Lurlene McDaniel, who normally write novels about children with severe illness, changes her direction in Prey, which is about a student/teacher relationship. Told through different perspectives, this novel does a good job of illustrating the dangerous predator/prey interaction.
Ryan is a freshman who, on the first day of school, discovers that his world history teacher, Lori Settles, is beyond attractive. As a freshman boy he is turned on and, when she asks him for help after school moving furniture in her apartment, he sees a chance to get a little closer to her. Her invitation, though, isn't as innocent as it seems to him. Lori had her eyes set on him from the first day, too, knowing that with a little encouragement, they could have the relationship she longs for with him. True to her hopes, after a few meetings at a coffee shop, their relationship turns into something physical and Ryan is soon sneaking around his father and friends to connect with her. Meanwhile, Ryan's friend Honey, who has a crush on him, starts to notice that he's not the same person he was. He's not showing up for their plans and rarely hangs out with his friends anymore. Since secrets can't stay hidden forever, it's only a matter of time before the truth comes out and everyone's lives are changed. The only problem is, though, what happens when the supposed victim doesn't feel like one?
This book did a good job of making Lori seem like a predator. From the very beginning she honed in on her prey and meticulously set things in motion to have him come to her. When they were together, then, she sucked him into her secrets and turned him into something else. She became controlling and made Ryan feel guilty for wanting to have his normal life to the point that he even starts to lie to her. The book really made her look like the enemy. As for Ryan, he was genuinely torn due to the mind control of Lori, but, at the same time, he decided his own fate when he got with her, so can you really feel bad for him? The novel wraps up nicely with a jump three years in the future to discover how Ryan really feels about the situation and how truly sick and twisted the whole mess was.
I thought the novel delivered nicely. At first it felt a little choppy, but once the entanglement began, you wanted to know how it all played out because you knew they'd get caught. I don't know if loyal Lurlene McDaniel fans will go for the book because it isn't her typical, although an author's note does state that it has similar themes. There may be some similarities and connections, but I can't compare. As an outsider reading this book, I enjoyed it and would recommend picking it up.