Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Posted: April 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list.  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, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

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Comments
  1. Molly Thomas says:

    I chose this book out of all the Abe award books to read was because it was recommended to me by a friend. I was going to read “If I Stay” but some students told me it was not that interesting and a waste of time so I chose this book. One of my best friends read the book and she said she really liked it so I decided to take her word for it and start reading it. When I read the back of the book it actually didn’t seem that interested but I really actually started to enjoy the book.

  2. Molly Thomas says:

    While you are reading the book: Do you relate to the characters in your book? Why or why not?

    I don’t relate to the character in the book because she is about to die and has a list of things that shit wants to get done before she dies. Everyone says live like your dying, but most people don’t know when they are going to die, especially that young. The only way I would relate to her is because we are both teen girls in highschool. But everything else between us is different, like the people we associate ourselves with and our family situations. There just isn’t many similarities between me and Tessa in the book, so far atleast.

  3. Mike Daly says:

    While you are reading the book: Do you relate to the charachters in your book? Why or why not?

    I do have a bucket list but I do not have a terminal illness. But i was very close to a person who did have a terminal illness, and there was so many more things he wanted to do in his short life before he died. Although he did not want to go out with a bang, he wanted to just live like the other kids around him and play the playground, not do drugs, have sex, and destroy his body even more. But they are similar in the way that they disliked theyre illnesses, and they wanted to do so much more, with the little time they had

  4. Nicole Moore says:

    I chose this book because I thought that it would be cool to see what getting terminal cancer could feel like and how a person would react. I thought that if I got cancer I would never be able to move on and I wanted to see how Tessa (the main character) fought to stay positive. Another thing that also made me want to read the read the book was that in the summary it said that she made a list of ten things, I thought how is it possible to narrow a list of things before you die to just ten. I would have put hundreds. This is why I chose the book Before I Die.

    After reading this book I thought it was amazing it was really inspiring to me. It made me realize that any moment something can happen taking me away from the people I love and that I should live life to the fullest while I can. My favorite part of the Book was probably the last two sentences “Moments. All gathering toward this one.” (327). These two sentences really make you think of all the small things like waking up, saying goodbye to your parents, or playing with your dog. This made me realize that it is the small things that matter in life because any they are the things you will miss the most. I am sure this book is worthy of being on this year’s Abe list. It not only makes you think but it makes you laugh and cry. It is a story of of friendship, love, struggles, and determination. This is why it is worthy of being on this year’s Abe list.

    • Nicole Moore Mrs. billie period 6/8 says:

      I chose this book because I thought that it would be cool to see what getting terminal cancer could feel like and how a person would react. I thought that if I got cancer I would never be able to move on and I wanted to see how Tessa (the main character) fought to stay positive. Another thing that also made me want to read the read the book was that in the summary it said that she made a list of ten things, I thought how is it possible to narrow a list of things before you die to just ten. I would have put hundreds. This is why I chose the book Before I Die.

      After reading this book I thought it was amazing it was really inspiring to me. It made me realize that any moment something can happen taking me away from the people I love and that I should live life to the fullest while I can. My favorite part of the Book was probably the last two sentences “Moments. All gathering toward this one.” (327). These two sentences really make you think of all the small things like waking up, saying goodbye to your parents, or playing with your dog. This made me realize that it is the small things that matter in life because any they are the things you will miss the most. I am sure this book is worthy of being on this year’s Abe list. It not only makes you think but it makes you laugh and cry. It is a story of of friendship, love, struggles, and determination. This is why it is worthy of being on this year’s Abe list.
      Nikki Moore Mrs. Billie English 1 Period 6/8

  5. Danielle Ramos says:

    I chose this book because I have always wanted to read a book with a similar plot line as this one. These types of books where a bucketlist is important to a character in the story line spark my interest. I often wonder how people react in the situations of knowing you only have months to live. Another reason I chose this book was because it was recomended to me by one of my friends. She told me it was a really good book and thought I would like it.

    After finishing this book, I really liked it. At first, I didn’t like the book because the beginning is pretty weak and dull. I thought I would have a tough time getting through this book as a result of that, but after getting about a third of the way into the book, the story line started to pick up. This book is definitely a page-turner, and I didn’t want to stop reading.

    Danielle Ramos
    English I, Mrs. Billie’s class period 6/8

  6. Ramune Zentikaite says:

    I chose this book for the Abe List because it seemed like a great book to me. It’s about a girl who has limited time to live due to leukemia. Because of this, she has decided to make a list of things she wants to do before she passes away. Although I can’t really relate to it, “Before I Die” sends a strong message. It is to value everyday you live. This book is definitely worthy of being on the Abe List because it’s very emotional and moving.

  7. Laura Culler says:

    1) Before you read the book: Why did you choose this particular book from the Abe list?
    I’ve aways wanted to make a bucket list of my own and when i saw that the main character in this book had cancer and was going to try and fulfill a list she made before she died i couldn’t wait to read it.
    2) While you are reading the book: Do you relate to the characters in your book? Why or why not?
    I couldn’t relate to all the characters but i could relate to Tessas dad because though i have only known one or two people with cancer i know exactly what it felt like to be scared for the person and to want to help the person as much as you can.
    3) Once you have finished the book, share your opinion: Do you think it was worthy of being on this year’s Abe list? Tell us why.
    I think this book is a good book to be on the Abe list because Tessa was right around our age and she was struggling through very hard times with people who loved her and wanted to help her. I feel like a lot of teens can relate to that even if they are suffering from cancer they still may be going through really hard times with friends and family supporting them. it’s great to see the relationships forming in it and how the pan out in the end.
    4) Tell us why you did or did not like the book. It’s OK to say you don’t like a book, but please use appropriate language.
    I liked the book a lot because i loved how she took being sick. I also love how the book was written and it was fun going through all of Tessa’s appointments and living through her illness with her. The only thing i didn’t like was how mean her friend was to her through out the book. Even if Tessa didn’t care it kind of annoyed me how she treated her.

  8. Olivia Leone says:

    1) I choose this book because I thought it was cool to have a sort of bucket list before you die.

    2) I relate the most to Tessa’s dad. I am very concerned about friends and family when something goes wrong. There isn’t a problem I can’t solve! Like Tessa’s Dad I would try and look for other cures and remedies if I knew someone was dying. It would be hard for me to cope and even harder to let go.

    3) Yes! I loved every moment of reading this book, I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one night and slept in the following. it was totally worth a Saturday night.

    4) There was nothing for me to really dislike about this book. I enjoyed it so much. I guess at times Zoey’s character annoyed me, but that was her job so it was successful.

  9. Molly Thomass says:

    3) Once you have finished the book, share your opinion: Do you think it was worthy of being on this year’s Abe list? Tell us why.

    I think this book was worth being on the Abe awards book list because it helped me know that other teens are going through mst of the same issues you are. Tesaa was a teen just around our age facing even harder struggles than we have, plust she had to go through the struggles we face too. This book helped me learn that we should be thankful for what we have. Love life and what you have and dont keep asking and wanting more.

    4) Tell us why you did or did not like the book. It’s OK to say you don’t like a book, but please use appropriate language.

    I liked the book a lot because it taught me to appreiciate things a lot mor and gave me a better view on things. It taught me to look at everyone else as more than me and care for others and not just yourself. Us living in Hinsdale and such a nice community with many resources is very lucky and we should all be very thankful and not greedy.

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