Monday, October 03, 2011

Review: By the Time you Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Title: By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Pages: 200
Release date: January 5th 2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought 
Find out more: Amazon ; Goodreads

Goodreads description:
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?
First sentence:
The white boy, the skinny, tall boy with shocking white hair, sneaks behind thestone bench and leans against the tree trunk.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wow. I just finished this book, and I don't even know what to say. This is an important book that really made me feel something - my feelings are all over the place right now.

The writing is incredible. The sentences are short and sparse, and the book itself is short too (200 pages). But with so few words, Julie Anne Peters somehow manages to convey so much raw, honest feeling - it's just amazing.

The characters are great and well-developed. Most of the time, I understood Daelyn and felt like her thoughts and decisions made sense, which is a scary thought - I don't want to think that deciding to commit suicide makes sense. But I really felt her despair, pain and hopelessness. It's frieghtening to see how big an effect bulying can have. At times, though, I was frustrated by how she thinks continuing to live is pointless as nothing will ever change and how she'll never have friends, at the same time as pushing Santana and Emily away, who could have been great friends.

The secondary characters are great, too. My favorite, by far, is Santana. His way of viewing things is adorale, and I love how he doesn't give up on Daelyn. I would have liked to know more about him and his life, and how he manages to have such a positive view on life, despite what he's going through. It'd be really interesting to read this book from his point of view, too. I also loved Emily, and everything she represented, even though it makes me sad to think about what life will be like for her; whether she will end up like Daelyn too. I loved the parents, too - it's nice and refreshing to read about how supportive they are - too many parents in YA are distant.

The whole thing with the website is crazy and scary. Even though I was terrified, I checked out, and it's not a real website - well it is, but the site shows a reading guide for By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead; some information on bullying and suicide, so the site Daelyn uses is fictional. But still - do websites like that really exist? That can't be legal, can it?

One more thing: That cover is amazing. It's scary and honest and raw, just like the book itself. Looking in that girl's eyes shows you what this book is like.

This book is definitely worth a read - it's sure to make you feel something. It's a frighteningly honest portrayal of what could make a person make such a choice, and what bullying can do to a person.


  1. I love Luna by Julie Anne Peters and I have Define Normal, but I haven't read that since I was in 7th grade or so. This book sounds great, so I'm sure I'd enjoy this too. Thanks for your review! :)


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