fiction · young adult

Deadline by Chris Crutcher


Author: Chris Crutcher

Pages [hardcover]: 32o

Memorable Quote: “Beware the short terminal guy with nothing to lose.”

Favorite Characters: Ben & Coach


In this often heartbreaking but highly empowering tale, an 18-year-old boy learns he has one year to live and decides to keep his illness a secret from his friends and family in order to live a so-called normal life. The hero is a well-developed character who shows both sensitivity and humor in dealing with his impending death, as well as a variety of other serious issues teens can relate to: romance, racism, mental illness, and more. Through an engaging first-person narrative filled with gut-wrenching honesty, Chris Crutcher delivers a thought-provoking tale that offers a great exercise in living each day as though it might be your last.


 This book had me rolling on the floor laughing one second and crying the next. A well written novel, Deadline deals with an issue not many of us consider: What if you were going to die in a year, and knew it? What would you do? I’m not even sure what I would do. It seems like there’s never enough time in the world as is.

Ben Wolf, called ‘little big wolf’ because of his short stature, especially in comparison to his younger brother, Cody, finds out he is terminally ill a few weeks before the start of his senior year. And he’s determined to live normally as long as he can-I mean, who wouldn’t do that?

But he also decides not to tell anyone-at all-about his impending death.

Practically the entire novel, I was internally screaming at Ben, telling him to tell SOMEONE. Sure, it definitely made the book more interesting, but it drove me crazy, in a good way, if that’s possible.

Ben chooses to terrorize his teachers with facts, which I love. He starts reading Lies My Teacher Told Me, a nonfiction history book that details the biggest blunders in textbooks today. He uses the book to debate with his teacher on current issues and Ben calls him on on several things that have been skipped over in class. He actually influenced me enough to check the book out from my library; I’ve started reading it, and it’s very good. Perhaps I’ll use it the same way he does. 😉

Ben is a funny character, and he sounds like he’d be a great guy. He takes the whole “you’re going to die” thing quite well, and it doesn’t seem to really affect him negatively. He just starts to do things he never would have the courage to do if he didn’t know about the illness.

Deadline is a sad, funny, sweet, heartfelt novel that will keep laughter in your lungs and tears in your eyes. I give it 5/5 stars and highly recommend it. I’m definitely going to have to check out more of Chris Crutcher’s work.

2 thoughts on “Deadline by Chris Crutcher

  1. Reblogged this on Caught Between the Pages and commented:

    I just reread Deadline by Chris Crutcher. After all this time it’s still one of my favorite books. I absolutely love the message of it and the way that the novel is crafted. Would recommend to anyone!


I read, love, and respond to each and every one of your comments! Thank you for reading!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s