This book is the pinnacle of gallows humour. I literally died laughing. Har, har, what?! IT HAD TO BE SAID. I’ve wanted to read this forever because I’m a sucker for a really funny story. At one point I even shut my eyes because I was giggling like deranged limpet. How is it possible for a book to be this darn hilarious?!!
But you do need to know: it’s totally insensitive and ridiculous. Whatever you do: DO NOT read this if talking tactlessly about death bothers you. Denton Little’s Death Date pokes fun at death and dying THE WHOLE TIME. There were a few times I squirmed thinking, “Gee, this is so callous.” But BAH. I tossed logic to the wind and didn’t take a single aspect seriously.
(Also, I have to be the grumpy guava for a second here and glare at that Goodreads pitch. It says “for fans of John Green and Matthew Quick” and I just have to say: NO, NO IT IS NOT. John Green does gallows humour, but beneath his cheesy adorable romances, there’s painful truths and heartwarming soul. Matthew Quick is 100% pain. Denton is mockery and hilariousness. So, basically, worst pitch ever.)
(And while we’re doing little notes to ourselves, I misread the title and thought it was called “Denton’s LITTLE Death Date.” Like, you know, his little snack or his little spot o’ bother. But LITTLE is his name. Huh. Anyway, that was random, but my reviews are nothing if not weird. YOU MAY CARRY ON READING NOW.)
It’s set in this is slightly “sci-fi” universe where everyone gets to know when they’ll die. That does raise interesting and sort of deep questions…like is that a good thing? Do you WANT to know? Does it make your life more productive or more frantic? Denton’s deathdate is when he’s 17, which isn’t a lot of time to live. But he chose to have a “Normal Life”…which, on his deathdate he regrets. Obviously. The book spans a 48 hour period. And, not only is it chokingly funny, it also absolutely hooked me because WILL HE DIE????? It’s in first person, but that hasn’t stopped authors offing protagonists before.
Plus it’s filled with the most ridiculous characters and plot twists ever. Like his best friend is an utter scream to be around and defends him from death at one point with a frying pan. In this universe they have funerals BEFORE people die. And instead of “wakes” they have “Sittings” where everyone just sits around and waits for the To Be Dead person to…well, kick the bucket. There are so many horrendous and lame death puns and sarcasm and ludicrous developments — like taking the parents to prom, or being purple, or being stalked by a creepy grandpa cop, government conspiracy theories, and getting locked in the loo. IT’S ALL SO WEIRD.
Denton is quite a weird but cool dude. He’s going to die, so that’s sort of ruins his day. But he’s funny. Stupid? Yes. Makes really bad decisions regarding girls? Yes. Makes awkward assumptions? Yes. Says stuff he regrets? Totally. But he was still endearing. And as funny as he is, his best friend is even weirder. I thought the dudes were all written excellently, but I felt almost ALL the female characters were cardboard cut outs, which is disappointing.
THIS BOOK IS SO WEIRD. But I liked it. Sure the secondary characters weren’t great and it layered on the ridiculousness just a little too thick and I rolled my eyes several times… But the important thing was I had fun reading it! And I’d definitely try the sequel. This is one of laugh-so-hard-you-snort books and who’s doesn’t like those?!
Thanks Simon & Schuster for the review-copy! Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin was published in March, 2015.
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. 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.