Before I die – Jenny Downham

Tessa is a teen who has been diagnosed with leukemia. She’s terminal. Now it’s time for her to choose between just lying in bed waiting for death to come or to get outside and live the days she has left to their fullest extent. Tessa makes a list of things she wants to do before she dies and then sets out to do them. Her best friend Zoey vows to help her out with completing the list. 


I liked the concept of the book but I had such a hard time trying to like Tessa. Almost as much trouble as I had liking her best friend Zoey. I think Tessa is really unrespectful to her dad and really mean to her younger brother. She often leaves the house without telling anyone where she’s going and then just expects people to be okay with her leaving a whole day. I know she’s sick and she gets tired of people always hovering over her. But her dad gave up his job to care for her, and I find that she takes very little consideration of him. Zoey is a pretty awful friend to my standards. I would never be friends with her, just like I’d never be friends with Tessa.

I did like the things that were on the list, they were very true to teen dreams. These were things that I could really see a teen wanting to have done before she dies. She’s also still very much a teen in the way that she always throws these fits about things. When I say it was true it does not however mean that I like it. I’ve never liked teenagers throwing fits and I’m very happy that my friends and me are past this stage in our lives. I know that Tessa is dying and that dying people are often granted certain freedoms normal people aren’t. But I just feel like she’s doing all kinds of things to rub it into people’s faces that she’s dying. I get that dying isn’t fun, I really do, but there’s really no need to be a bitch about it to all the people who are doing all they can to save you and who just love you so much. Tessa just always shoves everyone away from her.

I also found the book a bit long at certain times. Just some things were drawn out when they could have been a lot shorter. I don’t know, as a book it wasn’t all that bad, it just wasn’t a book for me. I had no connection to the characters because I just couldn’t comprehend why they always had to act the way they did. I understand why people like this book, I just feel like I’m to old to sympathize with the seemingly endless fits. But the writing style was definitely alright and I did like how Jenny wrote the ending, just like the letters to everyone.

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