In the same vein as Teach Me by R.A. Nelson and Boy Toy by Barry Lyga, Lurlene McDaniel writes PREY, the story of a fifteen-year-old boy who gets involved with his much older female teacher. This is a very short book told in alternating chapters by Ryan (the young man), Lori (the teacher), and Honey (Ryan’s best friend who has been nursing a major crush on him for years).
Throughout the book the reader can see that Lori intends to start a relationship with Ryan from the first minute she meets him. She is manipulative and easily seduces Ryan. We can see that Lori suffers from deep scars caused by her father and is plagued by bouts of depression. She isn’t a likeable character because of her attitude towards men. She uses her body as a tool to get what she wants and doesn’t consider it a bad thing at all.
Ryan is a typical teenager. He has a nice group of friends, plays video games, and keeps up with his school work. Once his relationship with Lori starts though, things change. He stops hanging out with Honey and his other friends and his school work begins to suffer. Most of the time he loves being with Lori, but sometimes misses his old life where there wasn’t anything to worry about except grades and getting a car.
Honey is the first person to realize that Ryan isn’t acting like himself. She takes it upon herself to find out what is going on and her actions lead to some major fallout.
My main problem with the book is the final chapter which takes place three years after the affair ends. I have a feeling the author was trying to illustrate how emotionally damaging it is for a young person to be in this type of relationship, but it came off weird. Things about Ryan’s personality that we were never introduced to in the book come out in the last couple of pages (things about his life even before his relationship with Lori). Whereas without this final information I liked Ryan, but after reading the final chapter, he seemed like a creep. I’m anxious to hear what other people think about this. Is it just me? Let me know in a comment.
There is some strong language in the book, but the sex scenes aren’t very graphic. Still this isn’t a book for middle schoolers. Boy Toy and Teach Me are much better examples of this storyline.