Keertana's Reviews > Before I Die

Before I Die by Jenny Downham
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's review
Apr 10, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: did-not-finish, why-the-hype
Read on April 10, 2012

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 driving, and even breaking the law. Then, there's Adam, her mysterious neighbor. Throughout Tessa's ordeal, she must learn to accept her situation, herself, and her life for what it is.

I'm going to start by saying some of the positive aspects of this novel. Tessa's reactions to her cancer and her behavior seemed very realistic and Downham's portrayal of her relationship with her family was extremely well written and believable. However, I simply could not bring myself to care for Tessa. Furthermore, I was thoroughly confused as to why Adam was even remotely interested in her. Tessa's friendship with Zoey seemed fake and fell flat. All in all, I didn't enjoy reading this book even a quarter as much as I loved Downham's You Against Me. That being said, Before I Die wasn't necessarily a bad book and the second half may be better than the first half, but I won't be wasting my time reading it.

(Note: If this is your first cancer book then it may be a very good read. I constantly kept comparing Before I Die to John Green's The Fault in Our Stars and the two stories simply could not be compared as The Fault in Our Stars affected me on a completely new and profound level that Before I Die could not do. As far as debut novels go however, this was definitely an excellent attempt by Downham.)
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Ilaria M. i thougt about The Fault in Our Stars steadly and mabe thats because i didn't like Before i Die..

message 2: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Connors The only reason I read this book is because I saw it mentioned in a review for The Fault In Our Stars. The review was pretty much saying that the person didn't like The Fault In Our Stars but loved this book, so I thought 'why not read this one?' and I feel like I just wasted a whole afternoon of my life on this book. I kept comparing it to The Fault In Our Stars as well and just kept thinking 'how do you possibly like Before I Die better?' Tessa was annoying, Zoey was horrendous, Tessa treated her family terribly and her relationship with Adam kind of came out of nowhere. I didn't emotionally connect with this book and I didn't even cry.

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