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The Decoding of Lana Morris by Laura McNeal
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The Decoding of Lana Morris

by Laura McNeal

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Again, the McNeals, with the great characters and the interesting situations. I loved the premise that what Lana draws comes to life. ( )
  periwinklejane | Mar 30, 2013 |
I’m so glad to have found these wonderful writers. Tom McNeal of course is the author of the ethereally beautiful To Be Sung Underwater and Laura McNeal, Tom's wife, is also the author of a number of prize-winning books (see her oeuvre delineated on their website, here). This collaboration by them for young adults has a plotline I normally would eschew, as it involves an occult element. However, in the right hands - like theirs - a bit of magic can be enchanting.

Lana Morris is a sixteen-year-old foster child who lives with four other foster children in the home of Veronica and “Whit” Winters. Lana's four foster siblings, Tilly, Carlito, Alfred, and Garth are “snicks;” i.e., SNKS or Special Needs Kids. Lana’s foster parents are a bit “special” themselves: Veronica is an “ice queen” who clearly is into fostering for the money, and Whit thinks that fostering children includes fostering a sexual desire in Lana for him. Lana struggles with her attraction for Whit in spite of his position in her life and their fifteen-year age difference, but Whit has no such scruples.

While at first, Lana is appalled to be living with "snicks," she comes to love them, and finds that she assesses the goodness of others - including the “semi-handsome” boy next store - by how they treat her foster-siblings. Lana wants to make all of their lives better, but doesn’t know how, until a serendipitous visit to an antiques store gives her what she needs to make her life go “from grim to good.”

Evaluation: I love these authors. They have taken topics I normally would avoid, and made a book that provides a stellar reading experience. It goes without saying that featuring protagonists with special needs is a rarity, and their portrayals ensure that you love each of the kids in the book as individuals. Especially noteworthy is the quality of the dialogue among the adults, the snicks, and the other teens. Will I be chasing down more of their backlists? Absolutely! ( )
  nbmars | Aug 16, 2011 |
A great read. A story that teaches compassion. I teared up during parts of the book. I found myself cheering for some of the characters. ( )
  lhicks5 | Jul 11, 2009 |
Lana has been bumped from foster home to foster home most of her life. In her current situation, she lives with several special needs kids, a domineering foster mother, and a foster father that she begins to have feelings for. She loves to draw, so when she discovers a kit filled with fancy drawing paper, she's ecstatic. What she doesn't know is that everything she draws ends up happening in real life. Once this is discovered, she looks for a way to make all of the foster kids happy. ( )
  ShellyPYA | Nov 15, 2008 |
What happens when foster child Lana Morris buys a drawing book in which everything she draws comes true? She quickly learns that one has to be very careful what one wishes for. I liked the book, but I have to admit, I don't understand the title at all. I don't understand how the decoding comes in. ( )
  ohioyalibrarian | Oct 30, 2007 |
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Book description
When Lana Morris purchases the Lady Drawing kit from a mysterious woman at an antique shop in a small town, she begins to notice peculiar happenings. She begins to wonder if these events are connected to her drawings.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375831061, Hardcover)

Sixteen-year-old Lana Morris wishes her life were different, that she were somewhere else, someone else. Her foster mother wants her gone, she's stuck taking care of the other kids in the house, she longs to become closer to her foster father, and the only cool people around refuse to acknowledge her. Then Lana stumbles into Miss Hekkity's mysterious shop, and she begins to realize that she might actually have the power to change things—to make some of her wishes come true. But wishing isn't always as harmless as it seems. . . .

Award-winning authors Laura and Tom McNeal weave a warmhearted and suspenseful story about the power—and danger—of a wish.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:24 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

For sixteen-year-old Lana life is often difficult, with a flirtatious foster father, an ice queen foster mother, a houseful of special needs children to care for, and bullies harrassing her, until the day she ventures into an antique shop and buys a drawing set that may change her life.… (more)

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