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Denton Little's Deathdate (2015)

by Lance Rubin

Series: Denton Little (1)

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3552374,268 (3.74)5
"In a world where everyone knows the day they will die, a teenage boy is determined to outlive his upcoming expiration date"--

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In a world where everyone knows the date of their death from the moment they're born, Denton Little has always been aware that he won't survive to graduate from high school. But as his deathdate finally rolls around, several questions are looming for him. How, exactly, is he going to die? Did he really drunkenly cheat on his girlfriend last night? What are the secrets involving his birth mother that for some reason no one has bothered to talk to him about until now, and that he's still not getting any real answers on? Why does a horrible cop seem to have it out for him? And what is this weird purple rash on his skin?

I have very mixed feelings about this one. It's a cool premise. Maybe not entirely original, as I've encountered it several places before, but this one does do some interesting things with it. It's entertainingly and sometimes amusingly written, and Denton is a likeable enough character that contemplating his death has some actual emotional weight. In a lot of ways, I quite enjoyed it. But the longer it went on, the less patience I had with the teen relationship drama (which, I fully realize, I am not the target audience for), with the sometimes incredibly stupid ways in which people react to things, and the increasingly ridiculous plot. Also, it ends on kind of an unsatisfying note -- not a cliffhanger, exactly, but very much a setup for the next book in the series, rather than a solid conclusion. And, let's be honest, given the premise, even knowing there is a next book in the series is kind of a spoiler, but an unfortunately unavoidable one. ( )
  bragan | Jun 3, 2024 |
2.5 Stars

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 made almost 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"

"Yeah, hey."

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.

My Blog:

( )
  Michelle_PPDB | Mar 18, 2023 |
Ugh, what an annoying ending. No conclusion or resolution whatsoever. This was fun, but I don't think I'll read the next one. I'm not invested enough and it's a bit all over the place. ( )
  whakaora | Mar 5, 2023 |
A rather flimsy premise but a fun read once you stop calling out the inconsistencies. ( )
  lynnbyrdcpa | Feb 18, 2023 |
CW: lots of discussion of death, death of loved one, MC talks of taking his own life rather than wait for his official death, sexual content

Well this had some weirdly fun and funny moments!

Whilst the premise of this book was really interesting my attention wandered on occasion. However, I think the target audience will find it quite entertaining as Denton tries to have a full range of experiences before he dies. The friendships were very entertaining and I look forward to recommending this book to students. ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
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