Saturday, June 5, 2010

Review - The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson

The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson
Published by Simon Pulse
Published on June 15, 2010
Review Based on ARC (Revceived from Traveling ARC Tours)

Summary from

The clock is ticking…

Ollie can’t be bothered to care about anything but food, girls, and games until he gets his Deathday Letter and learns he’s going to die in twenty-four hours. Bummer.

Ollie does what he does best: nothing. Then his best friend convinces him to live a little, and go after Ronnie, the girl who recently trampled his about-to-expire heart. Ollie turns to carloads of pudding and over-the-top declarations, but even playing the death card doesn’t work. All he wants is to set things right with the girl of his dreams. It’s now or never….

The Deathday Letter asks the question: What would you do if you knew that you only had 24 hours to live? This is the question fifteen-year- old Oliver (Ollie) Travers must answer when he receives his Deathday Letter, the letter that informs him that he will die early the next morning.

From the beginning, The Deathday Letter wasn’t quite what I was expecting. In fact, I wasn’t sure what was in store after reading the summary. But once the story got started, Ollie’s voice and interaction with his friends drew me in. It was clear from the beginning that Ollie had a better grasp on his death than anyone else in his life. He wanted to have a normal day; go to school, hang out with his best friend, Shane, maybe have his favorite dinner. That was his plan until Shane and Ronnie, Ollie’s ex-girlfriend, convince him that he should have a little fun before he dies.

Hutchinson takes serious subject matter and injects humor and some law breaking to create a story that explores. The funny moments actually outnumber the serious ones, but the serious moments pack a punch. Ollie’s conversations with Shane and his last great gesture towards Ronnie show that he really knows and cares about both of them. And even though I knew how it would end, the author actually gives away the ending in a short prologue; it still managed to take me by surprise - that is excellent storytelling.

While The Deathday Letter probably won’t go on my top ten list of 2010, there are several things that set it apart. The first was Ollie. His voice felt like the voice of a fifteen-year-old, the way he talked, dealt with his friends and reacted to situations made him feel real. The second was the first person point of view which made the book feel like a conversation, like Ollie was speaking to me. And the fact that I disappeared into the story, it didn’t feel like reading because I could visualize everything so clearly.

I would definitely recommend The Deathday Letter to anyone who enjoys reading books with male narrators as well as, readers who like books that take a different approach to difficult topics. I will definitely be recommending this one to the teens at the library.

For more information on The Deathday Letter and Shaun David Hutchinson visit:


  1. Really awesome review! I was curious about this one, it sounds super interesting. I'm definitely going to read it :D

  2. I've really been looking forward to this one! The premise of "deathday letters" is so intriguing. So glad to hear you enjoyed it!! Thanks for the review!


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