Friday, August 31, 2012

REVIEW: Now Is Good by Jenny Downham

Title: Now Is Good (originally Before I Die) by Jenny Downham
Pages: 336
Publisher: David Fickling Books (Imprint of Random House UK)
Publication Date: 30th August, 2012
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher (for review)

Tessa has just a few months to live.

Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests and drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her Before I Die list. And number one is sex. Starting tonight.

Released from the constraints of 'normal' life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Her feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and the powerful, bittersweet first love she finds with the boy next door - all are painfully yet beautifully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time finally runs out.

 --Goodreads summary

NOW IS GOOD aka BEFORE I DIE is one of the books I read before book blogging. I was twelve. I used to go to the library every week and take things out and I remember seeing this a few months after it came out and thinking "Hm, interesting" because it was about somebody who was four years older than me and I was mature for my age and *really* bored of reading about other twelve-year-olds. FYI, I'm still not Tessa's age.

I loved (and still love) the idea of having a list of things you want to do before you die. But at twelve, I couldn't understand what Tessa had to do all of these things now. How could she be dying? She wasn't *that* much older than me. It just wasn't fair. Looking at the things she wanted to do before she died made me laugh. Obviously, at the age I was when I first read it I couldn't really identify with any of those things (e.g. having sex, doing drugs) , now they're more familiar.

I admit Tessa was hard to like. She came across selfish at times, and I didn't think she acted like somebody with a terminal illness, but who am I to judge? Not everybody's going to act the same. I went on to admire Tessa for having these goals and knowing what she wanted to do, when she could've just fallen apart over and over again. Watching her interact with her family (especially younger Brother Cal) and fall in love and all the other things blew me away

Adam was just adorable and awesome. There's a part where Tessa first sees him and decides he's ugly. That made me giggle, especially seeing the way their relationship goes. I think if you want to be a lovely guy in YA you have to be called Adam. Like, Adam Wilde (IF I STAY & WHERE SHE WENT) who is my favourite fictional person like, ever and Adam Kent (SHATTER ME). Not even joking.

Reading it again, (the FILM tie-in edition, no less) makes me feel all warm inside. It's still one of my favourite books ever. Jenny Downham's writing is beautiful and made every emotion in the story come alive from the pages. Describing NOW IS GOOD as heartbreaking would be an understatement.

Dunno what else to say really. This review doesn't and will never do the book justice so I'll just stop while I'm ahead. Thank you to Random House for sending me a copy of the new edition to review for them. I'm really, really looking forward to seeing the film. OMG Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine FTW. You can see TV Spots and stills from the film here.

p.s. you will probably cry

“Cal says that humans are made from the nuclear ash of dead stars. He says that when I die, I'll return to dust, glitter,rain. If thats true, I want to be buried right here under this tree. Its roots will reach into the soft mess of my body and suck me dry. I'll be re-formed as apple blossom. I'll drift down in the spring like confetti and cling to my family's shoes. They'll carry me in their pockets to help them sleep. What dreams will they have then?”



  1. That GIF couldn't be more appropriate for this book. LOVE. I read it pre-book blogging as well, but I don't think I could take a re-read to review it!

  2. I must read this! It's been on my wishlist for a while (and it took me ages to realise Now Is Good was the same book/film).

  3. OH MY GUUUURSH. I'm like flailing right now. I want to read this book NOW. I've been wanting to read it for a while now, but now that I see it's being made into a movie, and that I could cry (I NEVER CRY), I really want to. Cancer stories are fun to read (I'm not being mean here). So I can't wait! Lovely review. :)


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