Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she's determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for "completers"-

While she's on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she's not on the Web, Daelyn's at her private school, where she's known as the freak who doesn't talk.

Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she's waiting to for her parents to pick her up. Even though she's made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won't give up. And it's too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life. Isn't it?

National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters shines a light on how bullying can push young people to the very edge.


Though I dislike comparing one book to another book simply because of the reason that all books are different because they're written by a different author, but I believe I must compare this book to another, very successful, one. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Here's the thing. Both books deal closely with suicide based upon bullying, but the approaches are different. In Thirteen Reasons Why, the girl's story is told in the past, a voice of the already dead, speaking to another person who could have saved her if they had had the chance. In By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead, the girl, the one who is bullied, tells the story from her point of view, looking forward to the day she plans upon killing herself. Two different things, as readers of both will notice as they read the book.

Through Peters' novel, each chapter opens with how many days are left until the day the Daelyn will kill herself. Having attempted before, she no longer plans to fail and is trying to plan how to make this her final attempt.

But a monkey wrench is tossed into her plans when she meets a boy who appears at the place where she waits for her mother every day. Something about him intrigues her, and, suddenly, Daelyn has a friend she shouldn't. It is this tension that makes the story so heart wrenching.

The mere thought that this young girl wants so badly to kill herself was something that kept me awake and, more importantly, kept me reading. I wanted to reach into the book and grab her and explain how much good there was in the world if she would give it a chance, despite thinking that Daelyn wasn't one to listen to things like that. Because her character was crafted so well, I hurt for Daelyn and cringed at her memories, wishing I was there to offer a comforting arm.

The book moves forward at a steady pace, despite the events being small. I can't pin down what it was that propelled this book forward, but something kept pushing me, pushing the story, prompting me to finish it in a matter of two days.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, despite the touchy topic, and look forward to reading more by this author. If you haven't noticed, this book is different from the science fiction, fantasy, dystopian I usually read, and I enjoyed it! A welcome change to the usual reading.

Rating: A

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