Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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

Daelyn Rice is determined to get it right this time. Her neck in a brace from her last attempt, all she wants is to be allowed to end the pain. Bullied for being overweight since she was a child, Daelyn is no longer tormented by her classmates for being the fat girl, but for being the freak who can't talk. Refusing to allow herself to feel physical or emotional connections, her life is consumed by her desire to end it.

Despite her desperate parents' constant monitoring, Daelyn finds through-the-light.com, a suicide website that gives her her Day of Determination - 23 days away. Slowly, she begins removing her things, and herself, from life. Until Santana comes into her life, and won't leave.

Santana refuses to give up on Daelyn. Every day after school, while Daelyn waits silently for her mom to pick her up, he's there. Talking, laughing, making jokes, leaving her notes, doing everything he can to communicate with her. Even Daelyn's over-cautious mom is hopeful that her shattered daughter has made a friend. And then a girl in school, shy, overweight Emily, makes contact. Daelyn fights against forming any connections with life - what's the point, when she's leaving it in a few days? When she's not worth it?

This gut-wrenching novel for mature, older teens is a no-holds-barred look at a tormented girl who believes herself to be broken beyond repair. Intense and heart-breaking, Daelyn will stick with you long after you've finished the book. As author Julie Ann Peters gives this broken girl everything she needs to choose life, you'll be hoping desperately that Daelyn will allow herself to grab hold of something, anything, that will give her the hope she needs to live. But, in the end, only Daelyn can choose which path to take.

(now reading Incarceron by Catherine Fisher)

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