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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 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
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
on June 13, 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 through-the-light.com, 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?

I am shocked that this novel is not so popular, as another suicide novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, seemed to be read by everyone. This novel should be more popular. This book should be required reading for all middle and high school students, because it will change their lives, even though some are reluctant to admit that. You may scoff at people who say they're going to kill themselves. After you read this, you will never think like that again. Daelyn's story is raw and unsettling. It is realistic and beautiful, harrowing and haunting, and it will stay with you forever.

-reviewed by a teenager. (I apologize for any teenagery and/or snarky comments in this review, if they have offended you. I understand they can be very annoying, just like teenagers themselves. In any case, thanks for dealing with them and thanks for reading this review.)
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 6, 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Gripping, astoudingly powerful and gut wrenching. Despite how many suicide related books are out there, this one easily stands out. Peters has weaved together several unique elements, shining a very bright on Daelyn even in a world where she wants nothing more than to fade away.

Daelyn, for all intensive purposes, is mute. She has not been this way all her life but rather forced into it as a result of an unsuccessful suicide attempt- showing very vividly how easily many things can go wrong when the end isn't reached. Instead of being dead, she now wears a neck brace and her only means of communication is to write things down. This element alone makes this book stand out for me because her mind is fully intact and her personality easily comes through- her pain, her sarcasm, and her honest desire to no longer exist. When her parents try talking with her, it is acceptable for Daelyn to remain silent.

The website she discovers is another very unique aspect of this book- a meeting place for those wanting suicide and giving both an outlet as well as time to think things through. A Date of Determination is chosen- the day you will commit suicide but there is a certain amount of days that must occur before the DOD can be reached. Logically, anyone wanting suicide bad enough wouldn't worry what a website says but Daelyn follows it- the book focuses on those days counting down to her DOD.

Daelyn's character will break your heart. As the book progresses, the bullying and torment she's endured unfolds, showing how she came to be the girl with a few unsuccessful suicide attempts under her belt but determined for the next one to go off without a hitch. She knows her parents love her and she knows they will hurt but she also holds hope they will understand that no matter how much she does love them back, she hates living even more. Peters has written the suicidal mindset astoundingly well, thrusting the reader into that level of pain and hopelessness that could drive a person to taking their own life. Never once did I think Daelyn was being overdramatic- she wasn't even seeking attention. Daelyn stressed the point she didn't want to be remembered after she died and was thinking of those she'd be leaving behind, namely her parents, as she debated her chosen method of suicide.

This plot progresses very smoothly, telling both Daelyn's past as well as what is happening in the present. When she meets a boy- one that actually seems to take interest in her rather than wanting to torment her- minor hitches are thrown in her plans but Daelyn doesn't instantly decide to live just because of a boy. Peters continued to show her struggle and develop her character until the very end which was absolutely stunning and thought provoking. This type of novel tends to make the reader think and feel but Peters kicked even that up a few notches, guaranteeing this one to stay in their minds for several days.

I highly recommend this one as it is a very vivid trip into the world of the suicide and depression that comes from bullying, written beautifully. With strong characters, loving and devoted parents, and many other unique elements, this book stands out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is a powerful, sometimes hard-to-read story on an often hard-to-face subject: adolescent suicide; and it minces no words about another, related topic: bullying.

Our protagonist is Daelyn Rice, a much-loved but deeply troubled only child, who, as the result of life-long bullying due to her being "fat," has determined to kill herself. (In fact, she has made prior attempts, one such attempt having rendered her mute and unable to speak.) She finds a website called Through the Light to assist her in her goal.

The website more or less puts her on a count-down clock to the day she will "complete."

Shortly before that day arrives, however, she meets Santana, a quirky but very likable and remarkably upbeat older boy who is determined to befriend this poor creature who has no other friends. Her well-meaning parents cannot reach her, but will Santana, who keeps chipping away at the impenetrable wall that is Daelyn, be able to?

I would like to discuss three particularly striking devices that the author uses to further this story.

First, the fact that Daelyn has been rendered mute is a brilliant technique to bring the story more "into her head." This is a deeply troubled girl and the fact that she is unable to speak forces the author to delve more deeply into her inner life and thought patterns. Genius.

Secondly, Daelyn has access to the internet and the website that assists her in her goal. It seems her only means of communication is her computer and she pours her heart out (anonymously) in chat-rooms. Her computer also provides a means for Santana, the well-intentioned boy who won't go away, to intrude into her life whether she likes it or not.

Third, Santana is troubled in his own way, but the fact of his upbeat nature is the perfect counterpoint to Daelyn's depression. The gut-wrenching irony [spoiler alert] is that while Santana is dealing with a potentially fatal illness and wants to live, Daelyn, who is physically healthy (just overweight) wants to die.

Before I even opened this book, I had read about its "open-ended" conclusion. The author leaves it completely open to the reader's interpretation as to what Daelyn's ultimate direction will be. That device is nothing new in literature, but the author's choice of words here is just perfect. How does Daelyn "complete herself?" How does she "head into the light?" It's like the ultimate glass half-empty or glass half-full ending.

A very moving, thoughtful and uniquely written book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover
At first I wasn't sure if I would like this book. The way that it starts out leaves you wondering what is going on....it takes a few chapters to realize that Daelyn can not talk...and that her parents will not leave her alone for any reason. Slowly the pieces start to fall into place and you realize (at least I did) what she had tried to do to herself that has caused her muteness. As a parent this book is a bit unnerving. I don't know if there really are websites out there for people who want to commit suicide, but I'm betting if you want to find it you can. The underlining cause of Daelyn's reason for trying to commit suicide is bullying. She was overweight from a young age and she experienced humiliation on all levels, from her peers, teachers, and strangers. As I read this book, I couldn't help but reflect on an incident that happened last week at my middle school. I like to walk the halls during passing time, when I noticed a young boy say something to a girl who has some "emotional problems." She then tried to kick him. He looked up, saw me, and instantly yelled, "She tried to kick me!." My response- "I saw you whisper something to her and I don't know what it was but you better zip your mouth!" Then I turned to the girl and told her that I'm sure what he said wasn't nice, but that she couldn't go around solving her problems by kicking others. The next day she came to the library with her English class. She picked out two new books that I had just ordered, Taking Action Against Bullying, and Frequently Asked Questions About Loneliness. I mentioned something to her about the bullying book and that I hoped it helped her to deal with that certain boy. And then she said something that quite literally blew me away and has since then haunted me......"He's not the only one Mrs. Taylor...there are a lot of them out there." And that is why this book and others that highlight bullying and the effects are important to read, no matter how uncomfortable they make us. Highly Recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
OMG, this book is epic! One of the major reasons why I decided to read this book was because the cover page grabbed my attention deeply and the title made me scared. Just by reading the title, I came up with a thousands of questions that popped in my mind.. Why is she dying? Is this like a journal? Is she committing suicide? Is she writing this to ONE specific person?Will she actually die? The book answered ALL these questions and then some more. After a couple of failed suicide attempts, Daelyn Rice (main character) is determined to get it right THIS time once and for all. She wanted to kill herself because she's being bullied and she feels unwanted, but there's more to it. READ it. The theme of this book is that: one little incident can cause a life time results. It can be pain or even death. What I really like about the book is the suspense it automatically creates, it makes me want to never close the book until it ends. Every word counted and I loved almost every bit of it except the fact that she's willing to end her life just because she feels no one will even notice she's gone. What about her parents? Her crush? God gave her something precious (her life) and she shouldn't destroy His creation for anyone at all ..... or did she? Who would I recommend this book to? Everyone, especially those who feel unwanted. The truth is, at least one person will grief over you being gone even if you don't know it. Never let the words of negative person effect you, if anything let them motive you into doing something better. Prove them wrong.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book wasn't bad...just not good. There was way too much build up for nothing. It goes into way too much detail on how to commit suicide, that it triggered me back into a bout of depression I haven't felt in years. It's too charged, especially for teenagers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Bullying is a national epidemic and adults don't always understand or see the signs that bullying is a problem for their children. No one wants to believe that their child is not "accepted" at school or they figure they went through the same thing and turned out okay so its no big deal. Unfortunately, kids who are bullied frequently keep the extent of the bullying hidden from the adults in their lives.

Books like By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead are a giant wake up call.

Daelyn Rice has never felt safe at school. For as long as she can remember kids have picked on her for being overweight. The older she got the worse things seemed to get and soon suicide seemed her only way out.

Through out the book we travel with Daelyn as she counts down the 23 days until her Day of Determination...the day she'll kill herself. Along the way she meets Santana a home-schooled boy about her age that lives near her school. She also meets Emily, a new girl who is chubby and teased...just like her. Both of them reach out to Daelyn just as shes shutting down emotionally.

This is such a good book and really, a story we should all read. Julie Anne Peters is a wonderful writer who has written a variety incredible books that deal with hot-topic issues that teens and young adults are dealing with.

Visit her website: [...].

Best suited for 8th grade and up
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