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By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead Paperback – 17 May 2011
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About the Author
Julie Anne Peters (www.julieannepeters.com) is the award-winning author of more than fifteen books for children and young adults. She lives in Colorado.
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It builds up the story of the girl, and you grow to feel like you know her and why she is how she is, and the character build-up of Santana is also well done. Generally I enjoyed this book until it ended, but to be honest it didn't really end. The ending (or the lack of) left me feeling cheated, with the feeling the author was either lazy and couldn't be bothered to finish the book, or wanted to leave it mysterious, but it doesn't leave an air of mystery, it left me thinking 'Did pages fall out?!'
I bought it and I implore you- for your own peace of mind- don't read it.
Daelyn is biding her time. She only has 23 days until her Date of Determination. She discovers the Through the Light website by accident, but finds it to be a welcome change of pace compared to the other suicide websites and discussion boards she's visited in the past. Instead of preaching and warning her against her decision, the website provides rational and informational posts and discussions about ending her life.
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I'LL BE DEAD is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of one girl as she makes the hardest decisions of her life. How will she end her life and what will she do with her last 23 days?
Daelyn thinks she has it all figured out until she meets a strange boy while she waits for her parents to pick her up after school. Santana is persistent when it comes to making friends with Daelyn, but with only 23 days to live does she really have time?
This is a short book at only 198 pages. It is easily a one-sitting read and well worth the time. The author, Julie Anne Peters, also includes a lot of factual information at the back of the book. There are 19 Discussion Questions as well as sections about Bullying, Suicide, Warning Signs, and Prevention Hot Line Information.
Your heart will break for Daelyn and the ending is thought-provoking.
Reviewed by: Karin Librarian
Bullying is something that many of us have experienced as children and teens, from schoolyard taunts through to actual physical abuse, and whilst reading BTYRT, Daelyn's story felt so very real, I wanted to grab all the people that had made her so miserable and shake them. Interwoven with the bullying there are also struggles with body-image and an overwhelming need for acceptance.
Daelyn is so isolated, so lonely and so very bleak that it was impossible not to feel a huge sympathy for her. The back-story gradually reveals itself, rather than having a huge information dump at once, which makes it all the more haunting and sad as fragments of her teen years come together to form a very disturbing, cruel picture.
Ms. Peters strikes the perfect balance of parental involvement, something often missing in YA books, without having them overshadow Daelyn's very private thoughts and actions. Their actions portrayed an overwhelming love and concern for their daughter, but it was also easy to see where they had missed the signs of things going very wrong, despite everything they were doing to try and help her live a happier life.
Santana was certainly a bright spot in BTYRT - his outlook on life was so very different to Daelyn's, and the gradual revealing of his own story perfectly juxtaposed with Daelyn's own journey through the past few years of her life.
The website that forms the backbone of the plot was a great catalyst for the story. I won't say much about it for fear of spoiling it, but it is mysterious, disturbing and really pulls some of the underlying themes together.
This is an intense book, folks. It's haunting, shocking and almost ethereal and Daelyn's story is one that isn't easily forgettable. A quick read but one that is very very worthwhile.
And if you're wondering why four stars instead of five? Although I really liked this book, I didn't love the ending - it just didn't work for me, but it does fit the tone of the book.
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