Before I Die

 
5.0
 
4.6 (13)
1849 1
Before I Die
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
14+
Release Date
September 25, 2007
ISBN
0385751559
Buy This Book
      
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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Emotionally Gripping Page-Turner
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
What would you do if you knew you were going to die soon? Sixteen year old Tessa has leukemia. She knows she has months to live. But before she dies, she wants to do the ten things on her list, beginning with something she's never done: making love. Tessa writes her wishes on the wall behind her bed: "I want to feel the weight of a boy on top of me."

Luckily (at least usually), she has her best friend, Zoey, to help her with her list. Tessa slithers into Zoey's tiny red dress. Zoey applies makeup to Tessa's face, and the girls head off to fulfill Tessa's first wish. The consequences are far-reaching and unexpected.

BEFORE I DIE caught me by surprise with its snappy, in-your-face voice and rapid pace. I loved Tessa; I couldn't put her story down until I finished it. The book has tremendous emotional depth, sparking laughter, sorrow, joy, pain, and tenderness. This is a book to read and ponder--and share with friends. Highest recommendation for an amazing read.
TM
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User reviews

13 reviews

 
(9)
 
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Brilliant
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by KJ

Before I Die is a moving book, strong enough to pull you in and draw out some genuine emotions, willing you to start you own list of things to do before you die.
 At times you love Tessa - the protagonist - and at times you hate her, but ultimately you don't want her to meet the inevitable future lay before her. I've had many of my friends read the book after me and they all feel the same, some were less absorbed by the book than others but still the feeling was (somewhat) mutual.
Before I Die can make you happy to feel alive and eagar to do something with your life before time runs out - though with any luck the rest of us have more time than Tessa.
Buy it. Read it. Love it.
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Heart Stopping But A Must Read
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Rachel Connell

Tessa has little time to live and she wants to do somethings before she goes. Making a bucket list that include losing her virginity, getting high, shop lifting, and many other things. Showing the aspects of her relationshop with her, father, mother, little brother, best friend, and new boyfriend. Fighting her cancer all the while.
Everyone should read this book. By the last page you will be taking shuttering breaths and crying your eyes out. This wonderful story makes you take a look at your life, relationships, and the fact that you never know when you won't be here.
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To Live or to Love
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Sidra

I LOVE THIS BOOK! It talks about a girl who is about to die in a few days and she wants to complete the ten things she has written on her to-do-list. The first thing is sex. I know that sounds a little crazy but it's so sweet. She faces a few scary challenges along the way but keeps moving.

I recommend this book to all teens who don't mind crying when they are done this book  :)
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Heartwrenching, But a Must Read
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Sara

From inside cover: ITS REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN. THEY SAID IT WOULD, BUT THIS QUICKER THAN ANYONE THOUGHT.
Everyone has to die. We all know it. With only a few months of life left, sixteen-year-old Tessa knows it better than most. Shes made a list, though ten things she wants to do before she dies. Number one is sex. Starting tonight.
But getting what you want isnt easy. And getting what you want doesnt always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important.

I was hesitant to read this book at first because, to be completely honest, I'm a crier. I knew when I started this book, that when I got to the end, I would sob my eyes out. And I already had a horrid cold, in the summer, when it was 90 degrees out. Ick. But I put my own personal comfort aside to read this book - and I'm glad I did. Even if I couldn't breathe out of my nose for hours.

Tessa is dying, and she doesn't have much time left, but she is determined to finish the ten things on her list before she does. Sex is the first, but it isn't the life changing act that one would think it is - its the smaller things, and ultimately, the things that aren't on Tessa's list that end up being the most important.

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 10
Characters: 10
Writing Style: 10
Romance: 10
Memorable: 10
Total: 50/50 (A)

This book really changed the way I see to-do lists, that's for sure. It was deep and touching - and so so horribly sad - but it was so so good. Good seems like such a bland term, but that is the best way I can describe it. Like when you meet a "good" person, they fill you with such light and hope - that's what Before I Die is like. Read this book - in fact, buy it and loan it out to others. Everyone should read it once.
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Prepare for the tears
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Debbie

Let me wipe my tears away before I get too far into this.  Yes, I
broke down at the end of the book.  You know Tessa is not going to live
and yet Downham has sucked you so far into Tessas life that you feel
as if you know her and would mourn her passing as well.  I liked that
this book sounds as if it really were written from the point of view of
a teen ager.  The things she wants to do before she dies are things
like use drugs, have sex, break the law, etc.  All things I think a
typical teenager would want to do if they knew they were dying.  Not
just the sappy things like saying good bye to everyone and every place
they have ever been.    As a parent I hope I am never in this situation
but if you are how far do you go to fulfill your dying childs last
requests?  Do you really punish them for breaking the law or sneaking a
guy in to sleep in her bed?  Do you even try to get them to go back to
school to return to a sense of normalcy?


While it was a really sad book it was also interesting to get into
the head of a teenager who knows they are facing death and how they
handle it.

Reprinted here with author's permission.



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Truly A Great Book
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Kelsey

Tessa has only months to live before she dies. After giving up the many hospital visits, shots, endless tests, and medicine that gives off worse symtoms; she makes a list of things to do before she dies. Tessa tries to do everything in her list and get it done before that time. This is a truly amazing, but depressing book about a girl who wants to make her life the best posssible in a months time. Recommended to 9th and up for parts that aren't suitable.

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Knowing it.
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Chantel

Imaging knowing it,
knowing that you'll die before you experience the world to the fullest, knowing you won't go to college.
You'll never be married.
You might not even fall in love.
and worse image knowing that when your gone, life goes on.
Well she does, and how she copes with it will surprise you.
She meets her true love, and she gives it all shes got, knowing that he'll have to find love again.
And she won't have that chance.
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So very sad, but totally worth the tears
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Adriana M.

Wow, this was such a tear jerker. You go through the whole journey of Tessa and her last months of life. She has leukemia and there isn't much hope as to her recovery, so she makes a list of things she wants to do before she dies, but the list is presented in a way that is very organic. It isn't listed all in one place, she starts with a few things, and then they change, get accomplished, and then just become fragments of the things that she hopes she can get done before it's too late. The writing is beautiful, the characters are very real, and it doesn't make a difference that it takes place in England, it could be taking place anywhere. I made the mistake of reading this one at work and I wanted to sob when I got near the end, but I couldn't because I was in our break room! Very poignant and very real. Brings up many questions about life and death - and they can apply to all of us because we all face the same journey.
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sad and brilliant
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by blob

This is about a girl called Tessa, she is 16 and has suffered from leukemia for four years of her life. Time is running out so she makes a list of all the thing she wants to do before she dies, the content of it verifying from taking drugs to falling in love. This book is about her determination to complete these wishes, not all of them so easy accomplish. This book takes you on an epic journey with Tessa in her last months.
This book is one that will make you laugh and cry. In this book you get to know the characters, it will make you think about the really little silly things in life that are actually really important. I highly recommend it to anyone over 14. ITS BRILLIANT...but be prepared to cry!
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A bit of a downer, but great writing
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
0.0
Writing Style 
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by bookworm9

Tessa is dying-- that's made clear early on in this book. And I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say her prognosis does not change-- there are no miracles or happy endings. This is a harrowingly real look at a teenager dying of leukemia, but it's also a brilliantly written love story, and not just romantic love (though that's included, too). As Tessa comes to terms with her death and tries to complete a list of things she wants to do/ experience before she dies (including have sex and get her parents back together), readers are dragged along for an incredible ride.

Be prepared to cry at the end, even if you're not a huge Tessa fan (she can be a bit grating, though her voice is authentic). I didn't get too into this book until halfway through, but my patience paid off-- it's worth reading.
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