Sharon's Reviews > By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: cpl-best-of-the-best, ya, realistic-fiction
Read in March, 2011

I really wish when I was horrifically depressed and on the brink of suicide, I had a character like Santana in my life---a goofy, exuberant guy who continued to pursue me even when I showed no interests or signs of response, and even rudely spurned him most of the time. I was so glad he was there to lighten the narrative a bit, but this particular trope always comes across as a but unrealistic to me, and it didn't ring true here.

I really did feel a lot of sympathy for Daelyn's character in this book, who has been bullied to the point where she no longer has hope, is rendered speechless by a neck brace that was the result of a suicide attempt, and is still eager to end her life. She came across as someone with no interests other than her relentless pursuit of self-destruction which, while occasionally boring and again sparks one to wonder why someone would find her fascinating, I find to be true to the experience of depression. There is some mention of her choral background too which shows a faded interest. I loved that she used a message board to express her thoughts, and there was even some dark humor in there and in considering suicide methods, which I wish had come through a little more.

I think the relationship Daelyn forms with another bullied, overweight teen, which is more awkward, slow, and understated, as a possible friend, was actually more interesting than the one with Santana and I really loved these two souls finding each other. Overall, this was a gripping read that palpably portrays severe depression, and in the countdown format keeps older teen & adult readers hooked into wondering what Daelyn's final decision will be.

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