Monday, September 13, 2010

The Deathday Letter

Okay, I'm just going to start right off and say that Young Adult fiction isn't my usual cup of tea. I read this one because I needed a book by a debut author for my Fall Into Reading Challenge and when I did a search for that sort of thing The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson came up several times. And my library actually had it. And the premise sounded interesting. But, just to be absolutely honest, if I'd known before I brought it home that it was YA....I don't know that I'd have ordered it up. Don't hate me, all you dear YA lovers who follow's just who I am.

So what was the premise that reeled me in?

"The clock is ticking...Ollie can't be bothered to care about anything but girls, until he gets his Deathday Letter and learns he's going to die in twenty-four hours. Bummer.

Ollie does what he does best: nothing. Then his best friend convinces him to live a little, and go after Ronnie, the girl who recently trampled his about-to-expire heart. Ollie turns to carloads of pudding and over-the-top declarations, but even playing the death card doesn't work. All he wants is to set things right with the girl of his dreams. It's now or never...."

Hutchinson has written a brilliant first novel. He's bang on target in his characterization of a 15-year old boy dealing with death and hormones all at the same time. The story goes from down-right hilarious ("Because a teenage guy with a penis is like a twitchy marine with a live grenade. Got it?") to heart-rendingly poignant ("There's so much to say, too much to say. I want to tell her that she's the most important thing that ever happened to me. I want to tell her that every night before I went to sleep, it was her that I thought about...").

Following Ollie...and his friend Shane and his love Ronnie...through his last twenty-four hours is a trip I'll never forget. It's the chance to watch a 15-year old "jerk" realize what's important in life--and death. The chance to learn lessons that some of us never learn in a life-time, let alone a single day. Ollie and his friends will make you laugh and cry...and wonder just what you would do if you were certain that you only had twenty-four hours left.

Four stars out of five.


Shaun Hutchinson said...

Wow. You know you totally made my day, right? You should totally check out some great "I Can't Believe It's YA" books like Jellicoe Road or I Am The Messenger. Both are amazing.

Thank you again :)

Bev Hankins said...

A response to my review from the author...that's an even bigger "Wow" in my book!

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

I'm stopping by on the Read My Review Meme. This book sound good and I've never even heard of it before. So many books, so little time.
New follower.

My Head is Full of Books

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

I mean, old follower:)

Laura @ The Shabby Rabbit said...

I like to throw in some YA occasionally. First if my daughters suggest something (Like they did with the Book Thief) and Second, after I've read something fairly heavy (like Moby Dick) a more contemporary, more relate-able book fits the bill. Like a pallet cleanser for the mind.

This one sounds very good!!