Tuesday, June 29, 2010
By the Time You Read This, I'll be Dead
Julie Anne Peters
Hyperion, January 2010
It seems that there are a number of "teen problem" books coming out lately (well, probably since the mid 90s), but this one is by far one of the best. Peters' novel is amazing; it doesn't feel like a preachy don't-kill-yourself book or an overly depressing my-life-is-so-horrible book either - it feels like a highly realistic account of a teen who has been bullied her whole life and doesn't feel she can continue to live.
Daelyn’s been the victim of bullying throughout her life and now she’s simply counting down the days until she can commit her final act on Earth. It’s destiny that she finds a Website to help her in her quest. She has the motive, the means, and the determination. Then she meets this boy, Santana, who makes her examine her choice of death over life. But is he too late to save her? And is she too damaged to save him? From Julie Ann Peters' website
Daelyn can't speak, so you are completely in her head, listening to her thoughts, which is perfect for this type of book. Although we hear her every thought, we don't know everything at every moment. Slowly we learn why she can't speak, how she's been bullied, and why she is planning to commit suicide. Peters has created a very "real" character in Daelyn; you want her life to be different, you want the adults around her to see what's truly going on, you want her to be with Santana, ultimately you want her to find a reason to live.
What is so wonderful about this book aside from the amazing characters, is the ending. It's doesn't end in some big I-have-changed-and-now-see-life-is-worth-living moment or in a horrible suicide scene. It just ends. We don't know what Daelyn decides to do. You have to decide for yourself what choice she makes in the end, which is absolutely wonderful. It fits with the tone of the book and makes it feel even more realistic. The book just wouldn't be as good if we knew for certain what her choice was.
I must also rave about the cover. I love this cover. The gray tones with the red petals - beautifully designed. The title text fading fits the theme of the book so well. Everything fits so well together to create a feeling of the tone of the book. It's just wonderful.
Like I said this book is amazing, depressing, but amazing. The writing is wonderful, the characters are super realistic, and the end - oh the end - it's perfect.
Get this book immediately and begin reading