Series: Denton Little #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Imminent death has never been so funny...
Tomorrow is the day I'm going to die. I don't mean to get all dramatic about it. I've known that tomorrow is the day I will die since I was born. Just like almost everyone else in the world knows their deathdate. But do I need to get movie-preview-voice-over-guy intense about it? Probably not.
If Denton Little knew what was in store on his last day on Earth - hangovers, love triangles, jealous exes, shotgun standoffs, and mysterious rashes - he probably wouldn't be so calm. And did I mention that Denton's deathdate is the same day as senior prom? Oh yeah. Good times...
Denton Little’s Deathdate is an incredibly funny contemporary novel that is set in the near future (I assume). The novel takes place within 48 hours as we see the two last days of Denton Little’s life. In this world, a group of doctors, scientists and statisticians have created a method of revealing each individual’s deathdate, and our protagonist, Denton, is destined to die as a senior in high school. The novel begins when he wakes up, hungover, in his best friend’s house the day before his deathdate. On the day of his funeral.
Everyone is talking about your funeral, texts Paolo. Gonna be a good turnout dude!
Yes, you read that right. In this world, each person has a funeral the day before their deathdate. This funeral is part of a DeathWeek, where the individual gets to spend the week doing all the things they love to do before they pass. And on their last guaranteed day of living, a funeral is held where friends, family, acquaintances, and people you haven’t seen since you were a child attend to celebrate your life. The individual themselves are present at the funeral and even give a little speech after everybody else’s “eulogies”. It’s almost like a party, with all the guests commenting on how much fun it was. Unfortunately, the time of death is unknown and most people spend their deathdates at a Sitting, where they literally just sit at home with their friends and family and wait to die.
I thought this system was incredibly interesting! I’ve never really given any thought to funerals and the fact that the deceased themselves aren’t present at the funeral (I mean duh, it seems kind of obvious). But this book turned everything on its head and made me think about the what-ifs. What if you were able to attend your own funeral and see everybody you wanted to see one last time? What if you could tell people exactly what you think of them because you’re going to die soon anyway? What if you were given the chance to live life to its fullest potential by knowing your deathdate? Denton Little’s Deathdate explored these what-ifs so well. We constantly see Denton’s inner conflict – he’s torn between going all out and having crazy experiences, and just living a normal life as if he wasn’t going to die as a high schooler. He’s constantly torn between thinking about the consequences and doing the right thing, and saying “screw it, I’m going to die tomorrow anyway”. I also enjoyed that the book contrasts the attitudes of the young with the old, who haven’t grown up with the deathdate system and still believe that people should live their lives without knowing when they’re going to die.
Even though this book tackles the dark and gloomy topic of death, it’s an extremely funny book with lots of chaotic events taking place. The novel is packed full of action and it’s easy to imagine the chaos and how hectic your last day on earth must be. But in addition to having to say goodbye to all of his loved ones and making sure that he hasn’t left anything unresolved in his life, Denton also has a mysterious rash that is expanding rapidly on his body, as well as government officials who might be out to get him. I read the first 80 pages expecting the book to be a story about redemption and living life to the fullest, but it ended up in a completely different direction. But I’m glad that it did go in that direction, because the slight mystery and suspense took the book to a whole new level and made it very unpredictable. I felt an incredible sense of unease at some of the characters and ended up being suspicious of most of them. For most of the book, I had absolutely no idea what was going on and I didn’t know what was going to happen until the very end. I think it was this unpredictable nature of the book that drew me to Denton Little’s Deathdate.
I also really connected with Denton’s character and thoroughly enjoyed his voice. He was simple and realistic, but also very humorous. I loved his interactions with his best friend, Paolo. Together they had some wonderful, rolling-on-floor-laughing moments. I completely connected with the humour and fell in love with the characters and the book.
“My pure sister, Veronica…”
“I’m sorry, dude.”
“Tainted. By you.”
‘Okay, let’s not -”
“Is this weird?”
“A little!” Paolo’s eyes bug out for a second like a cartoon.
“Weirder than me doing your mom?”
“Uh. yeah. It’s my sister!”
I really enjoyed Denton Little’s Deathdate. I thought it was funny, mysterious and action-packed, and it was an extremely quick read. Even though the whole book is set within 48 hours, the pace of the book is fast and I thought it was a highly enjoyable read, with a very intriguing world! It’s light and funny, but it also made me think about some darker topics.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks to Simon and Schuster Australia for providing a review copy of the book!
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