Thursday, April 8, 2010

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

Tags: YA, suicide, bullying, bullycide

Rating: 5 out of 5


By the time she is 15, Daelyn Rice has tried—and failed—to kill herself more times than she’d care to remember. Stuck in a neck brace and unable to speak after a botched suicide attempt, Daelyn takes comfort in, a website for people who are extremely serious about suicide. There, Daelyn slowly reveals the years of suffering at the hands of heartless bullies that drove her to hate herself so much she wishes herself dead.

In the real world, however, there are still a few weeks to go before she finally “Completes.” And a dorky but endearing boy named Santana keeps trying to talk to her on the bench where she waits for her parents to pick her up every day after school. But Daelyn is hurt beyond repair. It is too late for someone to reach her…or is it?


BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD tore my insides raw. As I read, I screamed. I cried. I threw the book across the room. I apologized and cradled it delicately in my hands. I also chuckled and fell in love with the characters, flawed as they all are. Julie Anne Peters is nearly unmatched when it comes to writing about difficult, taboo, controversial, and absolutely necessary subjects, and her latest book is a terrifying masterpiece that deserves to find its way into everyone’s hands.

Daelyn is not an easily likable protagonist. I hope to God that very few of us out there can actually understand where she is coming from, a dark and frightening world so terrorized, so beaten, so loveless that, for her, suicide is a form of salvation. And yet, as she slowly reveals to us her bullied past, we invariably find ourselves at once within her, shocked into silence at what we experience being her, and at her side, emotionally invested in attempting to give her hope. It’s a powerful duality of readers’ position that only the most skilled of novelists can achieve.

And indeed, Julie Anne Peters’ incredible writing skills are brilliantly showcased in this book. Daelyn’s voice is cynical and snarky without being overwhelmingly pity-inducing. Peters’ prose is short, to the point, and lyrically sweet. Sometimes succinctness is the greatest form of power.

I can’t end this review without pointing out how absolutely lovely Santana is—but I’ll let you find that out for yourself. Needless to say, I wish I could place a copy of this book into the hands of everyone between the ages of 12 and 18. Perhaps if everyone were allowed this candid look into Daelyn’s hurt, bullying and suicide—bullycide—would be hopefully less of a terrifyingly real problem.

Similar Authors
Elizabeth Scott (Living Dead Girl)
Courtney Summers

Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 5/5

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Cover discussion: 4.5 out of 5 - With the exception of the model (whom I think is too pretty and her expression too...placid to be Daelyn), I love everything about this cover. The way the bright red rose petals contrast astonishingly with the black and white, the title treatment. There's just so much atmosphere going on that I love.

Hyperion / Jan. 5, 2010 / Hardcover / 224pp. / $16.99

Copy bought by me.


  1. Sounds like the type of book you should read with a box of tissues next to you. I love your review. I don't know if I will be able to read this book though. I had someone very special in my life who commited suicide so reading about it in book has always been hard for me. Though I think your so right with wanting to put this in the hands of 12-18 year olds.

  2. Sounds like a very interesting and intriguing read!

  3. This book sounds intense, and definitely worth the read. Great review.

  4. I think this is the first time I've read a review from you where you gave a book 5 stars. Now I know I must read it.

  5. Thanks for the review - it looks like one I'll have to put on my list!

  6. This is a really great review, Steph. I'm moving this one up my TBR pile!

  7. Oh cool. Going to have to look for this on at the library

  8. Although I have never heard of this book your review was so powerful I now feel like I have to pick it up! Thanks for such a great review!

  9. Wow, this sounds like such a powerful but sadening book. I've only heard great things about it so far! I need to read it.

  10. I have read all of Julie's books except this one and RAGE. I wish I didn't have so many books to read, or I would run frantically to the bookstore to buy this.

  11. Sounds great! I´d like to read it.

  12. The cover is absolutely gorgeous. I'd never heard of the book before, but I saw it across the bookstore and couldn't resist looking closer. I really liked Luna, so I'll definitely give this one a shot. Thanks for the review!

  13. Wow - I'm so enthralled by your extremely positive review! I think this is the type of book I'm afraid to read because I'm scared of getting into it so much...but then again, if we're always safe we'll never learn. Will pick this up, thanks for he review!

  14. The cover of this book is beautiful! It sounds like an intense read. I'll have to check it out. Great review.

  15. oh wow. This sounds like another winner. I just finished SOME GIRLS ARE and am still reeling from that story. I may have to take a break before picking up this one however.. Thanks for the great review!

  16. okay. it got a 5--automatically on my wishlist. i'm curious, does Santana have any similarities to Guy in Willow?
    awesome review.

  17. The title is dark..and the initial plot (bullies and suicide) is already heavy. Interesting how the protagonist will find hope. Nice review... :-)

  18. I've heard many positive reviews about this one, and it makes me dying to read it more then ever. Great review!!

  19. A book that will make you scream and cry while reading it?!? Wow! Reminds me to read this at home when I have happy family and friends to turn to. It sounds awesome.

  20. This is the kind of connection every author dreams of making with a reader. Thank you, Steph, for your phenomenal review and recommendation of my book. I'm off to add you to my will.


Hello! I'm so excited to read what you have to say. Due to high amounts of spam, I'm forced to disabled anonymous comments for the time being. Sorry for any inconvenience this causes, and I hope you can understand and still appreciate the content here!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...