By The Time You Read This, I’ll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters is one of the Teens’ Top Ten Nominations for 2010.
Daelyn does not speak even though she is in chorus; she drinks all of her meals and calls her parents by their first name. She wears a neck brace to keep her throat from collapsing until healed. Her last suicide attempt failed but Daelyn is determined that her next attempt to die will succeed. The only question is when and how.
With the assistance of a website named Through-The-Light, Daelyn unemotionally explores the different ways one can kill oneself with each method rated 1-5 for effectiveness, time, availability, and pain. Choosing the day of death is mandatory to be part of this self-termination program….. 23 days is the minimum.
Santana tries to befriend Daelyn. Santana is having a relapse of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. His desperate desire to live is in sharp contrast to Daelyn’s desire to die.
As the days count down by chapters, Daelyn starts purging episodes of her life on the message board as a way for the reader to discover what has brought Daelyn to this precipice. Ms. Peters allows the reader to react to Daelyn’s on line vignettes without telling us how we should feel. I felt as helpless as her parents as I raced to the finish to see what was going to happen.
To read more about the Teens’ Top Ten, click here. To request this book from Wake County Public Libraries, click here. Voting begins August 23, 2010 and ends September 17, 2010. To vote during these dates, click here.