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Publisher's Summary

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is sex. 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, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out.
©2007 Jenny Downham; (P)2007 Random House Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Group

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Story

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A dying teenager's bucket list

Our children should never die before us. This is a story about a 17 year old young lady named Tessa from a working class area in the United Kingdom who is living with a terminal diagnosis. She has decided that she wishes to live a lifetime of experiences in the short period of time that she has left. Some of these experiences are not as socially acceptable as her parents would like! However many are just the things that dreams are made of.

What I found was so poignant was the family dynamic. Although this is a fictional tale there are many families who, sadly, are experiencing these terrible truths on a daily basis.

Beautifully written as it was not at all pretentious and was written in the British vernacular plus enhanced by a very impressive performance by Charlotte Perry.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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Loved it!

This tragically beautiful story touched me in a way that few books do. Downham's incredible writing and execution made me feel as if I was a part of Tess's world; standing in the same room, experiencing the same emotions,. This story encourages you to think about the small, yet most important things in life. Additionally, Charlotte Parry's narration was brilliant, she breathed so much life in to each charcater. I practically tripped over myself racing to the end even though I was painfully aware of the outcome.

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Real characters

What did you love best about Before I Die?

I loved how Tessa was portrayed as a human being. She wasn't noble or virtuous. She wasn't selflessly helping everyone around her come to terms with her disease. She was trying to come to terms with her diagnosis. I thought this made her seem more tangible. I really believed in her, which made the inevitable ending that much harder to get through.

Who was your favorite character and why?

All the characters were realistic and very well written and Charlotte Parry did an excellent job with all the different voices.

What does Charlotte Parry bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Hearing it read made the emotional connection that much stronger. It wasn't flat and dispassionate.

Any additional comments?

By the time I made it too the end of the book I was crying hard. You will cry too, but, the book is well worth the investment of time and credit. Trust me.