- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: David Fickling Books; Later Printing edition (September 25, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385751559
- ISBN-13: 978-0385751551
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 181 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,426,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Before I Die Hardcover – September 25, 2007
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Review, NYTBR, October 14, 2007:
"This may sound too depressing for words, but it is only one indication of the inspired originality of Before I Die, by Jenny Downham, that the reader can finish its last pages feeling thrillingly alive ... I don't care how old you are. This book will not leave you."
—John Burnham Schwartz
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2007
"Lucid language makes a painful journey bearable, beautiful and transcendent."
Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly, August 6, 2007
"The eloquent dying teen can seem a staple of the YA novel, but this British debut completely breaks the mold. Downham holds nothing back in her wrenching and exceptionally vibrant story."
Review, Entertainment Weekly, September 21, 2007
"Bound For Glory: This fall, five young authors deliver breakout books packed with razor-sharp writing."
Review, Entertainment Weekly, September 28, 2007
"In luminous prose that rings completely true, Downham earns every tear she wrings from her readers. I trust there will be many of them—many readers, and of course, many tears. A-"
About the Author
Before I Die is a brilliantly crafted novel, heartbreaking yet astonishingly lifeaffirming. This is Jenny Downham’s debut novel. She lives in England.
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Showing 1-6 of 181 reviews
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I've dealt with death in my own way. I've come within seconds of Mr Reaper multiple times through a diagnosis of my own. My death won't come as suddenly as the narrator's as I've lived for fifteen years with my disease, but it's something that I think about often. Afraid to go to sleep, afraid all the time, but putting on a smile to not allow my uneasiness to travel through my friends and family.
She puts together a list of things she wants to do before she dies. She's sixteen and knows she doesn't have much time left. She wants to have sex, drugs, break the law, say "yes" to everything for a whole day. She wants to squeeze in all of life's moments into a few short months- that's all she has left.
It's a quick read. A heavy topic. A sad premise. It will make you reflect on what's truly important in your own life. Immediately after finishing this story, I gathered my daughter into my arms and told my husband that I love him more than anyone else in the world. I grieved with her and discovered the little pieces of life that would normally go slightly unnoticed.
This is a good book. I wouldn't say it was great because I didn't get very attached to the characters like I would have wanted, but it was a very good book.
Try books like this: "Hold Still" by Nina LaCour, "Okay" by Katherine Marple, "Fall For Anything" by Courtney Summers, "If I Stay" by Gayle Forman
I felt this book was truly amazing, deep, thought provoking, insightful, heart warming, heart breaking, covering issues that many would fear to touch in a YA novel. Did I really read that this was a first novel? I'm even more blown away by that, the writing is truly wonderful, the style kept to match that of the tender age of Tessa. Prepare to cry, but don't pass it up.
She's so young and wants so much for her life, but she knows that she has a limited amount of time left to live. After creating a list of things she wants to do before she dies, she tries to achieve her goals, regardless of who she hurts in the process.
She wants what any normal teen wants: love. This is something very hard to achieve when you have such a short period of time left on this world. It took quite a while for me to get through this book, simply because I had a hard time dealing with my own demons while reading this. It's a great book and extremely well written. If you aren't looking for a tear jerker, I wouldn't recommend reading it. This is one of those books that won't leave your mind for quite some time.
By the way, the adapted movie, "Now is Good" does not do this author justice. It's a decent movie, however, her writing is far superior to this grade "B" English hack job of cinematography.
Tessa's journey revolves around a list she has generated that contains all of the things she wants to achieve before she dies. While her behavior in achieving this goal is at times reckless,and even dangerous, it never comes off feeling exploitive,but a genune honest reaction to the cards she's been dealt.
As I said earlier, ultimately the book is about being alive,and like Michael Cristofer's Tony award winning play, 'The Shadow Box', urges you to live life to the fullest and drink in as much as you can while you're still on this earth. The final thirty pages are worth the price of the book alone, although at the risk of overselling, I'd suggest a box of tissues kept close by.I made the mistake of finishing at work.