worry. I know what I want. I love you."

My voice is stuck in my throat and I can't say anything. I stand on the porch shivering and watch them drive away. And find another reason to hate December.

When Mom comes home, I tell her what's happened and we go up to Bree's room together. The usually messy bedroom is neat and clean. The bed's made up with the old quilt Grandma sewed before she died and the closet holds only old summer T's and empty hangers. Mom picks up the letter propped on Bree's pillow. As I watch her stiffened fingers rip open the envelope, I cry. "Shush," she says, her eyes darting over the page.

"Wh-what's it say?"

"She and Jerry are getting married."

"Call the sheriff, Mom. You can stop them."

"Why? Once they're married, I have no say in her life."

"But school-"

"She's sixteen, Susanna. You can't stop a river from flowing downstream, and I can't stop Bree from going her own way. I should have seen it coming."

Shock waves roll over me. Briana is gone. Really and truly gone.

Mom gets to her feet and her orthopedic shoes shuffle on the wood floor. "Come on now and help me bring in the groceries."

Bring in the groceries? How can she think about groceries when her daughter, my only sister, has just run off to get married to a guy Mom hates? I swipe at my eyes. Mom puts her arm around my shoulder. "She'll be back, Sissy."


"When he leaves her."

"But if they're married . . ."

"It's a lot easier to break promises than to keep them," Mom says. Her face looks sad. I still can't believe she isn't going to do anything to make Bree come back. "Come on now."

Mom shuts Bree's bedroom door behind us and we go downstairs.

Excerpted from Briana's Gift
by Lurlene McDaniel Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Briana's Gift 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was one of Lurlene McDaniel's best books. I read this one day none stop. Her books are amazing and people don't understand that she writes these books for them to get further knowledge about an illness. The characters of these books for teenagers who are dying, or in this case seventeen year olds getting pregnant then dying because of a tumor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Briana's Gift was an absolutely amazing book. Not all of Lurlene McDaniel books are love stories, the point of all of the books is to show that your life can change in a second and you need to live every second like it is your last. I personally enojoyed this book better than any of McDaniel's books. I think that everyone should read this book so that people will understand that getting pregnant at a young age is not only hurting you but also all of your family members who then have to take care of you and the baby. Unless, you have a case like this story where the mother dies... what would you feel like if you had to go and sit in a room with your sister and her body was there, but her soul wasnt. It would be very hard on everyone. I think this is one of the best writings from Lurlene McDaniel and I recomened it to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
briana's gift is a book that is dear to my heart and can make anyone feel thankful. i hear about this book on a website and finally i find it and was amazed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it made me cry i loved it i finished in 1 day!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey my name is Chloe Isabella-Grace Mullis. I am 15 years old. I live in New york. But i am homeschooled. Sadly. Well.anyways.Even if you dont like these kind of books you should deff give this one a try. I my self have met lurene and all her books are written for her son. I would totally get this book if i were you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most AMAZING I have ever read. I read it in 25 minutes. I could not put it down!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome but sad
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This book was amazing. Lurlene McDaniel is a wonderful writer. This can happen to anyone and reading all these books about real life illnesses. I feel so happy when the kept the baby!
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live_laugh_love24 More than 1 year ago
I was a little worried when I first got into this book but by page 25 i was completly hooked! It really taught me a good life lessen and even made me cry! I was so happy that the ending kept going strong unlike how most books dont. I am for sure going to reread this many many times! READ THIS BOOK ITS GREAT!