Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Day I Killed James” as Want to Read:
The Day I Killed James
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Day I Killed James

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  351 ratings  ·  52 reviews
IT WASN’T SUPPOSED to end up like this. But it did.

When Theresa brings James to a party as her date, it’s just for the night . . . and he knows that. But when everything goes horribly wrong, James drives his motorcycle off a cliff—and Theresa knows she’s responsible for his death.
Theresa tries to run away from the pain, becoming a new young woman with a whole new life. She
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Day I Killed James, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Day I Killed James

The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsTwilight by Stephenie MeyerEclipse by Stephenie MeyerNew Moon by Stephenie MeyerBreaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Great Books with BLACK covers
171st out of 1,181 books — 666 voters
Racing to Love by Amy GregoryHeavy Duty People by Iain ParkeHeavy Duty Attitude by Iain ParkeZen and Now by Mark  RichardsonHeavy Duty Trouble by Iain Parke
Bikes on Books
8th out of 53 books — 36 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 919)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Summary of the story

The book, The Day I Killed James, from the bestselling author of Pay it Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde, is a romance fiction book, which is gaining popularity among young adult readers.
The novel is about 18- years- old girl Teresa, who lives with his father since her mother left them when she was 11. She had to be grown –up with father deprived herself of a mother’s love. Even though his father was always near by her side, he could not be the one who can replace mother’s heart
This raw witty novel starts off about Theresa's neighbor James who has a huge crush on her. Theresa is smitten with her jerk boyfriend Randy. This is the story of actions, consequences and coming to terms with what happens. It is a light easy read that had me laughing out loud at several points while deftly dealing with heavy topics of guilt, remorse and healing. This won't be the last book that I read by this author. For such a dark topic, this was a thoroughly enjoyable little read. Definite r ...more
I’m split on how to rate this book. I did not like the first part at all, but I loved the rest of the book.

The beginning was extremely confusing. There were normal chapters about the days before James died and there were journal entries, which said “Day I’m writing this” and “Day I’m writing about”, which were partly about the time before and partly about the time after James’ death. The order of these chapters and journal entries seemed random to me. The narrative of the journal entries seemed
Theresa tells James that their party date is a one-time thing. She’s only using him to make her maybe-ex-boyfriend jealous. It works, but Theresa breaks James’ heart in the process, and he drives his motorcycle of a cliff, dying of suicide. Theresa’s entire world collapses, and she blames herself for James’ death. She severs ties with her old life, and tries to reinvent herself, all in an attempt to atone for what she did to James. Slowly though, through meeting a girl very similar to herself, T ...more
This book is about James and Thersa are neighbors, and is in love
with Thersa. He is a few years older than Thersa and he is little weird.
Thersa was not felling the same way for James as he did for her. That happeneds
sometimes. But when Theresa's boyfriend decides to go to a party with a girl
that's not Thersa(what a jerk. Theresa ends up inviding James on a date to the
same party that Thersa's boyfriend went to. Theresa was up in front of the house and told
James she beings to fall in love with hi
Liz Nelson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 09, 2012 Christie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
People die of love.

Eighteen-year-old Theresa believes this to be true, or at least she claims she does in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s YA novel, The Day I Killed James. We meet her at the beginning of her therapy sessions with Dr. Grey. She doesn’t like him very much.

I’ve thought about dumping him and getting somebody else, but that would be the easy way out, which I’m not entirely sure I deserve.

So why is Theresa in therapy? Well, James, the buff boy next door – who has been trying to get her attentio
This was a good little book, which surprised me a couple of times. Did it introduce a major character almost half-way in? Yep. Does it take a hard look at the aftermath of suicide? Yep? It even passes the Bechdel test with flying colors just when you think it is going to be another drippy YA story of a girl moping about after a boy, so props for the grrrl power. By the finale, some solid messages work their way in.

On the negative side, the first act dragged so much that when Theresa says on pag
Eileen Granfors
I was introduced to the writing of Catherine Ryan Hyde by one of my friends who took a writing workshop from her. I had no idea how much I would enjoy Hyde's unusual YA lit until I read "Becoming Chloe." Now with "The Day I Killed James" also making its mark with me, I am a devoted fan of this author.

The story focuses on Theresa, a teen grappling with guilt and grief. She has been dumped by her boyfriend,Randy, and lets a neighbor boy take her to a party. Her motivation is to make Randy jealous.
James was Theresa’s neighbor. It was obvious to everyone, even to her that he was in love with her. Theresa however didn’t feel that way about James, she couldn’t help it, it just wasn’t there. He was four years older than her and besides that she already had a boyfriend, Randy. When Randy moves onto another girl, Theresa can’t help but use James’s willingness to her advantage. She knows he loves her, and she knows that using him is wrong, but he insists that he wants to be used. Theresa, howeve ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jaglvr for

Everyone carries around some sort of guilt or regret. Most don't carry the burden that Theresa does.

James is her next-door neighbor. He's attractive, but a bit too bizarre for Theresa. And he's in love with her. He left for two years for the military and wrote her every week. She thinks she sent him maybe two letters in return.

Theresa is in love with her boyfriend, Randy. They've been dating for nine months now. However, he's just told her that he wants t
Theresa is madly in love with her boyfriend, Randy, but her neighbour, James, is in love withe her; it becomes a vicious cycle of heartbreak. Randy has just broken up with Theresa and she seeks comfort in James, using him to get attention from Randy. When things take a wrong turn and James ends up dying, Theresa abandons the town, changes her name, and tattoos a heart with James' name on her chest. Theresa, now known as Annie, goes to town that James suicided in to start a new life committed to ...more
Hyde, Catherine Ryan. 2008. The Day I Killed James.

Awful cover. Great book. It's too early to say if it will make my best of the best list, but I thought the writing was great. Theresa is a teen haunted with guilt and regret. James, her next-door-neighbor has had a big crush on her for years. When her boyfriend, Randy, breaks up with her just days before a big party--a party celebrating their graduation from high school--Theresa decides she can't go alone. James, lovesick that he is, readily vol
Julia M.
The first part of this book was pretty confusing. I'm not used to chapters laid out like that. I missed some parts of, had to skip back a chapter or two because I didn't know what was happening. I like the last half of the book better, I could understand it better. Overall it was really good. I felt an odd connection with the main character Theresa. She reminded me so much of myself.

I don't know if I would recommend it. Not a book for every one.
Pamela Beason
Teens are completely self-focused, and so it's easy for them to think they cause everything. Theresa goes into a tail-spin of self-destruction when she believes that her actions caused a boy to commit suicide. When she meets another kid who blames herself for a terrible loss, she begins to learn that only you can forgive yourself and move on. Excellent book.
Jazlyn Diaz
This book should be read by teenagers. It's a book about a real life situation that has it's consequences. I feel like many teenagers can relate. I honestly really did enjoy this book. It has a really meaningful message, especially towards teenagers who are or are going to start to date. I love how it perfectly paints a picture in your head through every page. The main character Theresa uses a boy as revenge to make her ex jealous and of course that has its consequences and he commits suicide. I ...more
This book is amazing! This was the first book in awhile that made me cry. It was so beautiful, and raw. The characters were real and complex, and I thought the dialog was funny as well as heartfelt. But then again I have never read a Catherine Ryan Hyde book I didn't like.
A high school senior with a jerk of a boyfriend also has a very handsome next door neighbor, James. James is four years older but clearly infatuated with her. He's very sweet, and says he understands when she asks him to be her one-time date to a special party, after her boyfriend has dumped her for the many-eth time. Then, things go horribly wrong.
Very good, although the author leaves a few plot threads semi-resolved in a way that didn't feel satisfying. For instance, there's a whole side plot
Sheila Koelliker
Another Catherine Hyde book to like. Read it in one sitting because I needed to figure out if she would punish herself forever. The ending wasn't disappointing. I would recommend this book. .
I have really loved every Catherine Ryan Hyde book I have read and I have to say this one is not my favortie. The story was okay, but not explored enough. I think back to other stories of teenage pain and angst and the thing that seems to be missing is that depth of getting to know all of the characters and what they are thinking why they do what they do and I didn't feel like I got to know anyone in this story even the narrartor and half of the book was her diary. I probally wouldn't recomend t ...more
Theresa refers to the Day as "the Day I killed James." She believes she is the cause of his suicide. She broke his heart. The one boy who was so hopelessly in love for her, who went through great lengths just to get her attention and amuse her, who was always there to help without needing asked. The perfect boy, and Theresa took him for granted. She'll never forgive herself of that, will she?

This book is somewhat of an adventure. Theresa moves around quite a bit, uncomfortable wherever she's at.
Karen Keyte
What if you broke someone’s heart, someone who was good and kind? Not on purpose, you understand, but just by being careless - by thinking more about your own feelings than his. What if you knew he loved you and you knew you didn’t love him back, but maybe you encouraged him a bit, gave him a little hope? What if you broke his heart, and he killed himself?

Sad and wise, gritty and tender, The Day I Killed James tells the story of Theresa and what happens to her after she breaks James’ heart. It’s
This is a story of redemption that requires the protagonist to take an inward journey, rather than drive cross country to find the answers. There are some location changes, but not like the usual journey story.
In the process, Theresa also helps another girl embark on a journey of healing. The narrative shifts from first person to third person at one point, as an interesting device to show the denial in which Theresa is caught.

My favorite phrase: "We should all be more careful with each other's h
Suzie Quint
No where near her best work.
my friend can relate.
So the beginning was a little slow for me. But towards Part 2 I was drawn in and ended up finishing the rest of the book in one day. Part 2 till the end reminded me why I love Catherine Ryan Hyde's writing so much!

The beginning Theresa is just complaining and blaming her self for killing James. You don't know why and it doesn't clearly make sense why she is even blaming herself. But by Part 2 she has completely let the whole accident dramatically affect her.
Abby Johnson
This powerful story had me hooked from the beginning, lost me a little bit in the middle, and got me again at the end. Theresa never meant to hurt James. When her boyfriend Randy broke up with her, she took James to the party as revenge. James knew that she wasn't that into him. But James never came home from that party and Theresa knows it's her fault. The Day I Killed James is a powerful story about a girl coming to terms with her grief and her guilt.
Yet another Garden Ridge purchase! *smiles* This is my second Hyde novel, and I'm not really sure what to think. This novel jumps all over the place. It's written in somewhat of a diary format. Here's a list of my likes and dislikes.


1. Overall message

2. Secondary characters

3. Theresa


1. Lack of plot

2. James

3. Theresa

Clearly, from my lists, you can see I'm conflicted. Read and help me figure this out!
From reading this text I learned to not be careless with other peoples hearts. The heartfelt story really opens the minds of teenagers with grief and proves anyone can truly be forgiven. Written in a personal diary style, Theresa confronts her guilt and encounters lifelong friends.

I would recommend this because it elicits emotions that will captivate and take you on a journey of love and amnesty.
Lorin Cary
I really liked this book. Aimed at young adults, it is none the less a solid read for anyone. Theresa at 18 flees confronting her guilt, hides from her feelings and in a journal we see her chaos and angst reflected in how Hyde presents the entries. Eventually she befriends a younger girl from a disturbing household and with her gradually learns lessons of love, acceptance and forgiveness.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 31 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cubanita
  • Beauty and the Bully
  • Do-Over
  • The Boyfriend Trick (First Kisses, #2)
  • Violet in Private (Violet, #3)
  • The Real Real
  • M+O 4EVR
  • My Father's Son
  • Circus of the Darned (Ben and Fran, #2)
  • Soul Enchilada
  • Crossing Over
  • Sang Spell
  • The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure
  • Twelve Long Months
  • Jump Cut (Seven, #3)
  • Taken
  • Prom Kings and Drama Queens
  • The Opposite of Invisible
I'm the the author of 28 published and forthcoming books.

My newest releases are The Language of Hoofbeats, Take Me With You , Where We Belong, Walk Me Home, Subway Dancer and Other Stories, When You Were Older, Don’t Let Me Go, When I Found You, Second Hand Heart, The Long, Steep Path: Everyday Inspiration From the Author of Pay It Forward, Always Chloe and Other Stories, and 365 Days of Gratitude
More about Catherine Ryan Hyde...
Pay It Forward When I Found You Don't Let Me Go Take Me with You Walk Me Home

Share This Book

“Things are so easy to do, so hard to undo.” 14 likes
“Because if you take something you're a thief.' She nursed the silence a moment. Downed the balance of her drink and silently signaled for another. 'Sounds simple, but you'd be amazed how many people don't get it. They steal but they call themselves honest. They cheat on their spouses and lovers but they think they're good people. They lie but they'd never call themselves liars. Well, let me tell you something, Todd. . . ." She pointed toward him with her right hand, with her lit cigarette. He leaned away slightly. She looked into the mirror of his eyes and saw herself going too far. 'You are what you do. That's what I'm trying to tell you. What we do defines us. However we behave, conduct our lives . . . that's real. The rest is just a story for publication.” 10 likes
More quotes…