Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blog Tour: Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin (Review | Giveway)

Young Adult, Contemporary, Comedy, Science Fiction
Publication.Date  April 14th 2015
Published By:  Knopf Books for Young Readers
AuthorLance Rubin

Denton Little's Deathdate on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.

Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days—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.


Bert will talk about you and what a great kid you are and the story of how, when you were five, for about three or four months, you carried around an eggplant wearing construction-paper clothing, which you had named Charles. You will think, This is a story that gets told at my funeral? Then things will get deeper as Bert explains that your body will die, but you will not; your energy will never die; and you may be back, even a week from now, in the body of a rabbit or a chipmunk or a squirrel (you will wonder if there's a reason Bert has limited your reincarnation possibilities to three fairly similar rodents), and even though you know he's talking about you, you will have trouble connecting these concepts with yourself, trouble believing that those ideas will be highly relevant very soon.
They're loving this. I am some sort of demented sugar god, raining gifts upon my disciples. The power goes to my head a bit.
Whether or not these things are true, my predominant thought is: I've never punched a human being before (although that makes it sound like I have punched animals) and this might be a good time.
"You're lucky you're dying, Little."
And you're lucky you can run fast," I say, trying my best to quickly assemble some kind of comeback.
"You threatening me?" Phil takes a step towards me.
"No, no, I meant it, like, since you have no other skills or talents to fall back on in life."
"It didn't fully make sense, never mind."

     Welcome to the world where people get to attend their own funerals because, thanks to AstroThanatoGenetics, they know precisely when they're going to die.

     This is the story of Denton Little, a teenage boy whose deathdate falls on the day of senior prom. We meet Denton on the day of his funeral (the day before his deathdate, because the funerals are now attended by the soon-to-be-dead people), and together with him, his best friend, Paolo, his girlfriend, Taryn, and Paolo's older sister, Veronica, we will experience two of the most bizarre, adrenaline-inducing, unpredictable, and laugh-out-loud funny days you could possibly imagine. Brace yourself, this is a wild ride! 

     Very cool, entirely unique and fresh, genuinely funny (made me snort my drink more than a few times and my husband eventually said: "What are you reading? You alternate between laughing like a maniac and looking like you're about to cry every 15 seconds or so. It can't be healthy!") and, ultimately, full of meaning and memorable messages, Denton Little's Deathdate is a BLAST. I really loved every page of this book and am so glad I decided to pick it up on a whim. 

     Denton Little's Deathdate resists categorization and labeling. It starts of as a quirky contemporary with some interesting existential undercurrents (but one that doesn't take itself too seriously and doesn't get bogged down with anxiety, angst and trying to over-analyze things) and then, in a brilliant and completely unexpected twist, turns into a cleverly devised science fiction. Mind-blown! I love both sci fi and emotionally powerful contemporary books (especially those that make you laugh through tears!), and Denton Little's Deathdate is just the most delicious combination of these two genres. The contemporary part is still much stronger and the science fiction part is, for the most part, very vague and subtle (it really doesn't read like a typical science fiction book, no complicated terminology, no brain-clogging concepts and ideas, it's just- essentially - a boat that carries the awesomeness of Denton and his little crew towards an epic and exceptionally satisfying ending), and the blend of the two is simply devourable

     Also, the humor in this book - often times morbid or completely inappropriate - was definitely my favorite part of it. Denton's eulogy speech? Freaking hilarious. The YA scene definitely needs more sharp, intelligent and unapologetic books like this one. At the same time, there is a note of sadness to this book. I mean, really, how can there not be? It's a book about a teenage boy who is about to die and he is aware of this (and not in a "I have a terminal illness and I will probably die soon" kind of way, but in a "Today is the die I will die. I just don't know how or when exactly, but it's inevitable", and it's a scary but also eye-opening concept. Rubin's approach to the subject is remarkably tender and sensitive (despite some of the jaw-dropping jokes). It's not depressing or dark and morbid, it's actually quite positive and hopeful, and I loved that. I absolutely loved that

     Denton is, as expected, struggling with the fact he will cease to exist soon, but he somehow manages to turn it all around and make the most of his shitty situation. He is brave, he is considerate, he makes mistakes, sure, but he's a teenage boy after all, and who can really blame him? He's not trying to act tough, heck, he doesn't really know how he should act to begin with, but he tries his best and that's all that matters. He is just so real, so multidimensional, so much more than just a character in a book. I really do hope Rubin will write a sequel of some sort (the way the book ends leaves an opening for it, though doesn't exactly demand one), because he created something very special here and I, for one, will miss all these characters dearly. It would be so awesome to meet them again! 

     Great concept and brilliant humor aside, Denton Little's Deathdate is also emotionally affecting and thought provoking. It explores some difficult themes, such as death, loss, grief, inevitability of one's passing and ways to deal with the knowledge. It also pokes at other (more common, but equally important) issues, from growing up without a parent to cheating, bullying and standing up for oneself. This book is not so much about dying as it is about living each and every single day as it was our last, staying true to oneself, being open with others and appreciating things and people before they're gone. I thought it was a beautiful message, and one worth remembering.

About the author:
Hey there, I'm Lance Rubin.
After years of being a GoodReads reader, I am delighted to now also be a GoodReads author. My first book, DENTON LITTLE'S DEATHDATE, comes out from Knopf in Spring 2015.
I'm from New Jersey. It's a way better state than people give it credit for. I went to Brown University, and now I live in Brooklyn with my wife and son. They are delightful people.
Before I became an author, I was primarily an actor. "Anything I'd recognize you from?" you might ask. Probably not, unless you watched the short-lived NBC hospital show MERCY, in which I guest-starred as a patient with a naked sleepwalking problem.
By my late 20's, the acting business was making me sad, so I started to focus more on writing.
Now I'm primarily a writer and it makes me incredibly happy.


1 Winner will get a copy of DEONT LITTLE DEATHDATE (Open Intl)
1 Winner will get an ARC, with original cover art (Open US)
5 Winners will get a bookmark + sticker set (Open INTL)
3 Winners will get a hand drawn cartoon, created by author Lance Rubin (Open INTL)

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Must be 13 + To Enter. Open to US only.

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