Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin

Denton Little's Deathdate
Author:  Lance Rubin
Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers, 352 pages
Expected Publication Date:  April 14, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
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.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager's life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

Quirky, funny, and original, I really enjoyed this one.  The main thing I liked about this book is Denton's voice.  It's authentic, witty, and sarcastic.  He's a likable main character who has always tried to live a normal life even though he knows he's going to die at the age of 17 (everyone is told at the age of 5…how crazy is that?)  But now that it's so close, he realizes that maybe he should have done things a bit differently.  So his last few days are filled with bizarre adventures.  And when I say bizarre, I mean bizarre.  The book gets a bit farfetched toward the end, but it's a fun ride so I didn't mind.

What a weird world, to know the exact day you're going to die.  People attend their own funerals and even give their own eulogies.  Then there's the time after the funeral, when your close friends and family sit around with you while you wait to die.  People have tried to escape their deaths, but it never works.  Somehow, the person always dies.  Although it doesn't sound like it would be funny, it really is.  There's just the right mix of drama and humor (some morbid humor, but I found myself laughing out loud quite a bit).  And there's a crazy, eccentric cast of characters.  

My one complaint is that I just didn't buy the premise.  The explanation was based on science, which made no sense given that there's no way testing someone's blood, etc. would predict accidental deaths or murder.  And at one point, Denton mentions that if it's not your deathdate, you can't die.  Again, makes no sense.  It would have been better to just embrace some sort of paranormal explanation instead. 

Even with that complaint, I still loved the book.  In addition to being highly entertaining, it actually makes you think. Would you want to know if you could? Would it be better?  Worse? Highly recommend this one (and by the way, there's a sequel planned so don't expect full resolution).

Posted by:  Pam


  1. I liked this one, it was really quirky and funny. I didn't like the none explanation of things and I really didn't care for how the spun it at the end, but I really liked the characters. Great review!

  2. Hmm I do not think I would want to know the day of my death. And yeah, not buying the explanation for this world but it is an interesting premise and I do love fun LOL books. This wasn't even on my radar so thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm actually glad this book was good because I was a little iffy about it now I can go ahead and add it to my TBR. I know for one thing I never want to know when I'm going to die, way too much for me to handle!

  4. I;m glad you liked this one. I just got it for review

    Great Review!

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

  5. Omg this sounds adorable I laughed out loud reading the synopsis which is a definite plus for me. I definitely think I'm going to keep this on the backburner for when I'm needing something funny. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. This one was on Netgalley??! What?!?! Gosh I feel like I just missed out on so many books I didn't realize were there but were actually on my list (I just marked the book launch on my calendar because I figured it sounded like a cool book and I want to go to more bookish events).

    Voice is the most important thing to me in a contemporary novel, so I love that Denton is sarcastic and witty and authentic - seems really important for a high concept novel dealing with as serious a topic as your death date. Bizarre adventures are also really cool! Makes me think of Paper Towns and John Green. And if that's getting adapted to film, maybe this one would eventually...

    Hahaha you give your own eulogy. I WAS THE BEST PERSON THIS WORLD EVER KNEW. Did he give a name to the ritual after the funeral when the people sit around with you when you die? Because I could see that actually becoming a thing. I love that there was so much thought put into developing this world.

    "The explanation was based on science, which made no sense given that there's no way testing someone's blood, etc. would predict accidental deaths or murder." -- Yep. And I agree on just explaining via paranormal, or just not explaining at all. Well that's a downer. I just figured he would say something like 'people know their deathdates' and not explain any reason for the high concept material.

    I think a deathdate is interesting for people like me who are afraid of death and the unknown. If it's a certain thing, though, it might make you less afraid of things that you should be afraid of. You might be less compassionate towards other people (I wonder how he treated religion in this world -- like, do churches and mosques and synagogues proclaim that this is the work of God? But perhaps he didn't take that direction... so many interesting things to explore with that topic...).