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FLASHBACK FRIDAY (9) – BEFORE I DIE & YOU AGAINST ME by Jenny Downham
March 14th, 2014 by Liza Wiemer

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 To learn more about Flashback Friday, check out FICTION FARE!

FLASHBACK FRIDAY (9) – BEFORE I DIE

& YOU AGAINST ME

by Jenny Downham

Before I Die:1314332

Tessa has just a few 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, her new boyfriend, all are painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

BEFORE I DIE is a brilliantly-crafted novel, heartbreaking yet astonishingly life-affirming. It will take you to the very edge

My Review: 

BEFORE I DIE by Jenny Downham is a remarkable YA novel about a dying girl named Tessa. It’s raw, gritty, direct, and descriptive. At first, I found it quite difficult to like Tessa. She starts out with a lot of self-destructive behavior, almost like she was trying to push the limits because of her illness, and in turn she left a wake of pain and worry, usually aimed at her father who loves her and has cared for her. Enter a remarkable young man named Adam who works through his own troubles to be a huge support and the love of Tessa’s remaining short life. I started out feeling frustrated and by the last page I was in tears. This is one heck of a worthwhile read. It shows how living and dying has to be done on one’s own terms. A beautiful novel. I also highly recommend Jenny Downham’s second novel, YOU AGAINST ME.

 

8720917You Against Me:

If someone hurts your sister and you’re any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?

If your brother’s accused of a terrible crime but says he didn’t do it, you defend him, don’t you?

When Mikey’s sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart.

When Ellie’s brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.

This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author ofBefore I Die. It’s a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it’s a book about love.

My Review:  Posted on Goodreads in December, 2011

Oh wow! Unfortunately YOU AGAINST ME is not a crazy premise. It’s about a fifteen-year-old girl who accuses a college student of sexual assault after a night of drinking. The young man denies it. She’s poor, he’s rich. The boy’s sister (Ellie) was in the house at the time of the attack and her entire family, including her brother, expects her to defend him in court. The girl who was assaulted has a brother (Mikey) and he’ll do anything to protect his deeply hurt sister, including beating up the boy who assaulted her. It’s because of these circumstances that Ellie and Mikey’s lives intersect. What happens after is fascinating and crazy. Because how does one build any kind of honest relationship based on such horrific circumstances, let alone open one’s heart? But Jenny Downham pulls it off, and she does it magnificently!
I gobbled up this novel. It was good to see the system work. There is morality! This is a tough, tough novel with unforgettable characters. I loved it.


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