The Deathday Letter by Shaun David Hutchinson (Simon & Schuster - Simon Pulse) starts when Ollie receives his final notice: he's got 24 hours to live. So, what does a 15-year-old do when he's thinking about mortality? Sort of the same things that kids who think they're immortal do: go driving without a license, try drugs and alcohol, try to get laid, jump off a bridge (because everybody's doing it). That's what Ollie does, and his best friend, Shaun, and his other best friend, Veronica, tag along.
Ollie manages to be sympathetic despite reminding me pretty much of a high school boyfriend at a time when, like a lot of teenagers, brains and mouths were unfiltered. He's kind of a tool, but as the best tools do, he experiences some growth in those hours that remain to him.
Despite the speculative scenario, I think this story is best matched with readers who like whimsical realism, and will resonate with fans of stuff like Ferris Bueller's Day Off. I'd hand it to readers who liked Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist, Swim the Fly, Going Bovine, and (I hear, though it's still on my to-read list) Before I Fall.
I read this book as a first-round judge for the Cybils Awards, which means that I may have received a review copy from the publisher (or not; I own a lot of the books in this category). I read some books nominated for the YA fantasy and science fiction category in 2010 before the nomination period, and may have already reviewed them or declined to make a public review; these books might not have a Cybils post tag. As a first-round judge, I was tasked with helping create a shortlist of books. My personal reviews do not reflect any actions or discussions of the judging committee.