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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Review: By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead

Title: By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead
Author: Julie Anne Peters
Pages: 224
Published: January 5th 2010 by Hyperion Book CH
Genre: YA Fiction
Source: Public Library

Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she's determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for "completers"- www.through-the-light.com. While she's on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she's not on the Web, Daelyn's at her private school, where she's known as the freak who doesn't talk.Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she's waiting to for her parents to pick her up. Even though she's made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won't give up. And it's too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life. Isn't it?- from Goodreads

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   

27 comments:

  1. Nice review, highly recommended, now that sounds good

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  2. Wasn't sure from the synopsis, but your review has me thinking this an important book... especially if you're the parent of a teen. Great review, Staci!

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  3. I picked this book up Tuesday and then put it back. After reading your review, I am going to read it.

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  4. Your personal story is quite poignant and makes me terribly sad.

    I am reminded of the Bearenstein Bears books that I read to my kids when they were younger: some people feel the need to put others down in order to build themselves up. I hope that treated their classmates in a way that was uplifting for all.

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  5. That is a great review Staci. I want to read this book! Bullying is a big problem, and I know that because Meredith had it happen to her, yet nobody seems to take it seriously.

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  6. been a victim of bullies in my past....i know how hard it is for kids...especially in today's society!! i loveeeeeeeeeee the review...sounds like a really powerful book...and good for u for sticking up for that girl...i am glad she got those books to read too! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

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  7. I enjoyed you adding your personal story, it is quite frightning how serious this is actually.

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  8. wow....thanks for the powerful review staci.

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  9. It sounds like a heart-wrenching novel but an important one that offers a ray of hope.

    It's a sad fact that organizations like Kids Help Phone and the like are needed today more than ever. I wish someone had recognized the signs at my son's highschool — a beautiful young girl is gone now ...

    A few years ago, at the same HS, my daughter sat in front of a male student who continually made ugly and awful racial slurs; not loud and outright but across the aisle to his buddy. Extremely uncomfortable and upset by this, she would put on her headphones in an effort to block him out. One day, he was poking "fun" about all the "fat, ugly chicks" that go to their school (again to his buddy). That's when my daughter stood up, turned around and blasted him with an outrage against what a small minded and hateful waist of human existence he was! Was I proud of my daughter for standing up for others and calling out this "closet bully"? Yes, definitely but within days he started intimidating her; blocking her path on the stairway and forcing her to walk around him, throwing cranberries at her in class and more. Once made aware, the school did intervene and my daughter received a citizenship award for her efforts BUT I spent the rest of her senior year worried sick that something awful would happen!

    I'm not sure what the answer is? I know everyone in Canada and the U.S. deserves and is entitled to an education but it's a shame what some students have to endure to get it.

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  10. Oh Staci, this post just left me in tears. And the bullying often begins long before middle school. :( It's just so heartbreakingly sad. I really can't wait to get my hands on this book.

    Gray was recently diagnosed with selective mutism--he can speak and is as boisterous as can be at home, but simply cannot speak at school or other social situations. Not *won't* but *can't*. It's so painful for him, and of course, it's so painful to be his parent and watch him suffer so much.

    Julie Anne Peters is just so awesome for writing about so many important topics. I just want to read everything she's ever written...and yet I haven't read a single one yet.

    Thanks for the review, Staci--and for sharing that story. *hugs*

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  11. I can see why you were blown away by your students response. It is scary how many bullies there are out there and with technology there are an increasing number of ways to bully.
    The book looks haunting. She caused her own muteness. That might be too much for me to take right now.
    Love your review!

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  12. This book sounds so sad! But important, especially for teens!

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  13. I got chills reading your review. Friends of my parents' grandson committed suicide because of bullying, so I know it's a huge problem.

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  14. This sounds like a powerful book and one I should read but it also sounds sad. Bullying is a serious problem for so many children and I'm glad to see more books on this subject although I hope that the ending of this one isn't that she commits suicide. My son has had issues with bullying and it concerns me greatly. Schools sometimes have a "blame the victim" attitude or tell kids that they need to be "tougher" and not let things bother them. Good for you for standing up for the girl that you saw being bullied. I hope that she has someone to talk to..maybe the guidance counselor at your school.

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  15. Oops...you're link for this book goes to a Sandra Brown book on goodreads:)

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  16. This looks fantastic! What an amazing review!

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  17. Really great review, Staci. This sounds like a tough, but necessary read.

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  18. Sadly, Bully's have been around forever unfortunately. When I was in jr high back in the 70's the boys would spit in my hair, try to push me down in the hall, call me names. Interestingly enough, when the boys were not together, separately they were nice. Together they were horrendous. It's usually when you stand up to them, that they leave you alone.

    The boy will bothered your student, will think twice about bothering her again because she stood up for herself.

    Interesting book - I'll have to look in it.

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  19. This book is on my TBR list, but I'm not sure I can bring myself to read it because of the subject.

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  20. My eyes are misty after reading your review and the comments. It breaks my heart that our children can be so cruel to each other. It sounds like we, people who care about children, need to educate ourselves on this issue. Thanks for this review - a good start in this education.

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  21. This sounds like a powerful and emotional read. I think bullying is so awful and my heart breaks for those going through it. It's just not right.

    ps- How did you highlight your text like that within your post?

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  22. Oh Staci--
    What a powerful review of a very powerful sounding and important book. Even more powerful was the story you shared about your own school. I was worried about bullies picking on my Sam when he entered middle school last year because he stutters. Thankfully none of that has happened and he actually has had a better time of it now than he did with bullies in elementary school.
    Thanks for such a wonderful review and for caring enough about that girl in your school to reach out to her.
    *smiles*

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  23. oops...
    ps~~I would like to know how you hightlighted your text also!
    *smiles*

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  24. Wow, this book sounds emotional and important. Thanks for connecting it to a personal story. And I appreciate the way you handled what you witnessed in school.

    --Anna
    Diary of an Eccentric

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  25. Aww that poor little girl. I know how she feels, being picked on. Kids today are even meaner than when I was growing up. I'll keep her in my thoughts.

    Great review.

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  26. I don't know how you do it. I don't know how KIDS do it, the way the world is today. I remember how hard high school was for me to get through, and I wish I could tell those kids how much better life gets once you get past those crappy parts. But they probably wouldn't believe me, just like I didn't believe the people who said it to me. What to do?

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  27. Hmmm - one for the TBR List, I think! Thanks.

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