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Thursday, February 11, 2010

By the Time You Read This I’ll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized3 Comments

Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: 05 Jan 2010
ISBN: 1423116186
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 224
Julie Anne Peters – Official Site
Julie Anne Peters – Twitter

Place(s) Traveled to: Anytown, USA

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis: 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.

By the You Read This I’ll be Gone by Julie Anne Peters is one of those books in which I’ve heard nothing but good things. So it was one that I put on my wishlist and when I saw that it was out in stores I rushed out to buy it. So I had high hopes that this would be another Thirteen Reasons Why, sadly though that was not the case. Oh the story was absorbing enough and I did breeze through it quickly but I just found it hard to care about Daelyn. She was a very unsympathetic character. She lacks depth and you really don’t learn much about why she has decided that suicide is her only option. As a reader you get these little snippets but all you really know about her is that she’s tried to commit suicide several times the most recent attempt leaving her unable to talk, after each attempt her parents put her in a new school and that she’s joined a website to help people complete the act of suicide.

This website gives her a deadline in which she must figure out a way to successfully die and she is ready for it. That is until things in her life slowly start to change, first there is this boy who lives near her school who decides he wants to be her friend and won’t take no for an answer. And the fact that Daelyn can’t speak doesn’t seem to deter him in the least. Then there is a girl in her choir that she slowly starts to become friends with. Suddenly things aren’t as clear cut as before and her carefully laid suicide plans may not be the best course of action after all. Only you never really learn much about her thoughts or her choice. As I said before the book is short and its very two dimensional. There is a lot of ambiguity to the story that leaves the reader feeling unsatisfied.

I have no problem coming up with my own ending for a story but usually in those cases you learn enough about the main character in order to think that you know where he or she might end up. But in By the Time you Read This, you don’t have that same connection to Daelyn. There is no closeness and no knowing what she might do. Daelyn is a very private and closed off person both to the people in her world and to readers. Which is odd since the story is told in first person and as a reader you are in her head. This story left me unsatisfied and just goes to show you that not all books live up to the hype that surround them.

3 Responses to “By the Time You Read This I’ll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters”

  1. Megan

    Ah, the premise of this sounds really interesting. I’m sorry to hear the execution leaves something to be desired. I’m not sure if I’ll try it for myself or not, but thanks for the thoughtful review!

  2. runa

    Thanks for the honest review. I had gotten really excited after reading the summary for this book, and it’s been on my wishlist, but after reading your review, I’m thinking I need to lower my expectations…