By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Pub: 2010; Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic
Oh Julie Anne Peters, how I love you! She has this Amazing way of pulling your soul into her books. Seriously. I don't know of an author who can create fictional characters so Real and so Diverse that I can picture them walking into my school. She gets it, y'know? What it's like to feel abnormal and isolated and always questioning. And yet she creates these teens who SURVIVE and have an Important story. *fist pump*
I suppose some might say that this book is about bullying and suicide. And sure it is but it is SO. MUCH. MORE. For example, I loved how my perception of Daelyn developed and I really dig how Ms. Peters orchestrated the unraveling of her.
Told in first person we see Daelyn how she sees herself and through tidbits of convos she has with her parents. You quickly learn that Daelyn wishes she was dead and not in that angsty way that you might hear a teen wail at the peak of an emotional outrage. Oh and also, Daelyn is wearing a neck brace and cannot talk. A mystery of its own. She's always got one parent watching over her, in that twenty-four hour suicide watch, which immediately put me on edge for her safety. Lots of questions going into this ya know? Why does she want to kill herself? Why is she in a neck brace? Why can't she talk?
Also there's conflicting information as the reader (moi) hears Daelyn's thoughts but observes her interactions. Especially with her parents. Reading the book is a constant "checking of facts". Is this really how it is? Or is this just the distortion of a depressed kid?
Daelyn stumbles upon a site that emotionally assists you in your suicide. I know, it's a horrific idea right? But it works in this crazy way and I'm not going into deets because that will give away all of the wonderfulness of this book. What I will tell you is there are chat rooms and message boards where the participants can share why they want to kill themselves. And there's even a page that updates all of the ways one can off themselves with a scale for difficulty, pain, and completion.
While all of this is going on, Daelyn meets a guy named Santana who hangs outside of her school. At first she wants nothing to do with him, but eventually his persistence makes cracks in her numb shell.
This book was such a phenomenal and emotional read. I began it Friday morning with my kids during DEAR and finished it that night. It's been such a long time since a book has hijacked me like that, but I really shouldn't be surprised. I just can't gush enough about Julie Anne Peters. I've read nearly half of her works (I'm savoring) and all are remarkable.