Review: Before I Die by Jenny Downham


Before I Die by Jenny Downham
Published by: Random House Children’s Books
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Rating: 3
Date Read: 25/10/2015

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and 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, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

Tessa, a 16 year old girl from England, has been sick for years. She has cancer and doctors have tried everything to make her better without success. Tessa lives in a reality and she understands that sooner or later she will die from her sickness. Tessa is dying, and before she dies she has a list of things she wants to experience before she does. She wants to feel that she lived. There are a lot of things Tessa wants to do before she dies.

Adam is everything Tessa has always wanted. Tessa loves Adam and Adam loves Tessa. He does not care about her sickness. With Adam, Tessa learns things about love and undergoes more steps from her list. Even some steps she had never imagined she would undergo.

I don’t really know what to say about this book. I didn’t like it that much, but I didn’t hate it either.. So I have to let it be said that I really didn’t like Tessa. She was really irritating, yes I understand she’s dying but doesn’t mean I have to actually like her.

The only character that I liked was Adam. He was really nice and caring. There were some scenes with him being there for her and giving her all his love that made me like him more. So he was the only character in this book that made me care.

Although, I do like the style of Downham. Especially towards the end the book. The style of writing Downham uses to describe the thoughts of Tessa on her last days made me speechless. I must say that I did not really enjoy the beginning of the book and many times I thought of giving up on it. I am happy that I did not because the ending was really sad and heartbreaking.

The best part of this book is of course the ending. All those dreams mixed with reality and thoughts, the notes for the ones she was leaving behind, the people that cared for her being finally there for her, that was the only part that touched my heart, that was the only part that made me care.

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2 Responses to Review: Before I Die by Jenny Downham

  1. I have the book but haven’t read it yet. I did see the movie a few weeks ago, I couldn’t resist, and it made me cry! I felt it was a great movie and it was able to touch me in the end. So maybe this is one of these instances where the movie IS actually better than the book?

    Liked by 1 person

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