By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
Daelyn Rice has been bullied since kindergarten, and she's too afraid to confess the truth to anyone, her parents included. She's suffered from endless verbal and physical torments, and her inability to fight back makes her hates herself even more. It really angers me to see how some people can be so mean and cruel. They are monsters in disguise of humans who feed on others' fear and helplessness.
Daelyn's mother, Kim is basically ignorant about her daughter's conditions, as she is always busy with her work. She always assumes that Daelyn is shy and timid, and never see how broken her daughter is after going to and returning from the hellhole which is school itself. She's blinded by her assumptions, and that nearly causes her daughter's life.
If I were a mother, and someone were to bully or terrorize my child, I would report this incident to the school administration and demand an appropriate punishment for the bullies. Heck, I will also threaten the school that if they do not take action on this matter, I will lodge an official police report. Yes, I'm that badass. But as a mother, I will do anything to protect my child.
Daelyn's only friend is Santana, a geeky boy who sits at the bench - which she assumes to be her bench after school everyday. Santana tries to engage her in a conversation, but she remains mute. Santana, in his desperation, eventually brings his pet rat Herve to see Daelyn, but she only freaks out at the sight of his rat. But as days pass, she realizes that Santana is not a bad person after all. Soon, they become non-friends - not exactly friends, but something which borders the term. Later, Daelyn discovers that Santana has a secret on his own, and she is shocked to learn how Santana can still live the way he does.
Daelyn's encounter is pitiful, but I feel that she should be braver - looking for an easy way out through suicide is never the option as your tormentors will not feel a shred of guilt even if you die. It's your parents who will hurt, it's your family who will mourn your death, its your mother who will cry her heart out at losing a child who was once a part of herself.
By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead is a harrowing and heartbreaking story. The title speaks for itself. However, I think there are times when we have to learn to face the truth with courage, no matter how hard and painful it may be.