Monday, March 1, 2010

Book Review: By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters

SUMMARY (From borders):

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?


Gripping, astoudingly powerful and gut wrenching. Despite how many suicide related books are out there, this one easily stands out. Peters has weaved together several unique elements, shining a very bright on Daelyn even in a world where she wants nothing more than to fade away.

Daelyn, for all intensive purposes, is mute. She has not been this way all her life but rather forced into it as a result of an unsuccessful suicide attempt- showing very vividly how easily many things can go wrong when the end isn't reached. Instead of being dead, she now wears a neck brace and her only means of communication is to write things down. This element alone makes this book stand out for me because her mind is fully intact and her personality easily comes through- her pain, her sarcasm, and her honest desire to no longer exist. When her parents try talking with her, it is acceptable for Daelyn to remain silent.

The website she discovers is another very unique aspect of this book- a meeting place for those wanting suicide and giving both an outlet as well as time to think things through. A Date of Determination is chosen- the day you will commit suicide but there is a certain amount of days that must occur before the DOD can be reached. Logically, anyone wanting suicide bad enough wouldn't worry what a website says but Daelyn follows it- the book focuses on those days counting down to her DOD.

Daelyn's character will break your heart. As the book progresses, the bullying and torment she's endured unfolds, showing how she came to be the girl with a few unsuccessful suicide attempts under her belt but determined for the next one to go off without a hitch. She knows her parents love her and she knows they will hurt but she also holds hope they will understand that no matter how much she does love them back, she hates living even more. Peters has written the suicidal mindset astoundingly well, thrusting the reader into that level of pain and hopelessness that could drive a person to taking their own life. Never once did I think Daelyn was being overdramatic- she wasn't even seeking attention. Daelyn stressed the point she didn't want to be remembered after she died and was thinking of those she'd be leaving behind, namely her parents, as she debated her chosen method of suicide.

This plot progresses very smoothly, telling both Daelyn's past as well as what is happening in the present. When she meets a boy- one that actually seems to take interest in her rather than wanting to torment her- minor hitches are thrown in her plans but Daelyn doesn't instantly decide to live just because of a boy. Peters continued to show her struggle and develop her character until the very end which was absolutely stunning and thought provoking. This type of novel tends to make the reader think and feel but Peters kicked even that up a few notches, guaranteeing this one to stay in their minds for several days.

I highly recommend this one as it is a very vivid trip into the world of the suicide and depression that comes from bullying, written beautifully. With strong characters, loving and devoted parents, and many other unique elements, this book stands out.

Source: Purchased at Borders
Hardcover, 224 pages
Hyperion Press
January 05, 2010
ISBN13: 9781423116189

ISBN: 1423116186

BINC: 9905520

Age: 14 and up

Author's Website

What Others Are Saying:
La Femme Readers
Serene Hours
Delightful Reviews
The Book Jacket
Katie's Book Blog


  1. I loved Santana! I wish she could've responded a little bit more to him but then she wouldn't have stayed true to her decision to kill herself...and the story wouldn't really be as good as it is. Awesome review :)

  2. Hoping to get my hands on this one soon! It looks really good!! Great review!

  3. Wow wow wow - another great review on this one. There are so many stories similar to this now, thanks for pointing out that this one is superb.

    I have it on my TBR list.

  4. Great review! I really want to read this because I've read Luna and I absolutely loved it, it had such a unique plot, and this seems amazing too!

  5. Great review! :) I really want to read this book!

  6. Wow ! Great review I have to read this Now !!

  7. Nice review, I agree with everything you said!

  8. I've heard some great things about this book! Definitely on my TBR list

  9. What a powerful review! This is already on my TBR list -- I need to get it soon.

  10. I've been wanting to read this one. The main character seems really different from the Dark and Brooding Loner characters you usually find in these sort of things. Great review, and I love your site.

  11. Wow, this sounds like a really powerful book. I'm adding this to my to-read list.

    I have an award for you!

  12. What an fantastic review. I'm convinced! I
    definitely need to get this one.
    I sounds so great, can't wait to read it =)

  13. I love this review. I've been wanting this book so I guess I really should get it now!!! Thanks for pushing me!