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Before I Die by Jenny Downham This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Tessa is a 16-year-old who has cancer, and the end is near. But she is determined not to die without leaving a bit of herself in the world. She has a to-do list, but does Tessa have enough time left?

A beautiful story about appreciating life while you can, Before I Die may initially appear boring, but as you read it, you actually start to appreciate life – even the tiniest things. Tessa does not approach her illness in the way I would, but Downham manages to suck me in, forcing me to see the situation from the perspective of an angst-ridden teenager who doesn't want to admit she's weak. Tessa wants to do everything – including trying drugs, falling in love, and saying yes to everyone and everything – which eventually lands her in the hospital, but she's still not ready to give up on life.

As Tessa draws closer to death, Downham had me scrolling furiously to read every word. I felt rage and a tumble of emotions as I read like a maniac, tears flowing down my face, but I couldn't stop reading about Tessa and what she does in her last moments. I couldn't stop reading about her desire to see her best friend's baby born. Couldn't stop reading her instructions to everyone she loves. I just cried and sniffled and read on and on to see how it ends. And when it did, I cried even harder, for this book ends in a way that will remain with you forever, as “all moments gather toward the last one.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 10 comments. Post your own!

JessicaRae7 said...
Apr. 30, 2012 at 11:30 am:
Before, I was on the fence about reading this. Now I really want to go out and buy the book. Really good!!
 
WriterGirl08 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 1, 2012 at 1:49 am :

Oh, I'm glad you have decided to read this book! It'll be wroth it for sure!

And thank you!

 
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Nani said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 8:54 am:
good yaar!!! you must be sooo pround of yourself!!!! keep writing good stuff and mail me your story!!!!
 
WriterGirl08 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 14, 2011 at 9:52 am :
Thanks nanyaa :)
 
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sunriseusnset said...
Oct. 31, 2011 at 10:11 pm:
i love Mary Downingham's work. You just made me excited to read this one too!
 
WriterGirl08 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 1, 2011 at 5:37 am :
I'm super glad! :)
 
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ShakeDang said...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 3:39 am:

Nice review

:)
Trying this book as soon as i can!

 
WriterGirl08 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 6:40 am :
Abhishek! Oh man, thanks! :)
 
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rachelwilson said...
Oct. 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm:
I am just staring out on this book and your review has got me excited! Thanks.
 
WriterGirl08 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 19, 2011 at 9:09 am :
Good thing I got you interested then! :)
 
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