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

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Hyperion Book
After a lifetime of being bullied, Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair. She has tried to kill herself before, and is determined to get it right this time.

So much suffering, so much pain... a suicidal girl who failed to kill herself ends up wearing a neck brace and not being able to talk. One day, she comes across a website called Through The Light, a virtual gathering place for people who wants to end their lives because of various reasons. She signs up as a member, and she schedules herself to die 23 days later, on the day of determination. And so, she starts to plan her death. Morbid, I know, but it's sad too.

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.

Rating: 4.000

About The Author

Julie Anne Peters was born in Jamestown, New York. When she was five, her family moved to the Denver suburbs in Colorado. Her parents divorced when she was in high school. She has three siblings: a brother, John, and two younger sisters, Jeanne and Susan.

13 creative remarks:

Julie Anne Peters said...

Thank you for your thoughtful review. I'd agree with everything except the part where you say that suicide is an easy way out. If you feel suicide is your only hopeful ending, I feel you've been driven beyond the point of logical thinking. Unfortunately, the young people who commit bullycide have no othere choice in their minds, except to alleviate their pain through obliteration. Sad, but true.

Aik said...

@Julie: For me, I never feel that suicide is the easy way out. I was referring to Daelyn's suicide attempt(s) in the review. Perhaps for her, being alive and constantly tormented is worse than death itself. But if she thinks about it another way, things would be different: If she has the courage to end her own life, why does she not dare to stand up and fight back against her tormentors? It's her mindset that has to be changed. She will always remain a victim of bully if she never find the courage to speak for herself.

Julie Anne Peters said...

I think most of the time the people who are bullied don't have the inner strength to fight back. And bullies target these individuals specifically because of it. Bullies know they'll get away with it.

I wish more people who see others being mistreated would stand up for them in the same way concerned citizens have fought against civil rights violations throughout history. Nothing will change if we don't all take a stand against injustice.

Vivien said...

Really thoughtful review. This was a tough one for me to read. I can say I definitely had some negative feelings at times. A good book to read!

Elisquared said...

I've seen this book around so many times, and it is on my TBR list. But I have to admit I'm scared to read it. It sounds like such a realistic, sensitive take on the terror teens go through who are trying to commit suicide. And because of that, it is also a trigger topic for me.

But I think it's great that books like this are out for teens. Used as ways to talk about and help prevent suicide, these books are indispensable.

Hamizah VenXas said...

Your review convinced me to get this book. The story looks interesting, so I'll add this book in my book-shopping list!

Katie said...

Wow that sounds truly heartbreaking. Having a mom and a brother with depression, this really speaks out to me but I know they will never attempt suicide. I totally agree with you that suicide is an easy way out, selfish even. I'll definitely be looking to buy this book, thank you for the review!

REBECCA@ReadingWishes said...

Sounds heartbreaking, depressing and heavy, glad you enjoyed it though.

Hanne Coghe said...

This is a really sad and heartbreaking story.. Very difficult subject to talk about. I loved your review, I think I'll add this book to my to-buy-list :)

Diana said...

What a beautiful cover and I love the title. Great story, I hadn't heard for this book before from your review.
It seems really good book!

Nele Coghe said...

Another great review, and another book to add to my to read list :)

Lauren (Lauren Reads YA) said...

Great review! Except for the 'easy way out'-part. Suicide is almost the opposite of easy. Believe me, I've tried.

Jocelyn Hecking said...

what type of cancer does santana have?