Friday, 17 January 2014

Before I Die, Jenny Downham

Before I Die by Jenny Downham, reviewed by Eleanor

Publisher: David Fickling Books
Pages: 327
Buy this book: Amazon
Rating: 4 stars
What is this book about?

Tessa has just a few months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests and drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her Before I Die list. And number one is sex. Starting tonight. Released from the constraints of 'normal' life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Her feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and the powerful, bittersweet first love she finds with the boy next door - all are painfully yet beautifully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out. (goodreads)

Who should read this book?

There are some scenes of a certain nature in this book, making it very much young adult and not a pre-teen book. But a very good young adult book.

1. Would you like to have tea with the protagonist? No.

2. Would you fall for the main love interest? Hmm, no.

3. Would you want to strain the main antagonist? YES. I'm going to go all metaphorical and say that I take Tessa's leukemia as the antagonist. Straining it would be great.

4. Were the characters three dimensional? Yes.

5. Would you like to have tea in a cafe in England? Sure.

6. Do you like this author's flavour of writing? Yes.

7. Was this writing strong or weak? It's strong writing. Short sentences are used to show the message of the story -our lives are a series of moments.

8. Was the ending to your taste? I don't want to ruin the ending (although it is rather obvious!) but I will say that yes the end is sad. But it's perfect too.

9. If this cover were tea, would you drink it? No.

10. Favourite Quote?
"Life is made up of a series of moments, each one a journey to the end."

It may just seem like another cancer book, but Before I Die isn't just 'like another' anything. It's emotional and thought provoking and real. You start and cannot put it down until you have reached the last page and can barely read it through tears. And that's all there is to say. This book is beautiful.

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