Monday, July 4, 2011

A Review of 'By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead' by Julie Anne Peters

"Daelyn is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she's determined to get her death right.  She starts visiting a web site for 'completers'--  (You're welcome to visit the site.  I nervously typed it into the address bar and it's discussion questions for the book.  This is a made-up site).

On the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, revealing a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten.  When she's not on the web, Daelyn's at her private girls' 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 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.  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."

This is a book that sets you on edge for several reasons:

1. The way the book is written causes the reader to be constantly curious about what's to come in the next few chapters up until the very end.
2. It's really bizarre to read this book through the eyes of someone who is planning their own downfall.

I don't know if websites such as exist, but that was what freaked me out the most about this book.  Daelyn would log on and read through the suggested methods of death.  They're all categorized by level of pain and availability.  That was probably the scariest thing that I've read about in a while.

I was impressed by Julie Anne Peters' ability to develop characters.  I didn't like Daelyn at first because I had feelings towards her that I feel towards all suicide victims-- it's sad, but there are other ways to cope.  But then I read her story and my eyes were opened a little wider.  She had reasons for not wanting to live any more.  She tried to make it better, but those who were trying to help her weren't helping her in effective ways.

I like that Julie Anne Peters takes a subject that's difficult to talk about-- it's not easy to read about either.  It's good for people like me who thought suicide was just an attention-getter (which, depending on the situation, it could be, but not always) when really it's a serious issue that needs to be treated as such.

Can I just take a moment to talk about Santana?  I love him.  I want to hug him.  True, he's a little annoying at times, but I found him to be very lovable and charming, just like Ariel did.  He was so cool and a truly round character.

'By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead' was an unsettling (in a good way) book that will open the eyes of many and find itself on the bookshelves of many.

I give this book:
Thanks for reading!


Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK


  1. Wow. I was really creeped out by the idea there could be sites out there to help people do this rather than help them find a way to make it better. My first husband chose to opt out (untreated bipolar). I know what it's like to be the loved one left behind, especially trying to explain it to the small children that were also left behind and only knew that daddy wasn't there anymore. I'm guessing this book ended positively. I may have to check it out.

    If I can handle it.

  2. I'm really sorry for your loss.
    As for the ending, I can't confirm nor deny that the ending was positive. I read the ending several times over and I was still unable to decide what exactly happened to Daelyn in the end.

  3. This sounds like such a good read. I am more into the fantasy side of books but I have been trying to read more 'realistic' stuff and this one will definitely be going onto my wish list.

    It is the first time I have heard of a book addressing this issue - not of suicides but the website thing...

    Thank you for the post.

    Blethering About Books


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