RHCB | More Sites
More Sites
Magic Tree House
Junie B. Jones
Random House
Return Home

Before I Die

By: Jenny Downham


What would be on your "Things to Do Before I Die List" if you had to write one? Sixteen-year-old Tessa realizes that her Leukemia isn't going to get any better and she needs to start making the most of the little time she has left. Sex, drugs, and fame are just a few of the things Tessa wants to experience before she dies. With the help of her best friend, her little brother, her unsure father, and the boy next door, Tessa tries to live her life to the fullest and prepare her family and herself for her upcoming death.


Prepared by Brenda Day, Library Media Specialist, Aledo Middle School, Aledo, Texas


Tessa's illness began with an unexplainable bruise when she was twelve. That was the same year her mother left home. For five years, Tessa has been in and out of hospitals, poked and prodded by doctors and received frequents visits from home healthcare nurses. Now the doctors have run out of experimental treatments for her type of Leukaemia, and Tessa is in the final stages of her illness. As her father and little brother struggle to deal with her inevitable death, Tessa makes a list of things she wants to do before she dies. She wants to have sex, say yes to everything for one day, drive a car, return to a favorite family vacation spot, and above all get her parents back together. She doesn?t accomplish everything on her list, but Adam, a neighbor, and Zoey, her best friend, offer a few surprises that Tessa never expected -- gifts that bring her life full circle.


 Prepared by Pat Scales, retired director of library services, South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities