By the time you read this, I'll be dead by Julie Anne Peters

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in | Posted on 6:22 AM

Daeyln wants to die.

No, Daelyn is determined to die.

This isn't just typical woe-is-me teen angst, that wish for the hard stuff to be over, to get out -- of high school, a small town, a boring home...
Daelyn wants out of life. She's tried before, and failed. She is not going to fail again.

Another 'darker' novel that addresses a twisted problem with sensitivity and some creativity, too, By the time you read this doesn't try to manipulate you with any of the obvious tricks. Daelyn's matter of fact, deadpan narration may put you off at first, but I found it increasingly compelling and far more disturbing than any weepy tirade. Daeyln tells you simply how it is, and the awfulness speaks for itself.

Trauma is involved, but it's more than one single, horrible event -- it's a long, grinding torture of ridicule and abuse that is often casually dismissed under the catchall term 'bullying.'

But this goes way beyond the stereotypical 'give me your lunch money.' Peters shows the suffering and agony that can fester in a 'safe' suburbia when you pack a bunch of hormonal teens in small spaces, and then give them IM and facebook so they are never truly out of contact...

There is a bit of manipulative trickery when Daeyln meets Santana, an annoying dork boy who insists on showing her his pet rat and simply will not leave her alone. If you have seen or read any teen coming-of-age tearjerker ever, you will instantly know what's up with Santana. But Peters manages to make this more than the typical device - part of this is Santana himself, who cheerfully acknowledges his own manipulativeness. He's a person, not a life lesson, and so is Daelyn - which is why the story itself resists any easy categorizations.

Excellent in psychological depth, this is another heavy read that is well worth the discomfort of the ugly subject - you'll keep reading because you care about Daelyn, and she may just surprise you in the end.

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