Day 4: Tears On My Pillow | Summer Lovin’ Read-A-Thon

Today’s Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon topic involves sharing the feels of a book that really pulled on your heartstrings. Since I imagine people will go with one of John Green’s books, I’ll go with Before I Die by Jenny Downham.

I remember reading this book a few years ago on Kindle, where I stayed up til 6 in the morning sobbing uncontrollably over this book. Sixteen year old Tessa has battled leukemia for the past four years. Instead of prolonging her treatment, she comes up with sort of a bucket list and resigns to live whats left of her life in a way she’ll remember, not sick and unable to move and hooked up on tubes.

Tessa’s list contains many of the things teens are curious about, especially those that exact a heavy price – such as sex, drugs, and criminal behavior. And why not? She doesn’t have to live with any repercussions. I’m sure there’s a load of things we’d do if we knew there would be no consequences and no chance of surviving the year. We discover Tessa’s list as she experiences them, and as she gets sicker, the list changes. Her initial desires for wild teen transgressions are replaced by simpler things, such as the company of those she loves.

Along the way, she falls in love with her neighbor, something she had initially forgo-ed, thinking it would be impossible. Tessa’s final days aren’t pretty; the last few pages of the novel are filled with the grief and panic of her family as she’s slowly rattling out her last few breaths, getting thinner, unable to move or go to the bathroom, or even talk.

“Adam strokes my head, my face, he kisses my tears.
We are blessed.
Let them all go.
The sound of a bird flying low across the garden. Then nothing. Nothing. A cloud passes. Nothing again. Light falls through the window, falls onto me, into me.
All gathering towards this one.”

There’s little revelations of an afterlife, and as she goes, Tessa dreams of surviving, of meeting her best friends baby and being with Adam. Ugh, starting to get emotional just typing this.

It’s a great novel, and has stayed with me throughout the years. There’s even a movie based on the novel called Now Is Good. I definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for some Ben & Jerrys and a cryfest.

The Summer Lovin’ Read-a-Thon is hosted by Reviewing Wonderland. Head on over to Read-a-Thon Central and sign up!

Read-a-Thon goals:

Going Under: COMPLETED

The Fetch: 10%

Reckoning: 10%


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