Tessa has just a few months to live. So she compiles her bucket list, her To Do Before I Die list. 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.
Heartbreaking yet astonishingly life-affirming, Before I Die will take you to the very edge.
The eloquent dying teen can seem a staple of the YA novel, but this British debut completely breaks the mold.Downham holds nothing back in her wrenching and exceptionally vibrant story about a 16-year-old girl with leukemia determined to do 10 things before her imminent death (have sex, commit a crime, fall in love); although her rage feels palpable, she has decided to spend her remaining time living instead of dying. The chronicling of Tessa's slow decline has the immediacy of an audio journal painful, honest first-person descriptions almost trap the audience inside Tessa's head. She alternates erratically but realistically between emotions, and the effect is staggering. One scene, for example, begins with Tessa's younger brother burying a dead bird, the boy next door helping him in an effort to impress Tessa: at first Tessa is touched, then "There's earth on my head. I'm cold.... I try and focus on good things, but it's so hard to scramble out." Although the internal monologues wield undeniable power, some of the most dramatic scenes in the book involve Tessa's friends and familyher father's efforts to remain strong despite grief; her boyfriend's love for her; her younger brother's inability to grasp the gravity of his sister's condition (after a fight he hisses, "I hope you die while I'm at school! And I hope it bloody hurts"). Downham's writing is shockingly straightforward, and she cushions nothing for readers. In laying out so bald a story she evokes an extraordinary range of emotions, exorcised in a fiercely cathartic ending. Ages 14-up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is such an amazing book words can't begin to describe how addictive this book it's I Lurnt a lot form this, keep writing xx
After this book you will appreciate being alive. A sixteen years old girl trying to enjoy the last months of her life. This story with an amazing word using, it's simply just perfect. In the last about 30 pages I was just crying. I really liked this book.
Before I Die
This was an outstanding book which I enjoyed reading, I credit the writer for creating Tessa in a way that most teenagers would respond to dying with cancer. The story was sad and thought provoking. It makes me realize the difficulties young and old people face when dealing with cancer. Jenny Downham is an author who is among the select few of amazing quality writers. She is among with writers such as Malorie Blackman, JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins who create brilliant novels for teenage readers. I would most certainly reccomend this amazing read.