Denton Little's Death Date by Lance Rubin
It's pretty rare that I laugh out loud while I'm reading (unless it's a book by Mindy Kaling or Amy Poehler), but I totally did several times throughout this book.
The story is set in the not-so-distant future, where everyone in the world knows (and is required to know) the exact date they will die, due to spectacular scientific breakthroughs in blood tests. No one knows the exact time of day they'll kick the bucket, or in what way exactly - car crash? Sudden onset of swine flu? - but they know what day it's coming.
Denton Little is 17 years old and has known his death date was early his whole life. His family and friends are sad, but pretty calm about it. When he wakes up the morning before his destined end-of-life appointment, he finds he has a weird rash and is convinced this is what's going to take him out. He decides to try and make sure everything on his bucket list gets checked off before his time is up.
Lance Rubin's writing made me want to meet him and maybe marry him. The funny scenes are so well-written I could see them in my head like a good comedy movie, and the pop culture references make me think we're probably around the same age. Even though the book is hilarious, it's also surprisingly nostalgic and, at times, suspenseful (by way of a possible conspiracy to make sure Denton doesn't live until the next day).
Two of my favorite moments:
Denton is the keynote speaker at his own funeral and decides to take this moment to tell everyone what he's ever thought of them in a stream-of-consciousness rant a la "Jerry Maguire." It's fantastic.
He and his best friend, Paolo, attend prom and perform an embarrassingly choreographed dance to Bone Thugs n Harmony's "Crossroads," and convince everyone to join in.**
The story raises some interesting questions, too. If you knew for sure when you were going to die, how would that shape your whole life? What would you do if you knew exactly how much time you had to do it in?
**My friend Bridgett and I totally made up our own dance in high school to - wait for it - "Men in Black" by Will Smith. I'm not kidding. And I'm not even embarrassed. It was an amazing dance.