Wednesday, January 25, 2012

By the Time You Read this, I'll be Dead- Julie Anne Peters

Julie Anne Peters is the type of author who likes to write about teens with Issues. You know, depression, not fitting in, being either L, G, B, or T, and the like.  This book is about suicide and bullying, two Issues facing many teens, and ones I can relate to as well.

Daelyn has been bullied all her life.  She's a shy, timid girl who had been overweight most of her life and was picked on and humiliated by her peers.  Her parents change her schools a lot, but she's still always a target.
Daelyn has attempted suicide before, but only managed to injure herself.  She feels that there is no reason to live because everyone is so mean to her, she hates herself, and has nowhere to turn.

There were times in this book when I thought, 'Oh, Daelyn, can't you see someone trying to reach out to you?' but she always cut them off because she'd been hurt too many times.  She finds a website in which people discuss their reasons for wanting to die and logs on.  Few people respond to each other.  It's mostly people complaining about their own lives without commenting much on other peoples' problems.  This is pretty typical of suicidal people; they are so consumed with their own misery that it's hard to see anyone else.

I wouldn't judge people based on this, however.  It's clear that it's a mental illness; you feel cut off from the world, and unloved; you simply do not see people who want to help you or befriend you.  It's hard to empathize with other people because all you can see is your own misfortune.

I thought this was a very good example of what a suicidal teen goes through.  Bullying is one thing, but not the only thing, that can cause such behavior in young people.  Daelyn also felt that she was inadequate in every way and wishes she could be like the strong heroine in some romance novels she's read over and over.

A boy shows up named Santana whom she believes just wants to make her life more miserable, but as he continues to 'bother' her, she finds out more about his life but still believes that if he knew her, he would dislike her.

The ending of the novel is open-ended; you can sort of decide for yourself what you think happens to Daelyn.  I'd tell you what I think, but I wouldn't want to spoil the book.

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