School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 9 Up-Daelyn Rice has been bullied her entire life, whether it was for her past weight problem or because she currently does not talk and wears a neck brace. She has attempted suicide several times in several different ways and is now more determined than ever to end her life. Daelyn discovers a Web site called Through-the-Light, which is for suicide "completers." There she communicates with others who share the same goal. The members share stories of bullying, molestation, etc., and encourage each other's ultimate goal. Meanwhile, Daelyn meets a boy named Santana. She wants nothing to do with him; his presence and determination to draw her out of her shell only annoy her. Over time and as new information surfaces (he has cancer), however, she finds herself drawn to him. Will their connection be enough to make Daelyn realize that her life is worth living? Readers are left not knowing what she will do. This novel is disturbing in that the teen bluntly discusses her desire to kill herself with little to no emotion. She has a plan, and she is eager to carry it out. Also upsetting are the suicide methods that are explicitly detailed on Through-the-Light. However, Santana's presence is welcome, as he softens the unsettling subject matter. This book is definitely worth the read, but for older, more seasoned teens.-Sarah K. Allen, Elko Middle School, Sandston, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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After a few suicide attempts, the most recent of which left her unable to speak, teenage narrator Daelyn joins a Web site called Through-the-Light, which gives her 23 days to prepare for death. Although rules state that "[p]articipants may not attempt to dissuade or discourage self-termination," the site does send provoking questions so she can think through her choice. Through Daelyn's rants in the site's forums and in her embittered internal narrative, readers will come to understand her struggles (from being molested in the boys' bathroom to being sent to fat camp) and see people trying to connect with her, including offbeat Santana, who is dealing with his own pain-cancer. Peters (Luna) doesn't pull any punches (Through-the-Light details various suicide methods, each with an effectiveness rating, and the users' stories are painfully real). Readers may find some plotting heavy-handed (such as Daelyn's growing friendship with a boy who really wants to live), but even so, this book and its open-ended conclusion will challenge teens to think about the impact of bullying-including cyberbullying-and Through-the-Light's controversial stance that "self-termination is your right." Ages 14-up. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved