Review Detail

3.9 4
Young Adult Fiction 4262
By the time you read this...
Overall rating
Writing Style
Though it’s a very short novel, By The Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead packs a punch. This is an internally-powered novel, dealing mostly with Daelyn’s gradual development from suicidal to otherwise. Readers who like fast-paced, plot-intensive books probably won’t like this book quite as much, though I personally loved the softer, more contemplative style Peters employed to tell this story.

But bear in mind, this is coming from an admitted realistic fiction junkie.

The progression of Daelyn’s character was very subtly done. Over the course of 23 days, we watch her transform into a young woman who very much wants to live. This change is due, partly, to making friends for the first time in her life, and partly from her participation on a suicide support group forum (a place where suicidal people come to encourage others and themselves to commit suicide), where she vents her experiences with bullying.

One interesting thing about By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead was the noticeable lack of an “AHA!” moment. I feel like most suicide books have one: a big revelation where the main character cheesily realizes they want to live, etc. I didn’t like or dislike that element of this book, but I found it interesting, as it certainly added to the overall subtlety of Peters’ portrayal of “bullycide.”

Though not extremely memorable, I thought Peters’ prose was very nice. Her words conveyed Daelyn’s emotions with emotion and grace, and there were a few lovely turns of phrase in some spots.

It’s also worth mentioning that Daelyn’s parents are very present in this novel, and while they don’t always understand their daughter, they do mean well. That was a nice change from the typical Disappearing Parent Syndrom that affects so many novels.

All things considered, By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead was a strong, insightful book, though maybe it could have dug deeper in spots. I very much enjoyed reading it. Julie Anne Peters’ character development was well done, especially for so short a novel.
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