written by: Jenny Downham
genre: Young Adult, tragedy, romance
page count: 327
publication date: January 1st, 2007
Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.
I had been wanting to read Before I die for a long time, and then I just stumbled upon it in the library, and I just had to read it. So I did. And I loved it, and cried a lot. Just like most people who have read this book probably have.
Before I die is not your stereotype sad story. The list made it a unique book. What would you want to do before you died? Tessa tries to do everything on the list. The list becomes her life, as far as she still has a life. But there are some things on the list that will be hard to accomplish. Love and be loved. It seems so hard. With the last power she has inside of her, Tessa completes the list. Some things are hilarious to read about, like the only-say-yes day she had, while others seemed impossible, like bring back together her parents.
As I turned the pages of this book, I became fully aware of what was happening. Every page meant one page closer to Tessa's death. Even a miracle couldn't make her stay alive anymore. No-one should die at that age, or earlier.
Tessa is one of the greatest characters ever. She has cancer but can still be happy, and she can still find the power to hang on to her life, even if that power is the list. Tessa was super realistic, and at one point in her process of accepting her own death she decided to stop giving a f*ck about her own life. And that's what made her so special. Then there was the YA-stereotype mean best friend. She didn't really interest me. And there was the Boyfriend, who was a-dor-able, he was so caring and protective, just like Tessa's dad. And the most amazing character from this book was Tessa's brother. He seemed to have accepted his sister's death, and was joking about it all the time, but when she was about to die he revealed his real feelings. That made me cry so much!
Jenny Downham has a great writing style, and the pace of this story was great, too. I just wished the book wasn't so short...
A recommender for every teen who likes sad tragic stories, or just wants to see how amazing his/her own life is.
I rate this book 5/5 stars.