By the Time You Read This, I'll Be DeadHot
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.
Daelyn has tried numerous times to kill herself. The latest attempt has damaged her esophagus. She wears a neck brace to help with the physical healing. Nothing, she feels, will heal the emotional scarring of years of bullying. Later she comes across an on-line site www.thorough-the-light.com that's for 'completers' or those who plan to kill themselves.
Once on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, revealing bullying that goes back to kindergarten. She gives herself a date to complete her next suicide attempt. In the meantime, Santana shows up at the bench after school, showing interest. Daelyn tries to avoid him but to no avail. Also someone else at school tries to friend her. Is it too late to trust again? Or will this next attempt be the one that has her go through the light?
This is one intense tale of a teen who's had it with bullying. Her answer is to kill herself. Some books that deal with suicide victims portray characters that aren't that likeable and selfish. Not so with this novel. I felt for Daelyn and wished someone had shown some kindness and understanding to her earlier in her life. As a former elementary school teacher, I've seen bullying on playgrounds and how mean words never leave you. Also I had a case of this happening to my own son this year. I saw first hand how some administrators don't want to be involved and try to avoid the issue. I ended up taking my son out of that school. Too bad someone didn't stick up for Daelyn.
I guarantee this book will haunt you. The graphic memories of bullying are terrifying. I liked how the author showed Santana's own battle with death. Instead he's dying of cancer while Daelyn wants to kill herself. I recommend this book as a must read. Also I feel it would make a great book club book. At the end of the book is a discussion guide and resource list.
Daelyn's tale will stay with you long after you finish the last page.
Daelyn is only fifteen, yet she has contemplated suicide for several years and attempted it several times. What caused her disassociation with life? Was it the humiliation she suffered in fat camp one summer? Is it the daily torture at school because of her weight or her loner status? Is it the fact that she is mute now or that her family moves constantly so she can start over?
Whatever it is, in 23 days she will no longer be&physically&because she hasnt been emotionally for a long time. As she says, I found Through-the-Light by accident. I dont normally believe in accidents. Divine intervention, maybe. Except I dont believe in God. I want to. I just cant. Theres a higher power guiding me, for sure, because it guided me to Through-the-Light.
She is being closely monitored by her parents. Shes picked up daily after school. She sits on her bench and waits for a parent to get her. But, Santana thinks its his bench and in actuality it is. Santana is 18 and has his own life trauma to deal with. The question is: Can one person, just one person, deter Daelyn from her course?
Julie Anne Peters has written some marvelous books (my favorite is Keeping You a Secret) and By the Time You Read This, Ill be Dead is one of them. It is the powerful story of what will drive a teenager to suicide. Daelyn is an unforgettable character, one who you will love. Her parents are ignorant about her life and confused about how to deal with her. (What parent isnt clueless about their kids lives?) But love, sometimes, just isnt enough. As Daelyn purges herself over her 23 remaining days, her story comes out, heart wrenching. Santanas story, is equally heart wrenching, but Peters effectively juxtaposes Santanas unwavering desire to live with Daelyns desire to die.
What Laurie Halse Anderson did regarding eating disorders in Wintergirls, Julie Anne Peters has just done with suicide in By the Time You Read This, Ill be Dead and that is write a revealing, realistic, absorbing story that is a must read.
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.
Review: This is a book not to be played with. Its topic talks about a
deep situation and when you read it takes all you have not to cry. You
could never think that anyone could treat a human being so badly. Or
that Daelyn could think such horrible stuff about herself. The story
starts with Daelyn sitting on her bench and waiting for her mom, when a
boy comes and tries to get her attention. He introduces himself as
Santana and has a carefree personality that I like considering his
circumstances. Daelyn will not give him the time of day until later on
in the book though. Daelyn then discovers this Website for people who
are "completing" and makes an account. Her Date of Determination is 23
days away and she wishes it was a shorter time. Daelyn goes on the site
practically everyday and enters in stories from her past that made her
decide to complete and they broke my heart. After getting used to
Santana, Daelyn finds out that he has cancer. This made me wonder could
it get any worse. Almost to the end of the book she tells Santana what
she did to make her mute and Daelyn starts to think about things: her
parents, Santana, Emily, and just her life. That is all I can tell you
without spoiling the ending but you will be surprised and slightly
My thoughts on the book are sad. I was reading Daelyn's thoughts and
feeling her emotions. Bullying has and is happening to me and sometimes I
feel trapped, but never compelled to kill myself. I think that if I do,
what will it solve? Bullies will still bully and the world will go on. I
wish that there was someone to tell this to Daelyn. Suicide is serious.
And not worth it.
This book was a fast interesting read! the book is basically about a girl who has tried to kill herself multiple times but has failed and has now found a online site that helps people "finish" . Throughout the book we see how Daelyn is dealing with being suffocated by her parents and her past. She recounts events in her past that haunts her which mostly includes bullying. She tries to disconnect from the world to finally commit suicide but some charachters step in to make that hard for her to not feel anymore. Overall this was a really fast read but was also very intersting. We can all sympathize with the feeling of being an outsider or even being bullied. I thought the ending was very nicely done (no pun intended) lol. I would really recommend this book for those who like angst.