Friday, April 2, 2010
By the Time You Read This, I'll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
Dealyn is biding her time. She has been since the last time she tried to die (not her first), but this time she’s more determined than ever to play it out to a successful conclusion.
She loves her solitude. At this school, no one really bothers her. She doesn’t talk to other people or get involved with anything or anyone. She represses any feelings she may have for others, be it empathy for Emily, the girl everyone picks on because of her weight; or contempt, for JenniferJessica, who lives to ruin others’ lives. But her solitude doesn’t last long because of three people – Chip, Kim, and Santana.
Chip and Kim are Daelyn’s parents, and they walk a narrow path between obsessively keeping watch over their only child and allowing her freedom and trust. But how far does it go? Daelyn doesn’t trust her parents either – they have never understood her and only glossed over the terrible things in her life that have happened.
And then there’s Santana, who just won’t leave Daelyn alone after school. He comes to sit beside her on the bench, talking about nothing, entertaining himself and wanting her to see him. Santana wants Daelyn’s friendship because she’s intriguing… he likes her, but how can he bridge the chasm she’s filled with distrust for anyone? Should he tell her what’s wrong with him, or would it ruin a budding friendship he’s trying to create?
And the secrets…Daelyn doesn’t tell anyone about the new website she’s found called Through The Light. They don’t know about the DOD (date of determination), set at 23 days; the WTG (ways to go) that rate different ways to commit suicide; or the FF (final forum) where the J_Doe’s talk about the reasons why they want to die…and where Daelyn finally tells her story – the terrible, ugly side of humanity that has plagued her from junior high to high school. The bullying, the assaults, the humiliation, the abuse…
She has a countdown, a way to go, and a goal – will she finish it?
What a powerful book, with an intriguing ending! Peters doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this book, but shows the dangerous side of something that plays out in people’s lives everyday – bullying. Through her writing, the readers can see not only the experiences Daelyn’s come up against, but how it’s affected her psychologically through the way she views herself versus the way others do. This book will keep readers turning the pages because Daelyn’s character evolves slowly but progressively, allowing the reading to, at first, puzzle about her and what she’s done, followed by the full story of why she’s done what she has. For those who enjoyed 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, get ready to go up a notch on this one. Recommended.