Review of By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead by Julie Ann Peters

Star Rating: 
Genre: Young Adult
Number of Pages: 240

Date Started: March 28, 2017
Date Finished: March 28, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
After a lifetime of being bullied, Daelyn is broken beyond repair. She has tried to kill herself before, and is determined to get it right this time. Though her parents think they can protect her, she finds a Web site for “completers” that seems made just for her. She blogs on its forums, purging her harrowing history. At her private Catholic school, the only person who interacts with her is a boy named Santana. No matter how poorly she treats him, he just won’t leave her alone. And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life . . . isn’t it?

In this harrowing, compelling novel, Julie Anne Peters shines a light on what might make a teenager want to kill herself, as well as how she might start to bring herself back from the edge. A discussion guide and resource list prepared by “bullycide” expert C. J. Bott are included in the back matter.

Review:
I spent the novel wishing Daelyn would open up, would tell her parents about what had bothered her, why she felt how she did. I wish that her account had been found, that her postings had been read, that maybe she shared them and would become an advocate for others who have suffered like she did.

Once Santana is in the picture Daelyn is forced to realize that while she might feel like there’s nothing for her, and that getting rid of herself is the only way, there are people who would be willing to do anything to make sure they could continue to live. Through seeing others bullied for being different like she was, Daelyn slowly begins to open up, to let people know that she does care… even though she really doesn’t want to.

The ambiguity of the ending is rather startling, though I hope most will think the same way I did, hoping it ended positively.

This book will remain on my bookshelf to potentially be loaned out to teenagers. It’s a perfect book to explain that people do care, even if you don’t realize it, and that there are many, many forms of bullying/abuse. This book would be an amazing book to have discussions about, and it includes potential discussion questions in the back.

Author Biography: (From Amazon)
For the last 20+ years, I’ve been writing books for young readers. My YA novel, Luna, the story of a transgender teen beginning her transition from male to female, was a National Book Award finalist and an American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults. (Thank you award committee members.) My other books about gender queer youth include Keeping You a Secret, Far from Xanadu (retitled, Pretend You Love Me), Between Mom and Jo, grl2grl: short fictions, Rage: A Love Story, She Loves You, She Loves You Not…, It’s Our Prom (So Deal With It), and my newest book scheduled for 2014, The Double Life of Swanee Durbin. Also check out my book about bullycide, By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead.

I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, PEN America, the Authors Guild, and the Colorado Authors’ League. I live with my partner, Sherri Leggett, in Lakewood, Colorado. (We’re celebrating our 38th anniversary this year.

More information about me and my books can be found on my Web site: http://www.JulieAnnePeters.com

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