Before I Die
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Before I Die

3.84 (45,702 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Tessa has just a few months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her Ten Things 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, her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out. BEFORE I DIE is a brilliantly-crafted novel, heartbreaking yet astonishingly life-affirming. It will take you to the very edge.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 28mm | 340.19g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552774626
  • 9780552774628
  • 389,701

Review quote

"Dealing frankly with teenage life, Before I Die will be the year's most talked-about novel." * The Sunday Times * "A novel that won't fail to touch those who read it...A book that will make you happy to be alive *****" * Heat * "Fierce, bold and bright...Jenny Downham is capable of exquisite, almost fevered writing, but she's also a master of pace, slowly establishing a heroine so brimful of life that it is wrenching to endure the attritions of the final pages" * Observer * "Downham has not only eschewed mawkishness, but has managed to convey real feeling. Her heroine - angry, funny and occasionally irrational - positively leaps off the page...This is a thoughtful, and sometimes painful, exploration of what it feels like to say goodbye to life before you have had a chance to live it." * The Times *show more

About Jenny Downham

Jenny Downham was an actress for many years before concentrating on her writing full-time. She lives in London with her two sons. Her debut novel Before I Die was critically acclaimed and was shortlisted for the 2007 Guardian Award and the 2008 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year, nominated for the 2008 Carnegie Medal and the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize, and won the 2008 Branford Boase Award.show more

Back cover copy

It's really going to happen. They said it would, but this is quicker than anyone thought. When you're 16 and time is running out, there's an awful lot of living to do... Uplifting, life-affirming, joyous - this extraordinary novel celebrates what it is to be alive by confronting what it's really like to die. 'Destined to drive hundreds and thousands of readers to tears and to swift injunctions to all their friends to read it' Observer 'Downham's prose is brave and bare, her characters relentlessly realistic' Sunday Telegraph 'A work of great humanity and profound empathy' Daily Express 'Affecting and brave...For everyone, it is a reminder to value the people that matter, seize the moment, wish with courage, adventure with relish, even if it's just a trip to the swimming pool, drinking hot chocolate or driving down a dual carriageway in the rain' Guardianshow more

Review Text

"Downham has not only eschewed mawkishness, but has managed to convey real feeling. Her heroine - angry, funny and occasionally irrational - positively leaps off the page...This is a thoughtful, and sometimes painful, exploration of what it feels like to say goodbye to life before you have had a chance to live it."show more

Rating details

45,702 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 32% (14,675)
4 33% (15,161)
3 25% (11,259)
2 8% (3,466)
1 2% (1,141)

Our customer reviews

A well written book that takes you on a journey that ranges from sexy through funny and on to tragedy.I defy anybody to read this and not be moved.A sensitive subject dealt with brilliantly.show more
by Karen Roberts
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