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By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead Hardcover – January 5, 2010

137 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Daelyn Rice has been bullied her entire life, whether it was for her past weight problem or because she currently does not talk and wears a neck brace. She has attempted suicide several times in several different ways and is now more determined than ever to end her life. Daelyn discovers a Web site called Through-the-Light, which is for suicide "completers." There she communicates with others who share the same goal. The members share stories of bullying, molestation, etc., and encourage each other's ultimate goal. Meanwhile, Daelyn meets a boy named Santana. She wants nothing to do with him; his presence and determination to draw her out of her shell only annoy her. Over time and as new information surfaces (he has cancer), however, she finds herself drawn to him. Will their connection be enough to make Daelyn realize that her life is worth living? Readers are left not knowing what she will do. This novel is disturbing in that the teen bluntly discusses her desire to kill herself with little to no emotion. She has a plan, and she is eager to carry it out. Also upsetting are the suicide methods that are explicitly detailed on Through-the-Light. However, Santana's presence is welcome, as he softens the unsettling subject matter. This book is definitely worth the read, but for older, more seasoned teens.—Sarah K. Allen, Elko Middle School, Sandston, VA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

About the Author

Julie Anne Peters ( is the award-winning author of more than fifteen books for children and young adults. She lives in Colorado.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 11 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 460L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion / DBG (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423116186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423116189
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Sab H. VINE VOICE on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was not expecting this, specially in such a short read. This book is so harsh. And raw. And wrong. And cruel. And depressing. And sick. Oh, and I loved, loved, loved it. Even though my stomach sometimes didn't. I had physical ache while reading, that's how amazing it was. Seriously, I believe every person alive should read it. If you dare to read something so heart-wrenching that will most likely stick with you. It leaves a great message.

The world is a freaking messed up place, no need to hide that. This may be a hard read, but only because it's so real that it hurts. The characters in the book were magnificent. The guy, Santana, I've never been so in love with a realistic-fiction character before. I wanted to tear him out of the book. He will steal your heart and keep it. The writing was good, felt awkward at times, but worked perfectly.

If you think you can take reading about bullying and suicide (Bullycide) you must go pick this up right now. If you read Hate List (Jennifer Brown) and liked it, I think you will find this one really interesting too.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Daelyn has suffered major psychological damage from years of being bullied. The torment and embarrassment she received because of her weight started her downhill slide into despair. She has lost her desire to live and failed at several attempts to end her life. Her latest failure has left her unable to talk and on 24-hour suicide watch. Her parents barely trust her to go to school.

Daelyn is biding her time. She only has 23 days until her Date of Determination. She discovers the Through the Light website by accident, but finds it to be a welcome change of pace compared to the other suicide websites and discussion boards she's visited in the past. Instead of preaching and warning her against her decision, the website provides rational and informational posts and discussions about ending her life.

BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I'LL BE DEAD is a powerful and heart-wrenching story of one girl as she makes the hardest decisions of her life. How will she end her life and what will she do with her last 23 days?

Daelyn thinks she has it all figured out until she meets a strange boy while she waits for her parents to pick her up after school. Santana is persistent when it comes to making friends with Daelyn, but with only 23 days to live does she really have time?

This is a short book at only 198 pages. It is easily a one-sitting read and well worth the time. The author, Julie Anne Peters, also includes a lot of factual information at the back of the book. There are 19 Discussion Questions as well as sections about Bullying, Suicide, Warning Signs, and Prevention Hot Line Information.

Your heart will break for Daelyn and the ending is thought-provoking.

Reviewed by: Karin Librarian
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By thehydrogenpoptart on June 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
First Sentence: The white boy, the skinny, tall boy with shocking white hair, sneaks behind the stone bench and leans against the tree trunk.

How I Acquired the Book: I borrowed a digital copy from my library and read it on my iPad.

The Review: I'd like to begin this review by telling you that this book swept me off my feet. And it didn't even take vampires, fallen angels or werewolves to do that. No, all it took was an amazing protagonist, a great love-interest-but-not-supposed-to-be-love-interest, and some of the most heart-wrenching scenes I have ever read.

Daelyn Rice wants to die. She has attempted and failed at suicide before, but when she finds, she knows that everything is going to change. Through The Light is a suicide's dream website: the rules state that no one can post anything to discourage people from killing themselves, and people share their horrifying experiences in life as well as ways to kill yourself. Everyone on the website has a Day of Determination: the day when they will finally kill themselves. When the book begins, Daelyn has 23 days to go. And then we start counting down...and down...and down...

This book has haunted me for the past four weeks. I wasn't originally planning on writing a review for this, but changed my mind after I kept thinking about Daelyn. Some scenes in this book will stay with me forever. I don't even want to spoil the slightest detail for you, but let me just say that some parts of it are almost horror-fiction like. And yet, we see that these details are necessary, as we glimpse into Daelyn's life. These scenes make the book so emotionally charged, I wanted to cry. So much. Who knew you could stuff so much emotion into 200 pages?
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm VINE VOICE on January 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead is a heart-wrenching, edgy and has a truthful outlook on the causes of bullying. Julie Anne Peters has truly captured the voice of all kids and teens who struggle with bullying on a daily basis. I was quickly connected with Daelyn because she was an easy character to understand. Her whole life has been based on cruel bullying from her classmates and even people who were supposed to help her. After several failed attempts of suicide, she seeks help from a website for people who will complete their journey to the "light." Each chapter starts with the remaining time of days she has left to end her existence. I was at the edge of my seat anticipating what Daelyn's next move was going to be. My favorite part of the book is when she encounters Santana, he was a fresh breath of air. He was such an inspirational character yet funny and sarcastic as well. Overall, this book touched me in so many ways, bullying and suicide are serious matters and Julie's book just might inspire others dealing with these issues.
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