"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking." Jerry Seinfeld


Evidence 006: By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters

I'll read anything Julie Anne Peters writes. She is one of the few authors I refuse to part with, either lending or donating -- her books stay on my shelves. One day, my children will read her works. I'm adding By The Time You Read This, I'll Be Dead with pride. I'm so grateful that Peters is not afraid to talk about what needs to be talked about.

The slow moving trend of bullycide started with Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and continues with Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Peters adds to the genre with a raw look at the real psychological and physical effects of bullying. It's not just a grade school, playground phenomenon -- bullying is ever-present and even more dangerous, extreme, plotted, and ignored in high school. Daelyn has dealt with it her entire life; she didn't grow out of it, she couldn't fit in, and when it became too much to live with, she decided to end her life. Several failed attempts have rendered her mute, scared, and scarred. She's determined this time will be the success she's waited for.

Daelyn discovers a website which shows her she is not alone in her journey towards death. Avoiding her watchful, nervous parents is easy; staying away from the curious, extroverted, comical Santana proves difficult and frustrating. As Daelyn is attempting to end her life, Santana wants to be a part of it, sharing his own scars and fears even as Daelyn refuses to share her own. As she begins to purge her life of her belongings, and writes about her reasons behind her choice, Daelyn shuts down and shuts off everyone around her. There are faint flickers of hope - wishing to be comforted by her mother, Santana's cheesy attempts at romance, even attention from a possible new friend. She's confused by new feelings, determined to stay on track, and she begins to finally face her past as she sees her future becoming shorter and shorter.

I had chills from beginning to end. As someone who's lost two people to suicide, seeing life from this perspective was fresh, humbling, comforting. Daelyn is real; her thoughts, feelings, and actions are, too. This makes this novel even more important, more powerful, and more necessary for any parent, teacher, and teen wondering if they really are alone.

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