Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin (April 14, 2015, Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Review by KM
I did it again, friends. I started a book for the beginning of a series when the sequels are no where close to be out. I always say I’m not going to do it anymore, that I’m going to wait until all the books are out. It never works.
I don’t know for sure that this is the beginning of a series, but I need more, so I am demanding a sequel. Maybe two or three.
Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days—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. (Though he’s not totally sure—see, first hangover.) 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.
I love the premise of this plot. Everyone knowing when they’d die? That’d be really cool! Or really anxiety-inducing, to be honest. I think I’d like to know when I’d die. It definitely forces you to embrace your morality and the alterations in the way death is mourned are intriguing.
The writing itself is funny and fast paced. There is so much action happening in each scene. I don’t like to gender books at all (Read what you will and definitely don’t condemn someone for what they’re reading!), but I have noticed that it’s much easier to get one of my guy friends to read a book that’s fast-paced than it is to get them to read a drawn out plot. I totally plan on buying this for my guy cousins in high school.
Denton makes douchey mistakes that would typically make me hate a character or avoid them if they were real. I’m not quite sure how, but his perspective made me think of them more as accidents — things he stumbled into without realizing he got there. I definitely wouldn’t call him innocent, but there’s this oddly endearing part of his character that makes me grant him more leeway.
I will warn some parents: there are more sexual references than I would have expected, probably enough to get it banned from some school libraries, but certainly the right amount to make it realistic. I never went a day in high school without a guy talking about their dick at the lunch table. If it was completely dry, I’d probably have connected less than I did.
All in all, I’m really looking forward to a sequel to this. It deserves one. I’ll let starting a new series before it’s finished slide — but only this time.