Friday, March 07, 2008

Before I Die, by Jenny Downham

Tessa is dying of leukemia. This isn't news to her. She's been fighting the battle for over four years, but now her options are running out. And for the last few months of her life, Tessa has made a list of the things she wants to do before she goes (have sex, do drugs, commit a crime, become famous, etc.). But completing the items on her list proves to not really be the point after all, because dying turns out to be almost as difficult as living.

An unusual YA novel that addresses mortality (and it will spoil nothing to say that she does die at the end, because the point of the book is to explain dying, not living). It won't cheer you up and I recommend a good comedy or two afterwards (I'll have to see what I can find!), but it's a decent book. The dust jacket calls it "uplifting" and "joyous" but I would not go that far. There is hardly anything in this to be happy about, but again that's not the point.

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