Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin
Published by Alfred A. Knoff
An amusing young adult novel presents a world where people know when they will meet their fate; but is what they are told really the truth? Denton Little’s Deathdate has the reader meet many unique characters and many of their various quirks and their secret pasts. The main character, Denton, struggles with finding out who his family really is and balancing a relationship with trust issues, only to find out that he can’t trust anyone. At the age of 7, Denton was told the specific day he would die after a DNA analysis by the government. Denton happens to be among a small group of people who have early death dates.
Paola, Denton’s best friend, is the character that has the most effect on the plot as we find out more about his personality, and how his family is somehow linked to Denton’s. Paola adds something that disconnects you from Denton’s thought process while also providing humor, for example when Denton was sad he was the guy to pull out some weed and say wanna smoke this just tells us that he is the type of guy to not read an atmosphere and just wants to have a great time. This also helps us disconnect from Denton’s thought process previous to this scene. He is also the guy to misinterpret situations and lets just say things get nasty in some scenes.
The book’s main concept is to imagine a world where everyone knows when they will die. In this world there are actually some people who don’t know when they will die because their DNA is special and harder to read, but in the book we notice that the people who know are actually more anxious than the people who don’t. This concept is important as it helps us reflect that knowing when you will die is as bad as learning you have a life threatening disease. It also tells you to live everyday as if you would die tomorrow but also tells us that we shouldn’t live our lives constantly in caution and worry but to seize the day–carpe diem.
Denton Little’s Deathdate has an unnecessarily large range of characters, many of which don’t have a big influence in some parts, but later become significant. For example, the father in the book at first feels just like a cliche father figure as he doesn’t have anything that special to him other than the fact his original wife died, but later we find out he holds secret information that the main character is looking for. This happens with many characters.
The story’s theme is “trust your gut”. Throughout the book, Denton has chosen the right moves by just trusting his gut. One character advises him to not “leave everything to fate. Just do what feels right not what people tell you to.” The book also plays with this idea, bouncing from trusting his gut to not which makes it nonlinear and difficult to understand until the end. This starts to happen when he meets a mysterious man and was told not to talk to him so he didn’t but his gut was telling him to do it. Later he then decides to trust his gut and go to talk to that man but after that he just decides to stop trusting that gut of his. This reveals his indecisiveness and shows how vulnerable a person can get when faced with their death.
Overall, the book is an amazing read. As I got closer to the end it picks up with more intensity and with ts wacky but mysterious characters. It left me wanting to read it again. You will surely enjoy it.