I recently read and enjoyed the book Before I Die by Jenny Downham. This book follows a teenage girl who is battling terminal cancer. She decides to create a list with her best friend of things she wants to experience before it’s too late. Throughout the story, the main character Tessa discovers many things about herself as she falls in love and checks off each task from her list.
I enjoyed Jenny Downham’s writing style and considered it to fit young adult level because it was in between fairly easy and just right for me. It was easy for me to read for a longer period of time as opposed to other books because the book was easy to comprehend, which was a plus for me personally, due to the fact that I sometimes find myself having trouble reading for long periods of time because I struggle with either concentrating or lacking to understand what is really going on in the book. I think that the author’s writing style was relatable to teens in the way that all the thoughts and ideas were narrated by Tessa herself.
This book also has amazing characters in it. The main character Tessa really flourishes throughout the book as she discovers the importance of the little things in life. As a reader, it’s encouraging to read a book when you see the main character changing into a better person as the story progresses. Tessa’s dad also had a strong impact in the story because he was Tessa’s backbone throughout her journey. He gave up everything to be there for Tessa in her time of need, and I think that relationship brought real feelings to the book because it showed how much a parent is willing to give up to just be there for their children. Lastly, Tessa’s best friend Zoey plays a huge part in this book. She represents bravery and fearlessness, which she also teaches to Tessa throughout the story. She helped Tessa complete her list and carried her through the hard times when all Tessa wanted to do was give up.
This book brings out real emotions and makes you stop to evaluate your own life. It makes you appreciate not only your health, but also the little things in life that in the long run actually mean a lot more than we take for granted. This book is full of hope and the writing is amazing, which is why this book is one of my all-time favorites.