Published by Simon Pulse on 15 June 2010
Genres: Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Better, Violent Ends
Place(s) Traveled to: Moriville, Florida
First Line(s): The first thing you need to know about Oliver Travers is that at the end of this story he’s going to die.
I was very fortunate to have read an advanced copy of The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Sharon, of Sharon Loves Books and Cats (and Zombies!). I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this book as I didn’t know a ton about it before reading. One thing I didn’t expect was that opening scene. Yeah, as an adult female I did not need to read about a teen boy doing…well…something that teen boys are known to do. I’m not a prude but there are just some things that I would prefer not to read as an opener and that is one of them.
Overall though I did enjoy the concept of The Deathday Letter it is a unique look at life and how a person might do things differently if they knew when they were going to die. Because in The Deathday Letter you receive notice in the form a crisp, almost blinding white letter that tells you the date and time you will die. A letter that is mysteriously delivered roughly 24 hours before said date/time occurs. The letter doesn’t say how or where and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. So the question is, if you knew you were going to die then how would you live your last day on Earth?
Oliver (Ollie to his friends) receives his letter and he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself. Thinking to live his last day as he’s done most days before he heads off to school. But when his best friend, Shane, learns of the letter he brings Ollie on an adventure of a lifetime with the help of Veronica (Ronnie). With Shane and Ronnie’s help Ollie does all sorts of things that he never thought he’d do – like jump off a bridge. Along the way Ollie and his friends really learn what it means to be alive.
I’m torn when it comes to knowing when my last day on earth would be. One hand I think it would be nice to know so that I can put everything in order and say goodbye to my loved ones. But on the other hand, knowing when might not be such a good thing because a person may not truly live the life they were meant to if they had an expiration date. Although I think that is partly why in Hutchinson’s world the letter comes the day before. There is still that sense of unknown. That uncertainly that your time, or in this case, letter, could come at any moment. And yet you still get that little bit of warning that allows you to do things that you might not have normally done.
So why the 3.5 stars you might ask? I think part of my rating comes from the fact there are just some thing about the inner workings of the teenage boy that I did not need to read about. Yes in a theoretical sense I know that teen boys think a lot of sex, but do I need to read all those thoughts? No. This could be part of why I am not a real fan of John Matthew in JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books….but this post isn’t about her books. So moving on.
I think the concept of The Deathday Letters is unique. Its something that I haven’t read it before and I really enjoyed the freshness of it. This story also makes a person think. As a reader you have to ask yourself. If tomorrow morning you woke up and knew it was your last day….what would you do? How would you spend those final moments. And its those sorts of thought provoking questions that tells me this is a book that’s worth recommending, worth reading and most importantly, its worth discussing. Have you read The Deathday Letters? What did you think of it? And how would you spend your last 24hrs? Let me know in the comments!