Wednesday, May 12, 2010

By the Time You Read This, I'll be Dead & Hold Still

By the Time You Read This, I'll be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Two books, two stories, both about suicide: one from the suicidal teen's point of view, and one that grieves the loss of her best friend.

In By the Time You Read This, I'll be Dead, Daelyn has been severely depressed and suicidal from a young age. She's attempted suicide so many times that her parents have her on constant watch and monitor her every move. What they don't know is that Daelyn has been visiting a website called Through the Light, which serves as a guide to help people die. As Daelyn counts down the days until her death, she becomes more determined than ever to end her life.

In Hold Still, Caitlin's best friend Ingrid has just committed suicide. Everything Caitlin knows - how to laugh, love photography, function as a human being - is gone. The devastating sadness is so fierce that Caitlin can barely make it through the day. When she finds Ingrid's diary, with letters written to Caitlin inside, she tries to piece together reasons why Ingrid died and how Ingrid saw their friendship.

I recommend both books, but for different reasons. The first offers incredible insight into what it's like to obsess on your own death. It talks about different suicide methods in scary detail and shows the affect bullying can have on a person. But the book that really spoke to me was Hold Still. Caitlin's grief is so palpable that I had to literally put down the book and walk away for several days at a time. But I kept coming back, and when I was finished I wanted Caitlin as a friend.

1 comment:

Felicity T. said...

Wow! That's really impressive. Another suicide book that touched me was "13 Reasons Why." It's the story of a girl who commits suicide and passes around a collection of tapes to people in her life who somehow contributed, explaining why she did what she did. This book tore me apart and has really changed how I think about people, especially unwanted people.