By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
After reading Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, I was recommended this book. They both deal with suicide and depression, so I got it and read it.
Even though I didn't love Thirteen Reasons Why, I still remember the book and how I felt reading it. On the other hand, after I finished, "By the Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead." I didn't feel anything. Not anger, not sadness, not joy. Just meh.
No that's not true. After I read the ending, I thought, "That's it?"
The ending was left open-ended, leaving it up to the reader to decide what happens to Daelyn. I don't mind this, I watch a lot of Asian dramas and some of the books and they love their open ended stories. So I'm fine with this kind of ending. In fact, sometimes it can evoke different feelings out of you, depending on your mood and mindset.
But for some reason, I didn't like the open-endedness of this novel. In the book, Daelyn wants to commit suicide, she's had enough of life and can't wait till she kills herself. She's attempted to do this a few times, but each time she fails.
Daelyn doesn't want to fail again, so she joins an online community that promotes suicides. The site provides different ways you can kill yourself as well as tips for the big day. The only condition is that you have to wait for 23 days before you kill yourself.
The site is disgusting and I didn't like hearing about it, because of the seriousness of the matter, but at the same time it was interesting. It does scare me that there are probably sites like this out there.
In any case, Daelyn joins and the 23 days commence. During this time she meets a boy named Santana who doesn't leave her alone. Daelyn can't talk, but he can't stop talking. [Later in the book you find out that Santana is dying, which does add a nice contrast to Daelyn's life. Daelyn wants to die because she's sick of life, but Satana is dying, but wants to live longer. (hide spoiler)] I don't know why he wasted so much time with her (at least at first), but it does make some sense later on in the novel.
The more Daelyn hangs out with Santana, the more she wants to live...except she doesn't. I never felt like she was willing to change her plans because of Santana. Did she like him, yea. But was she going to let that stop her? I don't think so.
Which is why the ending didn't sit well with me. I don't think it was written in a way that provided two options of Daelyn. Not only is her mind set on killing herself, but she doesn't want to change. She doesn't. And I'm not knocking her feelings and characterization. I'm not. But in order for the ending to work, Daelyn needed to have some self reflection and inner turmoil about suicide, especially after meeting Santana.
Instead, she wants to kill herself for 95% of the book, then near the end she struggles a bit, then goes back to how she was before.
I dunno, it just didn't work for me.
Rating: 2 stars