April 7, 2015

Review: Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin

Denton's Little Deathdate by Lance Rubin
Publication date: Apr. 14, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC via Netgalley (Thanks!)
Summary: Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that's tomorrow, the day of his senior prom. Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend's hostile sister.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton's long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton's life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
What drew me to Denton Little's Deathdate was the concept that people lived in a world where they knew when they would die. It's morbid sounding for sure but the potential directions this story could go in seemed thought-provoking and I like a book that can make me think. Denton Little is only 17 years old and we meet him the day before his impending death. He's waking up hungover in his best friend's sister's bed (drama!) and almost no recollection of what happened the night before. All he knows is that he needs to get home to his family and prepare for his funeral (they not only attend their own funerals but they also give speeches too). It's a crazy day of putting the pieces of his fuzzy night together but also reconciling himself to a fate he's known about since he was five. Although that knowledge didn't make this upcoming day any easier now that it's here.

Denton is considered an "Early" because his deathdate is at a young age. It made me wonder what I would do if I were in his shoes. I assume I'd travel, take more risks and maybe not care about school all too much. But he had the opposite reaction. He wanted to live as normal a life as possible. And I could see the reasoning in that too. It just surprised me because for a book about death, Denton made me laugh a lot. It partially had to do with his typical teenage boy perspective but also the people surrounding him. He has a family who's very present throughout the story, a comical yet supportive best friend, an adoring girlfriend (who I couldn't decide if I liked or not) and the girl he accidentally cheated on her with. For all the normality he craved, his final days are filled with anything but. It's kind of a 24-hour sh*t storm where everything he knows is falling apart but he himself doesn't fall apart along with it. He says things he typically wouldn't say and takes risks he might not have taken a week ago. I considered Denton Little's character to be the highlight of the entire book.

(Major) Reservations
Like I said, a lot happens in Denton's personal life. Girl drama, family drama. But there are also outside forces affecting his life like conspiracy theories, weird rashes, classmates going off their rocker (ok, it's one person in particular) and an ending that raised more questions when I wanted answers. I didn't think the book needed all of that. Between the reality of this world, Denton and his every day life, there was more than enough to explore. Maybe the tone was purposely meant to be more on the zany side but I was looking for something thoughtful mixed in with humor.

Do I recommend?
I do. I think the book wasn't for me but I can also see why other people enjoyed it so if you're interested at all, you should check it out.

4 comments:

  1. I've seen a lot of people calling this book zany. Thank you for pointing out that things maybe got over-the-top at the end. For some reason this one is reminding me of Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber which while fun didn't work for me because of similar reasons with overboard plot threads.

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  2. I just finished this and ughh... it was rough :(

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  3. How weird that a person gives a speech at his own funeral! HA! I put this on my list, so I think I might go ahead and give it a try! :D
    Rosie // Rosie Reads

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  4. What a premise! It is pretty intriguing to consider the idea that people know when they're going to die, and how that affects their choices as they live out their remaining days. But it does sound like it kind of goes overboard with everything on Denton's last day though!

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