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Advance reader reviews of Before I Die

Before I Die

by Jenny Downham

Before I Die
  • Critics' Opinion:

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  • Published in USA  Sep 2007
    336 pages
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There are currently 15 member reviews
for Before I Die
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  • Glory (University Park FL)


    my thoughts
    I really liked this book. I was able to finish this book in about 5 hours and could not put it down. I felt the characters were well developed and believable. It was all I could do to keep from crying. I am not sure I would let my 14 year old read it though. I think it is more appropriate for an older teenager (16+) or adult. Would highly reccomend this book.
  • Diane (Gainesville FL)


    Death for real
    I read this in one sitting - it's just that compelling. At the same time, it was hard to reach the end of the book, since the narrator's death was so certain. It was also hard to read through all my tears! But it was a good kind of grief, the kind that calls to mind the real life experiences of losing loved ones to the slow ordeal of cancer. I found it to be exceptional in the juxtaposition of ordinary teen life with the threat of imminent death. Many teens like reading about death ala Lurlene McDaniel, and I think they will eat this more realistic portrayal up.
  • Michelle (Wilton CT)


    Before I Die
    After getting used to the somewhat disjointed thought patterns of the main character, I couldn't put this book down. It was an extremely realistic account of a young woman with a terminal disease & the author captures the myriad of emotions that the teen goes through as she slowly comes to terms with her illness. You can really feel her pain, anger, depression, and even wild joy at times & my heart truly ached for her. I think this story would appeal to all ages, it is a very realistic account of what it is like to die from a terminal disease, from both sides, the family and the patient. Grab a box of tissues!!
  • Valerie (Chico CA)


    Breaks the heart
    This book squeezes your heart and knocks the air out of you. Intense, touching, and well written, it is not for the faint of heart. For anyone dealing with death or serious in any way, this book provides insight into what it may be like for the dying person. Compassionate and holding no punches, this is an astounding book.
  • Diana (Shelbyville TN)


    A Teenage Girl, Her Lover, Her Brother, and Death
    Before I Die, the interior monologue of a 16 year-old girl dying of leukemia is haunting, compelling, and at places downright beautiful. Written with an adolescent market in mind, some plot features may be a little starry eyed for the adult reader, but overall the book is a worthwhile read--impossible to put down once begun or to finish without a tear. The younger brother, age not given but apparently in the 9-11 range, is almost perfect, with his love and fear for his sister warring with his own needs for attention.
  • Jayne (Canton MA)


    very good book
    I read the book in a couple of days and really enjoyed the writing. The story was haunting and made me think. I will recommend this book to a teenager who is interested in something more than the normal teenage books out there.
  • Beverly (Palm Harbor FL)


    Good First Effort
    Before I Die is a good first effort. I felt that the first half of the book needed tighter editing; if you can get there, the second half flowed a lot better with more "action". The adult characters were not as developed as the teens were, guess that's why it's a teen/young adult novel. Because we are given Tessa's feelings about death and dying, the theme is reminiscent of The Lovely Bones.
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