Review: Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

This book is relatively old because it was published in 2010 and I remember always picking up this book and reading the blurb when I was in Secondary School but I never actually bought it until last week. I’m not sure what convinced me to buy it – I just fancied something new to read and I’d been looking at this book for ages so I picked it up. The story is told from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Tessa who is going to die and she’s made a list of ten things she wants to do in the time she has left. But it isn’t going to be easy.

Dean Shrugging Gif

Tessa was a likeable character I guess – you always read these books about terminally ill kids who just accept that they’re going to die and are essentially little saints who try to help other people before they die. Tessa isn’t like that. She’s dying it but that doesn’t mean she should be happy about it or accept her fate. Knowing she hasn’t got much time left, she writes a list of things she wants to do before it finally happens and recruits the help of her best friend Zoey. I liked that Tessa was different and that she was angry. Zoey irritated me so much at the start of the book but she gradually grew on me.

If I actually have any regular readers then they’re probably wondering whether there was a love interest and what I thought of him – there was, his name was Adam and I’m not sure what I thought. I can understand why Tessa wanted to fall in love, it’s not like she had anything to lose but it seemed quite selfish as Adam was going to eventually lose her. However, Adam did show obvious reluctance to this relationship right from the start.

I thought the ending would be extremely emotional as many people were saying it was and I could see why people would think that but it didn’t particularly make me feel anything. However, this might have been because I read the ending at work so it’s quite difficult to be completely emotionally invested in the story whilst keeping one eye out for customers. So my suggestion for anyone planning to read this, make sure you read the ending somewhere more private where you can put all your focus on the book because I suppose it is quite upsetting.

Honestly, I finished this book in under a week so it kept my interest and reading Tessa’s list of things she wanted to do was interesting, it was different. I’m someone who has a bucket list and Tessa’s was quite different to mine and I enjoyed it. Tessa is brutally honest and I loved her for that. Overall, I’d recommend ‘Before I Die’ because it is an interesting read and gives you a better outlook on life I suppose.

There’s also a film based on this book called ‘Now is Good’ starring Dakota Fanning that I haven’t watched but would like to. If you want an idea of what the book is about then go watch the trailer for the film – it looks pretty good actually.

If you are thinking of giving this book a read then it’s literally only £1 on Amazon at the moment so you should check it out! It’s worth the read.


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