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Showing 1-10 of 67 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 178 reviews
on November 11, 2012
Tessa makes a list of things to do before she dies of leukemia. She ends up having new experiences, worrying her parents, and acting outside of herself. But she feels that she needs to go through this list. Even when she's ready to pass out (and does so), she still forges ahead with the items on the list. Sex and falling in love are two of her wants. Considering that her body is wasting away, both look unobtainable. But they're not.

BEFORE I DIE is a book that shook me up. Tessa, her illness, and the goings-on in her life came across as realistic. It is a sad novel, yet at the same time it made me think of the things I take for granted that not everyone is able to do.
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on October 18, 2011
I've read a lot of books this week, all similar in their themes. Death, overcoming, moving through grief & finding answers to questions that rarely have one.

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
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on January 18, 2013
Tessa Scott is the main character of the book.She lives in England, and she has leukemia, which tortured her for a pretty long time. As the doctors say, she will not last for too long. When Tessa find out about it, she decides to make a list of ten things she wants to do before she dies. She seeks help from her friend Zoey, the only friend she has left from the time she was healthy. Zoey helps her stay on track and do all the things on the list. In the beggining of the book Tessa and Zoey go out to town and meet up to make one of point on the list come true - sex. After the night Zoey finds out she's pregnant. Throughout the book her relationship with Tessa changes as her pregnant sele replaces her normal self. There are many more things to do on te list, but Zoey does everything with a frown on her face. Towards the middle of the book Tessa meets her neighbor Adam, who she instantly likes. Although he responds the same, Tessa keeps pushing him away for fear of hurting him. Still, he tries and wins her over. IT didn't matter to him that she is sick or angry at the universe, he just stays with her and holds her through the hardest times.

What I personally liked about the book is that although it is fictional and made-up, the characters seem real, living people. And if you think about it, you probably would understand Tessa want for adventures for the last time before she goes. And although her wishes were inappropriate and sometimes illegal (smoking marijuana, stealing something from a store), she had a right to not care about the future. She had no future, and realisation of that can do some pretty devastating things to a person. BUt instead of sitting in her bed all day, in several months Tessa did the things that would be stretched out throughout the years in a normal person's life. She lived her life as she would, just in a smaller amount of time.

I dind't like her choice of the points of her list. In my opiniion, it is not the most important thing to try drugs or try stealing something to say that your life was full and happy. Tessa could have chosen jumping from a plane with a parachute, swimming with dolphins, go someplace she always wanted to go. I'm sure it would be just as fun and memorable as her list.

I reccomend this book purely because it will touch your heart and make you ask yourself - are you living your life to the fullest?
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on June 9, 2014
I really enjoyed the writing in this novel. It is thought provoking with its dialog and I cannot believe it hasn't been more "culticized" by American teens - especially females. If I hadn't read the date of publication, I would have thought Jenny Downham was riding on John Green's "Fault in the Stars" outstanding novel, however, she wrote this many years prior to his smash hit. I am a huge fan of his novels as well - but strongly encourage any John Green fans to buy this book!

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.
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on November 3, 2012
Living with an autoimmune disease and now mentoring others, I am aware of the nuances of disease within the family home and of the psychological roller coaster for the one sick. This book is a real downer, to say the least, and I struggled to finish it. Our heroine's "bucket list" was solved a little to easily and her Father was actually not given enough credit in this book. For a few more pages, there could have been so much more character development of the accepting Father and the off again, on again Mother. To give the author credit, I have sat with dying people and his description of this was right on, which made the book even more difficult to finish. I understand a "tightly" written book; however, this could have been richer with what was left out.
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on December 30, 2012
I bought this one simply because it was on Amazon for a good price. Once i received it and started reading, it was surreal. I have dealt with my father having Cancer, so this book hit home. It was gritty and real, something that I have found to really bring on the tears and heartache. Tessa is fighting for her life while those around her try to figure out how to help her cope with reality.

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.
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on November 29, 2014
I loved the movie "Now is Good," and sometimes when I like a movie enough, I will go back and read the book to go deeper. The movie adaptation was very close to the book in how it played out. It's hard to form an opinion about which one I like best.

I think I felt more with the movie, but the book was well written, too. Tessa was tough, she had moxie and I liked her. Her best friend Zoey? Not so much. She was a selfish wench who cared more about herself than anyone else. I loved Adam's quiet reluctance, how he got pulled in against his better judgement and wound up in love with a dying girl.

Beautifully written.
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on October 16, 2013
I purchased this book for my 14-year-old daughter, but because it broached the topic of sex and drug use, I decided to read it first to ensure that it was appropriate for her. Although not graphic, the sexual content was more than I wanted my daughter to read, so I declined to pass the book on to her. But I loved the story. I was incredibly impressed by Downham's approach to Tessa's terminal illness: she's not happy about it, obviously, and I appreciated that Downham wouldn't try to turn the story into an sappy soap opera about a tragically angelic-but-shortened life. She gets real, and at times, Tessa's actually a bit hard to like. But what's clear is that Tessa's end-of-life experience is her own, and I couldn't help but love her -- and mourn her -- in the end.
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on April 29, 2015
I didn't just cry, I sobbed! To read this story from the perspective of the person who is dying was both beautiful and extremely difficult. My mom died of cancer almost 4 years ago and it was like seeing into her mind. The exhaustion with tests and hospitals. The exhaustion of being sick but not yet wanting to let go. All the things she'd miss after she was gone. This book broke my heart but in a good way. It let me think that maybe, even when my mom could no longer talk, that she still knew I was there, right beside her till the end.
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on May 24, 2016
It's a sad story but I expected it. She decided since the memo isn't working that she would rather die.
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