Review: Before I Die

Jul •  31 •  2013
This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: Before I DieBefore I Die by Jenny Downham
Series: Stand Alone
Published by Ember on May 26th 2009
Genres: Young Adult-Contemporary
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and 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, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year
Booklist Editors’ Choice
A Book Sense Children’s Pick
Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice
Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author
An ALA-YALSA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults

The newly released feature film Now Is Good, starring Dakota Fanning, is based on Jenny Downham's intensely moving novel.

This is one of those stories that make you think about your life and cry. After reading this story, it hit my heart in a whole new way…

Plot: The plot is what it is. A young girl with terminal cancer, going through her bucket list. She enlists the help of her friend to help her succeed in all of the things she wants to do. She also meets a new boy who influences her life more that what she thought. She finds love in the mist of her battle making it even harder to fight.

Love: As much as I adore love, finding love right before you die has got to suck. I mean, you can’t even enjoy it that much. I cried in parts where she was sad that she will never be able to do the things he is going to do. Go to college, parties, stay up all night, make new friends. She longed for a chance to have that life. And because of cancer, all of that is lost to her. Still, she found love and held on to it. She used it to help her fight her battle till her very last breath. And this boy that she meets, is amazing. He stays by her side, even when she doesn’t want him to see her. A true blessing of love and friendship.

Friends: Aside from the love, I’m very disappointed in her choice of friends. I mean, what kind of friend tells her friend off when she is dying! Seriously, I would drop that friend like a bad habit. This friend was rude, inconsiderate and always thinking about herself. She never once imagined what it would be like in Tessa’s shoes but instead just gave her crap. As you can imagine, I wanted to slap this chick upside her face good.

Family: I’m very happy that even though the mom wasn’t in the picture the dad was. This dad is amazing. He stood by his daughter during all the test, results and man, did I cry like a baby. As a parent when you hear words about your child and words that are hurtful, god…I can’t even imagine going through that. Knowing that your child is going to die. That there is nothing you can do other than sit back and watch your child wither away. This father, deserves an award. He never once cried, he stood strong and hoovered over his child like a parent should do.

This is an awesome story. A tear-jerker that will leave no eye dry, Before I Die is a ultimate example that life is not fair. A vivid and painful story, Before I Die is great.

I give it 4 BITES!


Happy Reading!


  1. This sounds fab and heartbreaking! It also tends to be books I want to read and avoid at the same time. 🙂 Oh I hate to cry, but it does sound good.

  2. Jenny
    Jul 31, 2013

    Not sure this is the book for me Savy, but as always, I enjoyed your thoughts on it. I tend to stay away from terminal cancer books, they’re just too heavy for me. I like dark paranormals, even crave them, but dark contemporaries that tackle things like cancer just tend to overwhelm me! Glad it worked so well for you though:)

  3. Amy @ Book Loving Mom
    Jul 31, 2013

    This sounds very heartbreaking and emotional!! Fantastic review Savy!!!

  4. Jen @ YA Romantics
    Jul 31, 2013

    I haven’t read this, but read You Against Me by Jenny Downham and really liked it. And I hadn’t heard this one would be a movie!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics

  5. Candace
    Jul 31, 2013

    I read one of her other books and loved it, so I’m really wanting to read this. I would cry like I’m a baby, I’m sure. And that friend would PISS me off!