Posted in Young Adult Lit

Before I Die, by Jenny Downham

beforeidieBefore I Die
Jenny Downham
2007 by David Fickling Books
ISBN – 9780385613460
Genre – Realistic Fiction
Age – High School
4 Stars

Tessa is dying of cancer, there is no way around it. She decides to make a list of the things that she wants to do before she dies. The thing that tops the list is sex, then comes drugs, and breaking the law. She tries to make the most of the time she has left, but the path that she is taking seems to be leaving quite a mess behind.

This book is heartbreaking. It is the first book of the year that made me cry. From the very beginning we know exactly what is going to happen in the end. There is no hope. Instead of this book being about the end, it is intrinsically about the journey. Tessa is very much a teenage girl despite her illness. She is selfish, destructive, and angry, and honestly these are all within her right. At times I got so mad about how she treated her father, and the little thought she had for how her actions would affect him. She didn’t seem to realize how hard the whole situation was for him. However, what else would we expect from a teenage girl who knows that she will never get to live the life she should have? This is a great story about how relationships are grown, broken, and mended when people are pushed to their physical and emotional limits. I laughed, I cried, and I yelled, and I am sad all over again just writing about it.


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