In Denton's world, everyone knows when they will die. There's no way to stop it or change it. You just have to prepare, gather your family together, and wait.
Denton and his best pal Paolo are "Earlies", meaning they will die young. They happen to have deathdates one month apart, which is partially what has brought them together. Denton attends his funeral the day before his deathdate and a lot of odd things happen. Things that have to do with his girlfriend and her ex-boyfriend, things that have to do with his dead mother that he never knew, and things that have to do with the police and maybe even the government. An odd rash seems to have taken over his body and lots of close call accidents keep happening... so what will kill Denton first??
This book was very, very odd. Like normally I really really enjoy books about immature teenage boys. To the point where I get mildly concerned to what is going on in my head that I relate so well to them. But I just didn't connect with this book. I tried, I forced my way through it, but alas... no connection.
I thought Denton was a cute kid. He had a hell of an outlook on life for someone who knew he wasn't getting much of one. He was silly and humorous at times, but I wouldn't say all-out funny. And that's what I think the author was going for... funny. Like a dark-comedy of sorts. Except it wasn't really that funny. Maybe 2 scenes of it almost made me giggle, that's it. The conversations were so odd and pointless at times. Example:
"You're late for your Sitting"
"Yes, thank you, I know. Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. Hey Paolo. Hey Veronica."
"Uh, hi Millie"
And there was a lot of that. Filler conversations that had no point and meant nothing. The plot in general wasn't working for me either. I had trouble following and understanding things. For example, they live in this world where people know their deathdates, but nothing about the why or how of that is explained. Why did we originally want to know our deathdates? How did science able us to know this? Why does the government force them to know whether they like it or not? It was like I was just supposed to accept this world without knowing anything about it. Also things were SO squished in at the end. Not much happened except typical teenage drama until about 20 pages left, then it was this whole big thing that happened and it was super rushed.
The bright shining spot for me was Paolo and his sister Veronica. They made the book stronger, funnier, and brought life out of Denton.
Basically this book made me sad. I wanted funny. What I got was opposite. The author made it seem like Denton never really lived until his last day of life. So much of what he found out should have been told to him earlier. You would think that knowing you were going to die young, you wouldn't put off so much closure until the last day, but Denton and everyone around him did. It was as if everyone only remembered the day before that he was actually dying. I get wanting to live as normally as possible, but at the same time, don't leave EVERYTHING until the last moment!!!
If there is a sequel (because the ending is a MAJOR cliffhanger), I think there is major potential for it to be better. All the boring background stuff would be out of the way and the main event has just begun. The characters in the first book were decent, so there's definitely something to go on.
OVERALL: I wanted to like this book, but too many things stood in my way. It wasn't really all that funny.... more silly. And so many things about the plot frustrated me. I think this could be good for a certain audience, I just don't know who it is.
This Book Contains:
- A funeral in which the dying person gets to attend
- A Bone Thugs and Harmony dance sequence
- High School Romance
- Cool art at the chapter headings
My Rating: 2/4
How I got this book: Thanks to Random House Children's and Netgalley for allowing me to read and honestly review this book.
Date Published: 4/14/2015