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Monday, January 14, 2008

Before I Die, by Jenny Downham

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of ‘normal’ life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallised in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

With the movie "Bucket List" opening over the weekend, reading this book was a good way to kick off my weekend of self-reflection. Talk about making you think and consider relationships as well as how you live your life. Do you just give up, or do you go out fighting?

Oh, I cried. Wonderfully written, and so touching and real. Tessa is fabulous, Zoey is what you expect—loyal but still caught up in her own life, just like your typical teenager. Adam is an unexpected joy, and Cal, Tessa's little brother, will just wrench your heart out.

I truly can't believe this is Downham's first novel. I can only imagine what she'll give us next, as powerful as this one is.

1 thoughts:

star-crossed said...

Death and sex are pretty compelling topics...This sounds like a good one!

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