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281 Reviews
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111 of 111 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish List
An intense story narrated by Tessa, who is 16 and has only a few months left to live. She has a list of `to do before I die' wishes and is working her way through them, number one on the list is to have sex. Along the way the reader hears about Tessa's observations on life, how she faces what fate has dealt her with grace but also with rebelliousness and anger. She thinks...
Published on 11 Sep 2007 by kehs

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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Touching
Tessa is 16 and dying of cancer. She knows that she has only months to live and she creates a list of things she wants to experience before she dies: having sex, trying drugs and falling in love being just three of them. This is not your usual teen lit fare. It is a very moving book that feels like a realistic account of a teenager struggling to come to terms with the...
Published on 1 Dec 2007 by Julia Flyte


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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous - couldn't stop crying at the end, 15 Mar 2009
By 
Joanne Bates "Jo B" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Before I Die (Paperback)
This book was absolutely brilliant. I have recommended it to all my friends. A real tear jerker that you just can't put down. You join the story just a main character (a teenage girl) learns that her cancer is terminal. The story follows her as she tries to carry out her list of "things to do before I die".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Read, 2 Mar 2009
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Raquel (warminster,wiltshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Before I Die (Paperback)
Thoroughly enjoyed this book, totally cried throughout the last few pages! Would certainly recommend this book to any woman,i dont think it would be a typical 'bloke read'. I have passed my copy to my mum who im sure will then pass it round to her friends!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 1 Mar 2009
This review is from: Before I Die (Paperback)
Teenagers are difficult, truculent, moody and challenging, add into this mix the fact that this particular teenager is terminally ill. Jenny Downham has written a beautifully sensitive, funny, sad and ultimately uplifting novel. The main character Tessa Scott is a typical teenager. But Tessa is dying and she is understandably angry about it. It would have been easy for Ms Downham to make the main character brave and uncomplaining but that just would not have been realistic. Some reviewers have said they found they could not sympathise with Tessa, well they must have hearts of stone. The fact that she is at times a monster makes her all the more believable, she is after all 15 years old! All of the characters in the book are really well drawn, in particular Tessa's Father. He is constantly looking on the internet for the latest cure, he is frustrated by his wilful daughter and doesn't understand her but his love for her shines through.The flighty Mum who finally gets drawn into her daughters life and illness. The loveable younger brother. The flirtatious and somewhat selfish best friend. And Adam, Tessa's boyfriend, interesting, sensitive and brave.
This is a remarkable debut novel. Beautifully written it deals with a very sensitive subject in a realistic way and never becomes mawkish or sacharine.
I, like so many others wept buckets at the end, but Tessa's indomnitable spirit lives on.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully tragic story, not just for teenagers, 21 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Before I Die (Paperback)
I added this book to my last batch of books I ordered from Amazon based on the reviews here, unsure what to expect as it was aimed at teenagers. Initially, I thought that I wouldn't like Tessa's character as she seemed spoilt and self centred, understandably based on her medical prognosis. But I think after a few chapters I began to understand her more because in most ways, Tessa is like any other teenager. She's moody, wants to be independent and grown up and begins revolting against her parents. Adding to all that teenage angst is the fact that she has terminal cancer. Its so hard to sum up how involved I got in Tessa's character. I really felt like I knew her towards the end and was willing there to be a different ending to her story. This is one of those books that you find yourself thinking about out of the blue a week after reading, wondering what you would do in her position or if she was your child. This is well worth the purchase, just make sure you aren't reading the last few chapters on your commute!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just Kate says:, 20 Feb 2009
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Just Kate (Cheshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Before I Die (Paperback)
'Before I Die' is incredible. It truely makes you appreicate the gift of life and inspires a change in your life to just do everything you want before it's too late. The book follows a young girl living with terminal Lukemia, it's a great book, written well, and really enjoyable!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before I Die., 27 Feb 2008
This review is from: Before I Die (Hardcover)
I read this book with my book club. It was liked by all members but we were divided. Some said that the book was life affirming while others felt it was sad and at times felt totally devistated and depressed. I have been through the experience of cancer with loved ones and I found the whole subject hard to cope with, the book itself is well written and has a great insite as to the girls emotional roller coaster, as her life slowly ebbs away. I would think carefully about giving this book to a teenager as I was told that it was a crossover book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting, warm and humbling, 16 Aug 2008
By 
Boof (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Before I Die (Paperback)
I have just finnished this book and I write this review through tears. In the day it took me to read I have laughed, cried, felt uplifted and humbled.

This is the story of 16 year old Tessa who is dying of terminal cancer. In her last months she makes a list of 10 things she wants to do before she dies (this includes falling in love and saying yes to everything for one whole day). Tessa goes through a range of emotions including anger (why her?) but the overriding feeling I got from her was an amazing spirit. She notices things that you and I forget to notice - the colour of leaves, the sound of a thunder storm, sunshine reflecting in a tea cup. These are the things that make her feel alive and she embraces them in a way that most of us who think we have years left infront of us don't.

This is a beautifully written and important book. It reminds us to live.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before I Die read this book, 11 Aug 2007
This review is from: Before I Die (Hardcover)
Jenny Downham's insights into the mind of a teenager and a terminally ill one at that are convincing.
The reality of cancer and the emotional anguish of dying are portrayed with stark honesty.
Laugh through the tears.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing., 8 Jan 2009
This review is from: Before I Die (Hardcover)
This book was almost too well written for its own good. i felt a physical loss and pain when i finished, and cried for an hour over a fictional charcter!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning!, 23 Dec 2008
By 
This review is from: Before I Die (Paperback)
I picked this up in the three for two at Borders having heard nothing about it at all..and I've just read it in bascially one sitting. Really lovely, beautiful and had me weeping at the end. Definately recommended.
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Now is Good (Also published as Before I Die)
Now is Good (Also published as Before I Die) by Jenny Downham (Paperback - 30 Aug 2012)
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