Before I die by Jenny Downham

This book is sad sad sad.  As the parent of a child named Tessa I found the ending just gut wrenching, and of course from the very beginning of the book you know that this character called Tessa is going to die.  It is beautifully written and not just the character of Tessa, but her Dad, and her little brother particularly.

Tessa has a form of leukaemia she is now 16 but was first diagnosed when she was 12.  It’s been a long hard four years for Tessa, but also for her Dad who has custody of her and her little brother Cal.  Her Mum ran off a few years ago and left them all so her Dad gave up work to look after them, but particularly Tessa while she has been ill.  Tessa has a list of things she would like to do before she dies.  She enlists the help of her best friend Zoey who has all manner of issues of her own but who treats Tessa as a normal person rather than a sick person,  together they knock off some of the things on Tessa’s list.  But this book is about far more than that.  It is a story of love, friendship and hope, even when there seems to be no hope.  Read it, box of tissues beside you and in a big gulp.


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