My Catchphrases

Friday, 23 March 2012

Guest Review: Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Title: Before I Die
Author: Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: 29 April 2010

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.

Tessa has cancer, diagnosed with only a few months to live. Instead of giving up she creates a list of things she wants to do before she dies. Before I Die follows Tessa through her impossible list, sharing the anger, hurt, happiness and most importantly love that she encounters on her journey.

Tessa is strong and fearless, with such a terrible disease she still manages to be happy. She powers through the bad times, brave and outrageous I loved how she was able to make the best of the situation she found herself in. Through the story the reader gets to encounter the highs and lows of Tessa's life. Showing the world through her eyes as she strives to complete her list. Crazy things like breaking the law, taking drugs in an attempt to experience everything, living life to the full with her best friend Zoe helping her along.

My favorite part was when Tessa first sees Adam, going over to his garden next door. It was like a new beginning for Tessa, from this moment Tessa decides to start doing things, she shares a rare moment of peace in her chaotic world. There was one part that I didn't like, focusing on the relationship between Tessa and Zoe. I thought Zoe was thoughtless and selfish not to make sure Tessa was OK following the incident in the river.

I would really like to have seen Tessa's name in the wardrobe when she went to the seaside. I think this would have given her strength and hope. As well as the comfort of knowing she wouldn't be forgotten after her death.

This book was so emotional, it made me appreciate the life I have and I will be highly recommending it.


  1. great review, I haven't read this one yet but I really want to and seeing what youve thought of it has made me want to read it more! Thanks Madison!

  2. Fab review Madison! This is one of my very favourites - Raimy, you really MUST read it!


Blog Design by Use Your Imagination Designs all images form the Very Own World kit by Irene Alexeeva