Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Before I Die by Jenny Downham (CBR-V #52)

Cannonball Read V: Book #52/52
Published: 2007
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult
 Tessa is dying from leukemia and decides to make a list of things she wants to do before she dies. She enlists of one of her friends to help her and eventually brings her neighbor into the fold as she grows closer to him. Some of the things on her list are what you'd expect from a teenager - sex, fall in love, etc. But most of the things on the list were kind of weird, such as shoplifting. Who wants to shoplift before they die? 

I had a hard time with this book. Some parts of it were very good - such as her family dealing with her illness and now her rebellion just before she dies (she stays out all night, jumps into a freezing river, joyrides without a license in her dad's car - just to name a few). The ending was also beautifully written. Even though you know what's going to happen, it doesn't make it any less emotional. 

However, I didn't care for Tessa that much. I completely understand her being angry and all of the different emotions she was going through while she was processing what was going on with her, but something about the character just made her hard to grasp. In fact, all of the characters could have stood to be fleshed out a little more - they were good, but not great. I think it's just more noticeable when it's the main character.

I also was getting a little tired of the romance crap by the end. A good chunk of the book ends up being mushy love sentiments between Tessa and her new "love of her life". Plus, all I'm thinking about is how the heck does she have the energy to have that much sex if she can barely get out of bed towards the end?? I figured he was going to kill her mid-coitus. I mean, that's great that she got to fall in love before her eventual death, but once he came into the picture the rest of the story pretty much took the back-burner.

Overall, this is a pretty solid 2.5 star book. Not terrible, but not that great either.

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