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Before I Die

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  42,942 Ratings  ·  3,632 Reviews
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 r ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 5th 2007 by David Fickling Books (first published 2007)
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Brenda Gough daydreamer:
It won't let me comment on our exchange, so I'll try to do so under the original question...
No, not at all. Again, it has to do with…more
daydreamer:
It won't let me comment on our exchange, so I'll try to do so under the original question...
No, not at all. Again, it has to do with relating to the characters. When reading a romance novel, I don't like the male characters to have long hair. Just a personal preference. I don't have a problem with men with long hair; I just don't want the male love interest to have long hair. Some people may feel the same about more sensitive characteristics, like race, gender, or sexual orientation. My personal feeling, choosing a romance novel based on character traits is similar to choosing an actual love interest - just because someone is not attracted to a particular race, doesn't make them racist anymore than choosing a love interest based on hair color or length makes them a bad person. This is just my opinion on romance novels; my answer would be different if we were talking about a different genre of books. :)(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tatiana
May 23, 2010 Tatiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of books with sad endings - "If I Stay," "Before I Fall," "Living Dead Girl"
Recommended to Tatiana by: ala
This book about broke my heart. It's not as if I didn't know how it would end - the title says it all, but I didn't expect to be touched by the story to such a degree.

The premise of Before I Die is quite simple - Tessa is 16 and dying of leukemia. She knows that she has only a few months to live and struggles to come to terms with her fate. Trying to make the best of the time she has left, Tessa comes up with a list of things she would like to experience before she dies. Some items on the list a
...more
Ariana
Jun 20, 2011 Ariana rated it liked it
Shelves: death-and-dying
This review can be found at ReadingAfterMidnight.com

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..



The bad:

For the most part of the story I didn't really care about Tessa, about her illness and her strange wishes (as I never got attached to her). I understand the desire to have a boyfriend, to be kissed and have sex, probably at her age this would be an important part of her life, but the other 'wishes' were kind of stupid and not the o
...more
Lacey Louwagie
Oct 12, 2007 Lacey Louwagie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who need to stop thinking about death as romantic
Shelves: youngadult
I started this book wondering, "Why am I reading this?" and I ended it wondering, "Why did I read this?" But my two reasons for thinking these things were very different.

In the beginning, I felt like this book would be a repetition of "Skinny," a massive disappointment in which the author was enamored with the idea of a sick, frail, floundering heroine. The heroine in this book started out looking more or less the same: "I'm sick, I'm gonna die, the world sucks, so leave me alone."

Tessa begins
...more
Penny
Sep 30, 2014 Penny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cancer-book
I feel like a jerk for not giving this story more stars. I mean, it's a book about a sixteen year old girl trying to live life to the fullest before dying of cancer. I keep thinking only a heartless baby-eating monster would give this book less then four stars.

Well, I suppose I am that monster, minus the whole baby-eating thing.

It's not like the premise failed to pull at my heartstrings--as I read this book I genuinely felt for the girl. And it's not like the author went out of her way to manip
...more
Lora
Mar 30, 2011 Lora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for a heartbreaking, beautifully written story
Actual rating: 3.5 stars

Tessa's been battling leukemia since the age of twelve. But now, when Tessa is sixteen, the doctors have told her that further treatment is futile and that there isn't much more they can do.
Realizing that she'll not be able to do all of the things that normal girls get to, she makes a list of ten things she wants to do before she dies. This list includes everything from sex to driving her father's car without a licence. And even as the novel rushes toward its inevitably s
...more
Ashley
Aug 16, 2008 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
We know three pages into “Before I Die” that sixteen-year-old Tessa won’t survive her leukemia--and that there’s plenty she still wants from life. So she makes a list and vows to do everything on it before she dies.

Like most teenagers, Tessa is at odds with her parents and angsty about how life’s shortchanged her. At first her ranting and left-field demands seem too adolescent. Isn’t the looming presence of death supposed to mature her beyond her years?

But that’s precisely the kind of “dying-you
...more
Flannery
Apr 13, 2011 Flannery rated it liked it
Recommended to Flannery by: Lora
Tessa has been treated for leukemia for the past four years. Now, since her treatment options have been exhausted, she is spending her last few months completing a list of things she wants to do before she dies. The list includes some predictable items (breaking a few laws, driving, having sex) and a few curveballs (experiencing love, getting her parents back together) but most of the book is dedicated to Tessa’s experiences as she attempts to finish her list and come to terms with her death.

Ha
...more
Chiara Cilli
May 01, 2016 Chiara Cilli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-the-year

Così reale da farti male. Malissimo.

Mio padre è morto a mezzanotte del 1 Febbraio 2016.
Tumore al polmone destro, con metastasi surrenali e cerebrali. Negli ultimi mesi si è esteso alla pelle e alle ossa. Ci ha messo otto mesi per divorarlo, neanche un anno.

Non avrei dovuto acquistare questo libro.
Non avrei dovuto vedere il film, qualche settimana fa.
Non avrei dovuto leggere questo libro.

Perché l'ho vissuto, e anche noi non siamo riusciti a salvare papà.

E' da troppo tempo che sto male, la malat
...more
Michael
Oct 18, 2007 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-list
This one snuck up on me. I thought that I was reading just a sweet inspirational tale about a dying girl, and the next thing I know I'm sobbing in a Chinese restaurant on 8th Avenue.
The review that inspired me to pick this one up, said that the only thing wrong with this book was that the publisher decided to market it as "young-adult", so it may never get the readership it deserves.
It was reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks', A Walk to Remember, but with much more of an edge. The girl in this novel
...more
Nicola
Dec 05, 2008 Nicola rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, teen
This is a morbid little story. Beautiful, but morbid. I can't help thinking that the author demands instant literary kudos simply by dealing with the uncomfortable subject of teenage death. Unfortunately, I don't think the novel quite deserves that kudos. It provides no great profundity and, though poignant, I can't help but think it compares poorly to the 2003 movie, My Life Without Me.

For a start, the central character, Tessa is hard to like. There's a prickly sullenness about her that is part
...more
Aly (Fantasy4eva)

“I love you. I love you. I send this message through my fingers and into his, up his arm and into his heart. Hear me. I love you. And I'm sorry to leave you.”


Rated: 4.5

first read in August 11th 2009 (rated four stars)

wow. such a long time ago.

How did I not see the gorgeousness that is this book the first time around?
-----------------
“I want to die in my own way. It's my illness, my death, my choice. This is what saying yes means.”

“when I was four I almost fell down the shaft of a tin mine and w
...more
Eleni Ouzouni
Aug 27, 2015 Eleni Ouzouni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-novels
“Keep breathing. Just keep doing it. It's easy. In and out.”

Το Before I Die είναι το πρώτο βιβλίο της Βρετανίδας συγγραφέας Jenny Downham. Αν και το έχω αρκετό καιρό να με περιμένει στα ράφια μου ήμουν πάντα αρκετά φοβισμένη να το διαβάσω. Όταν ξέρεις από την αρχή πως η ιστορία σου δεν είναι ευχάριστη, δεν έχει happy end και καταπιάνεται με ένα δύσκολο θέμα τον καρκίνο μπαίνουν πολλές σκέψεις για το αν είσαι στην διάθεση να το διαβάσεις. Πολύ αναγνώστες μένουν μακριά από αυτά τα είδη βιβλίων αλ
...more
Heather
Nov 04, 2009 Heather rated it did not like it
You know it's sad when I can't muster up any sympathy for a dying 16 year old girl.
Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead
I cannot believe this was the author's debut book.

WARNING- I cried from 2% all the way to 95%. I didn't cry at the very end. How screwed up am I?

I cried not because Tessa was dying but because she was so well loved. The numerous acts of unselfish (and some selfish) raw love made my heart break apart.

I promise you the dying in this book is not the story. It's about how to finally live when you have an expiration date.
Maxine  (Booklover Catlady)
Beautiful. I always said that there must be better books out there than The Fault in Our Stars by John Green when tackling teenage cancer in a novel. And there was. I have just read it.

Tessa is a young teenager and she's being ravaged by Leukemia, she has battled it for years of her young life and now things are not going so well. The sand in the timer is falling faster.

I've been ill for so long, puffed up and sick, with patchy skin, flaky fingernails, disappearing hair and a feeling of nausea
...more
Keertana
Jun 30, 2012 Keertana rated it it was ok
I read about half of Before I Die before I realized that I just couldn't be bothered anymore. I picked up Before I Die with huge hopes and expectations. I had just finished reading Jenny Downham's You Against Me which was utterly brilliant but Before I Die simply didn't do it for me.

Sixteen-year-old Tessa doesn't have a very long time left to live. Suffering from leukemia, Tessa decides to make a list of things she wants to do before she dies. On this list is everything from sex, to drugs, to d
...more
Mr.Nourok
Oct 28, 2007 Mr.Nourok rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: 2011-2012
If you need a reminder of all that's important in this world, then you should read this novel. Even if you don't think so. The title says it all. Narrated by a Tessa, a girl who is dying of cancer, Before I Die gives a realistic portrait of what she wants to accomplish in the little time left to her.

Now please don't think I'm sexist when I say this, but 99% of the women I know make lists. It's something I admire about them. Lists—it's a girl thing.

Tessa, makes lists. Lists of things she wants to
...more
Hira
Oct 21, 2012 Hira rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, favorites-2011
Books where people die are very hard for me to read about. But those are also the ones that touch me the most.

Tessa has cancer. She has been fighting cancer for the past 4 years, and now only has months to live. She wants to make the most of the time she has, and so she makes a "Before I Die" list, a list of all the things she wants to do before she dies.



What would you do? I for one, would probably want to spend all my time with loved ones, although I don’t think you can assume what a person w
...more
Thomas
Tessa was diagnosed with terminal leukemia at the age of twelve. Her friends and friends of her family sent her gifts and get well soon cards, probably expecting her to get better after a few treatments and maybe some radiation chemotherapy. Four years later, at age sixteen, Tessa knows she is going to die in just a few months. Not wanting to live the rest of her life in bed doing nothing, Tessa compiles a list of things she wants to do before she dies. The objectives on the list are racy and me ...more
Boof
I have just finnished this book and I write this review through tears. In the day it took me to read I have laughed, cried, felt uplifted and humbled.

This is the story of 16 year old Tessa who is dying of terminal cancer. In her last months she makes a list of 10 things she wants to do before she dies (this includes falling in love and saying yes to everything for one whole day). Tessa goes through a range of emotions including anger (why her?) but the overriding feeling I got from her was an a
...more
Nathaly


Cuando escogí este libro antes de irme de viaje pensé que esto sería otra historia sentimental con una chica que esta muriendo que tiene una lista de cosas por hacer antes de morir y en eso se enamora y ve una hermosa puesta de sol justo antes de morirse. Un libro sobre no tener miedo, nunca cuestionar o estar enojado con la vida o como te ha tratado.

Lo que encontré fue un personaje fuerte, una chica que a veces es atrevida que de verdad quiere vivir la vida plenamente, mientras que todavía la
...more
Lauren
While it started out rather slowly, about halfway through, it definitely picked up.

I feel like it could have been so much more though. It could have been something absolutely phenomenal and some parts just fell a bit short.

But I will say this, I definitely cried.
Kirsty
May 27, 2008 Kirsty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in a day - I couldn't put it down. The story is told from the viewpoint of a 16 year old girl, Tessa, who has terminal leukemia. She has months to live and has made a list of things she wants to do before she dies.

The book is beautifully written, and brings about a number of emotions. The characters are well established (Tessa's father particularly) and this makes the story realistic and believable. It's interesting to learn about the relationships between the characters - you'd imag
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

I devoured this book in two days. It called to me. Beckoned me across the room and begged me to pick it up and finish what I'd started. If I hadn't needed to eat and sleep, I'd have finished it in mere hours. It was that vital to keep going.

Tessa Scott keeps going, too. She keeps writing on the wall and adding to the list of things she wants to do before she dies. Tess's life is being driven from her by leukemia before she herself can even drive a
...more
Kody Keplinger
Feb 20, 2010 Kody Keplinger rated it it was amazing
I'd heard a little about this book when I started reading it. Not much, but mostly good things. But when I started it, I had no clue what I was in for.

The title makes it clear that the book is about death. Tessa, at sixteen, is about to die. But the book is about so much more than that. It's really about living. Tessa makes a list of 10 things she wants to do before she dies. Each one leads to different, varying consiquences, but they all help her live, just a little.

This book is beautiful and g
...more
Joost
Jun 20, 2015 Joost rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit boek... Tsja, ik vond het niet heel bijzonder, alleen na het uitlezen had ik er wel wat gevoelens bij. Lees hier mijn recensie: http://nerdygeekyfanboy.com/recensie/...
Javiera
Apr 20, 2016 Javiera rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, biblioteca
"Hemos hecho el amor 27 veces y hemos compartido cama 62 noches, y eso es mucho amor. No quiero estar muerta. No me han amado de esta forma el tiempo suficiente."

Yo esperaba más llanto, más tristeza, más dolor en mi corazón... pero no paso nada de eso; así como llego esta historia a mi vida, se va. Esta bien, yo no digo que sea mala o algo por el estilo, si no que esta ok; pero pensaba que al tratarse de una chica, Tessa, de 16 años con un cancer terminal y con una lista de cosas que desea cumpl
...more
Alyssa Wayt
Jan 21, 2012 Alyssa Wayt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't like this book. It started off okay, but it just got worse and worse.

Tessa has cancer, and is dying. She has a list of things she wants to do before she dies. The list is things like sex, drugs, say yes to everything for a whole day, get famous, nonsense stuff. Then she falls in love with the boy next door. Her list turns into things like hold my brother, kiss my love, have a cup of tea, little things like that. This book could have been really great, if it wasn't for all of the
...more
Simcsa
May 02, 2012 Simcsa rated it it was amazing
Tessa..

I'm an emotional wreck. Because of you.


Hope you're okay. Whenever you're.


And don't worry. They won't forget.


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Hamda Almuhairi
This is just so horrible!

As in painful. I think I'm turning into a masochist. I can't keep away from heart-breaking books.

It's hard to read something about death, so damned hard. It made me think: if I was Tessa, how would have I felt?

Imagine this: four years of fight against a disease, with a probability that you're going to die at the end.

You're too young, only sixteen, but your life is slipping away from your fingertips. You're dying. Your dreams, your wishes are all worthless. You'll never
...more
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Jenny Downham (born 1964) is a British novelist and an ex-actor. In her first book, Before I Die, the fictional account of the last few months of a sixteen-year-old girl who has been dying of leukemia for 4 years. The book is told in the first person. The book was acclaimed and was short-listed for the 2007 Guardian Award and the 2008 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year, nominated for the 2008 ...more
More about Jenny Downham...

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“I wish I had a boyfriend. I wish he lived in the wardrobe on a coat hanger. Whenever I wanted, I could get him out and he'd look at me the way boys do in films, as if I'm beautiful.” 478 likes
“I love you. It hurts more than anything ever has, but I do. So don't you dare tell me I don't. Don't you ever say it again!” 336 likes
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