Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Before I Die

No. This is not the book jacket. It is simply what I was doing during the last pages of Before I Die, by Jenny Downham.

Tess has leukemia. She's had it for four years, the treatments aren't working all that well, and frankly...she's sick of it all.

Being sixteen, she has come up with a list of things to do before she dies. The first thing on the list is sex. She lets her friend Zoey in on the list and recruits her in her mission. Zoey doesn't even blink. This is what Tess loves about Zoey. She's the only one, that since Tess got sick, still treats her the same.

Sex, however, is only one of the things on Tess' list, and as life moves on, Tess' list morphs, and surprisingly gets longer.

Her life is complicated by her dad, who just wants to save her, her mum, who doesn't live home or attend treatments, and her changing feelings for Adam, the boy next door.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read this so close on the heels of Thirteen Reasons Why, but I am glad I did. Since I read this is arc format, I don't want to give too much plot away, but I think Jenny Downham has done an amazing job of bringing Tess' struggles to life. I love the fact that during much of the book Tess is indeed, unlikeable. She is real and raw. She is going through things that all teens struggle with, and the fact that she has cancer, while devastating, is only part of the story.

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