Customer Reviews for

The Day I Killed James

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
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  • Posted March 19, 2012

    Such an amazing book! I haven't experienced something like that

    Such an amazing book! I haven't experienced something like that but she made me feel a connection to her. Amazing read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Day I Killed James

    The Day I Killed James is a heartfelt tale about a girl learning to come to terms with her grief. It also sends a clear message: Don't be careless with other's hearts.


    James is Theresa's neighbor, and he is in love with her. He is a few years older than Theresa and he is a little weird. I couldn't blame Theresa for not feeling the same way for James as he did for her. That happens sometimes. But when Theresa's boyfriend decides to be a jerk and take another girl to a party, Theresa ends up taking advantage of James' feelings and lets him go to the party as her date. Theresa was up front and told James it was just for the night, but with James being so in love with her, he got his hopes up.


    After the party doesn't go as planned, James kills himself. Theresa's grief turns her into a whole other person. She shaves her head and moves away from all her friends and family to start a new life. Of course, Theresa was really only trying to run away from the pain. This is where the main story begins. Theresa was so real as a character. Her emotions came off so honest and raw. No, Theresa shouldn't have taken advantage of James' feelings like that, but it is ultimately not her fault what happened to him. Of course, that is easy for an outsider looking in to see. I know if I was in Theresa's shoes, I wouldn't be able to help but feel the same way as her. The diary entries from Theresa that the author added helped the reader feel exactly what Theresa was feeling.


    Hyde's writing is remarkable. Not every writer can pull off switching from first to third person so smoothly. This is my first Young Adult book I have read from her. Before this book, I always knew her as the author of Pay it Forward. Now, I will know her as the author of great Young Adult books. I can't wait to read more from her.


    I want to say more about this story that I enjoyed, but I will refrain. I think the sub-plots will be best experienced going in without knowing of them first.


    The story ended exactly how I always say these stories are supposed to end, not all tied up perfectly, but leaves you with beautiful and pure hope for the future. After all, what Theresa has been through is not something that just goes away. The Day I Killed James tugged on my heartstrings and had me tearing up. I really enjoyed going through Theresa's journey to overcome what happened, and start on the path of self-forgiveness. This story is one that will stick with me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great morals in this book

    Besides all the little tidbits in this story that I enjoyed, I think the teachings in this book makes it a great read for anyone. It makes you think of your own life in some way and makes you question whether you have been emotionally disconnected with someone who deserved better than that......

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    Everyone carries around some sort of guilt or regret. Most don't carry the burden that Theresa does. <BR/><BR/>James is her next-door neighbor. He's attractive, but a bit too bizarre for Theresa. And he's in love with her. He left for two years for the military and wrote her every week. She thinks she sent him maybe two letters in return. <BR/><BR/>Theresa is in love with her boyfriend, Randy. They've been dating for nine months now. However, he's just told her that he wants to take another girl, Rachel, to their friend Frieda's end-of-school party. There have been on-again and off-again periods with Randy before, but this is a first. Theresa lets him go, and in retaliation, she asks James if he'd like to go to a party with her. She is up front with him that it's purely for show, but James is thrilled to have the chance for even a pretend date with Theresa. <BR/><BR/>While James is off getting Theresa something cold to drink, Randy comes crawling back to Theresa, realizing he made a mistake. Theresa tries to think of James, but before she knows it, she and Randy are in a heavy makeout session. It's only after she hears James' motorcycle pull away that she starts to worry what he may think. <BR/><BR/>But that's not the worst of it. James doesn't come home, and Theresa goes to the cops. Not long after telling the cops he's missing, they come knocking on her door to tell her that his motorcycle has gone over the side of a cliff. <BR/><BR/>No one is to blame, but Theresa believes it's all her fault because of what James saw. Not able to handle the guilt or the remorse, she leaves home to reinvent herself. <BR/><BR/>Living in a beat-up trailer, a young neighbor girl starts hanging around. Before Theresa realizes it, life is changing again, and the thought-provoking actions of an eleven-year-old slowly brings Theresa back to the living. <BR/><BR/>What a powerful story. Theresa is determined to keep James' memory alive out of guilt. But Ms. Hyde weaves the story beautifully and the reader gets to see the slow healing process that Theresa, and also Cathy, her young neighbor, go through. You will surely laugh and cry with the story, but will come out much better for it on the other side. Just like Theresa did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    Moving and Beautiful

    Theresa tells James that their party date is a one-time thing. She's only using him to make her maybe-ex-boyfriend jealous. It works, but Theresa breaks James' heart in the process, and he drives his motorcycle of a cliff, dying of suicide. Theresa's entire world collapses, and she blames herself for James' death. She severs ties with her old life, and tries to reinvent herself, all in an attempt to atone for what she did to James. Slowly though, through meeting a girl very similar to herself, Theresa begins to realize that she can't keep running away forever. Once again, Catherine Ryan Hyde writes a beautiful story about learning to live with what you've done. The story was incredibly sad, because Theresa kept blaming herself for killing James, even though it wasn't entirely her fault, and even though Theresa's only eighteen-years-old, this ages and matures her. Theresa's character and journey to self-forgiveness is very realistic, and I was so relieved with the hopeful ending. The Day I Killed James is truly a heartfelt, well-written, and unforgettable story, and one I will not likely forget. The Day I Killed James is probably my favorite of Catherine Ryan Hyde's novels so far, and I most definitely recommend it. The topic of death is never an easy one to write about, and I rank this novel high among others of this topic, including Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2008

    Excellent

    This is truly the best book I've ever read.I'm not the type of person who likes to read books,but after finishing reading the book this is a truly an amazing book.Its love mixed with sadness,and horror at points.Its like a teenager movie put into a book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2008

    A reviewer

    James was Theresa's neighbor. It was obvious to everyone, even to her that he was in love with her. Theresa however didn't feel that way about James, she couldn't help it, it just wasn't there. He was four years older than her and besides that she already had a boyfriend, Randy. When Randy moves onto another girl, Theresa can't help but use James's willingness to her advantage. She knows he loves her, and she knows that using him is wrong, but he insists that he wants to be used. Theresa, however, didn't foresee the events that would play out the night of the party, or she never would have asked James to be her date. Theresa broke his heart and he killed himself. Overflowing with toxic guilt, Theresa flees her old life. She shaves her head, changes her name and moves to a new town where no one knows her. Determined that she won't let herself hurt someone again. Unexpectedly, Theresa's salvation comes in the form of a young scraggly abused child, that lives next door to her trailer. They set out on a road trip that ultimately aids in healing them both. I can't say enough good things about Hyde as a writer. She gets me everytime! The moral of this story is simple, be careful with other peoples hearts. The story, however, is anything but. The plot is intense, and the sporadic journal entries by Theresa add significant depth. Once again Ryan has superbly crafted a compelling tale that I soon won't forget.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2008

    A reviewer

    Once again Catherine Ryan Hyde uses deceptively simple language to tell a multi-layered story of betrayal and death, forgivenss and redemption. As in 'Chasing Windmills,' Hyde gives her main character plenty of room to grow.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2008

    Wonderful Character-Driven Novel for All Readers

    What an exceptional book! I've read all of Catherine's work, including her Y/A novels and have to admit I have enjoyed them ALL thoroughly. 'The Day I Killed James' is no exception. The book is beautifully written, has a strong female protagonist, and a voice that draws you in IMMEDIATELY. What an exciting journey of self-discovery! I was hooked from the first line. The novel is set on the California Central Coast and the descriptions of Hearst Castle and the little coastal town of San Simeon are breathtaking. If you like down to earth characters that take you on a roller coaster ride of emotion, then this book is for you, and especially for anyone who loves good literature. If there were more than five stars available, I'd give 'em.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    Love this author and love this book!

    Love this author and love this book!

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  • Posted April 26, 2010

    Interesting read

    This was an interesting read told through journal entries written during the main protagonist's therapy sessions. Theresa asked neighbor James to go with her to a party in order to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. She's using James, as she knows that he has a crush on her. While at the party Theresa and her ex-boyfriend reconciled, leaving James behind who then committed suicide. Afterwards Theresa enters therapy to work through the guilt and grief. The journal entries take you back through specific days leading up to and after James' suicide. An interesting read, although it does jump around a little with the journal entries from different days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2010

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    Posted April 16, 2009

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    Posted February 1, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2009

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