First Lines: The white boy, the skinny, tall boy with shocking white hair, sneaks behind the stone bench and leans against the tree trunk. Since I can’t move my head, I watch him out of the corner of my eye.
I don’t normally throw the author’s name in the title of my reviews, especially when they’re as long as this one is, but I thought some of you might truly be worried about me if I didn’t. It sounded really horrible without her name there. This is a legit BOOK, not a cry for help. Just felt like reading a dark story.
Daelyn Rice is broken. After a number of failed suicide attempts, she’s determined to succeed this time. That’s when she finds a website called Through the Light that helps her. She blogs on this site about the bullying she endured growing up, ever since kindergarten. When she’s not online, she goes to a private school where everyone thinks she’s a freak. But then one day, a boy named Santana sits with her while she waits for her mom to pick her up. Santana is persistent and determined to learn Daelyn’s secrets, no matter how much she wants him to go way. Santana just won’t give up. But she wants him to…doesn’t she?
This book has been on my to-read shelf since 2009 (no, that’s not a typo). I finally decided I needed to try to read it and see what I thought of it. And I thought I was in the mood for a dark story.
I was wrong.
I find that I’m normally drawn to dark stories that somehow still come out kind of empowering or uplifting at the end. This was so not that book. I thought it was going to be like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak (and there are definitely similarities), but it didn’t have any hope. Right from the beginning, Daelyn is determined to kill herself. Nothing anyone says to her is going to dissuade her. And there are moments that are quite graphic about how exactly she (and others) planned to go about this. I had to skip a few paragraphs because of that.
And there is so much darkness in Daelyn’s life. I suppose to make it believable that she sees no way out except through suicide, she had to have a truly horrific childhood. I knew there was going to be bullying (Daelyn was fat growing up and constantly moved schools), but there’s even more on top of that. It was heartbreaking and just so sad.
The one bright spot in the story was Santana, but even he had darkness surrounding him. Still, I looked forward to his scenes for levity.
This was a tough read to get through. Daelyn is just so set on separating herself from everyone else and dwelling on the negative that it was pretty emotionally draining to stick with.