Jackie's Reviews > Before I Die

Before I Die by Jenny Downham
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's review
Nov 13, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: ya-fiction, death, abe-award-nominee
Read in December, 2008

Before I Die by Jenny Downham does not sugar-coat dying young. It is brutal, honest and caustic. My emotions ran high and low just as Tessa's life was being ripped from her. Tessa, 16, has leukemia and has only months to live. She composes a list of the things she wants to do before death takes her. At the start, on her list are things like having sex, falling in love, saying 'yes' to everything for a day, doing drugs...but, as she fails, her list of things become those mundane things that we all take for granted, such as opening her eyes, holding her brother, telling everyone she loves them. Her pain becomes the readers' pain, her fears melt into the pain of the disease, and voices become distant, dreams become surreal. Her family and friends around her are not left out of the book...we see Tessa's death through their eyes, too, as you are left wondering how this young woman's life and death will affect their futures. A powerful story, painfully realistic, awaits anyone who picks up this book.

Morton West High School: Sophomore Literacy Project, 2012.

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12/28/2008 page 82
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