Teen Review: BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD by Julie Anne Peters

Posted 20 September, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 9 Comments

YA Contemporary
200 pages
Available now (Jan. 2010)
Personal copy
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”— www. through-the-light.com. 
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.

Basil’s Thoughts: Daelyn Rice is a high school student who’s dead inside. She’s attempted to commit suicide multiple times and failed, leaving behind scars to remind her of her failure every day. Her most recent attempt left her mute. But this time, she’s determined to get it right. She wants nothing but the peace and freedom from constant bullying that she thinks will come with death.

But then she meets Santana, a boy who looks at life in a positive and completely different way than she does, one who tries to save her, one who doesn’t want to be left with only the memory of the lonely, mute girl.

Overall, I think this book has great meaning to it. We get into the deep, dark depths of Daelyn’s soul and watch her change into a person she didn’t want to be. But the ending, I thought, is crap. She goes a way neither I nor Santana nor her parents want her to go (and I’m not saying that she kills herself — read the book and you’ll know what I mean). I think that teens going through some of the same stuff as Daelyn could really relate to this book.

Each day, she’s anticipating the date she plans to have with the dirt but it doesn’t come as fast as she wants it to. It’s heart-wrenching and heart-breaking. I read breathlessly as a lonely girl’s worst nightmares came back to life. And I read as a boy fell in love with someone he wasn’t supposed to. Although it was depressing (but good!), I believe this book can inspire others, and it sure has inspired me.

Teen Reviewer Basil: I’m 15 years old and was born and raised in the South. My best friend has paws, and her name is Daisy. I’ve played soccer my whole life, and plan on continuing with it as long as I can. My favorite color is green, and my favorite animal is a giraffe.

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

9 Responses to “Teen Review: BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD by Julie Anne Peters”

  1. Mary this was a FANTASTIC review! The book title intrigued me but the premise grabbed me! This is definitely on my TBR list!

    Your blog is the cutest ever!!! I’m loving it!!! It certainly puts mine to shame! I’m a new follower and happy to be so 🙂

  2. This is the first I’ve heard of this book, and judging by this review, it sounds like a really intense read. I’m so glad that authors are publishing books that deal with the consequences of bullying.

    Thank you Basil, for sharing this wonderful review with us! I’m definitely going to have to add this to my reading list. 🙂

  3. Great job on this review. I have this book in my library, but really hadn’t paid much attention to it. Now I will put it on my list. Thanks!

  4. This is the first I am hearing about this book. It definitely seems like it is an emotional read. I’m afraid to read it, b/c I hate when an ending of the book is crap. I might still check it out. Thanks for the review!