I Know You Care // Ellie Goulding http://youtu.be/8BRdY0NR08g

So this will be a book/film review of Jenny Downham’s book ‘Before I Die.’ I thought might as well do a review of the book and film of it. I’ll start with the film:

Film Rating: ★★★★

I saw the film before reading the book and I actually preferred the film! Usually it’s the opposite. I was shedding small tears; it was so poignant, heart wrenching and sad. I really did enjoy it. I saw a short video on the film online where Dakota gave an interview talking about her British accent and I thought the storyline sounds familiar to Jenny Downham’s book Before I Die. Only to realise it’s the same story! Except I don’t know why they changed the title. 

With the film, I felt like it was very raw, tearjerker and gave me a more visual insight of the book. I thought Dakota Fanning was a great choice to play Tessa; she played her part so so well (she’s so talented!) and pulling off that British accent. Even though she does sound quite posh with a British accent. I think you could tell it’s not her natural dialect but she done it well anyway. Jeremy Irvine was great as Adam! He played the boy next door who kept the garden nice and tidy for his mum. The relationship between him and Tessa was really sweet and there were a lot of nice scenes where they spend time together such as her riding with him on his bike, the hill, when he jumps through her window and that first scene when they meet. It was quite a tearjerking moment at the part where Tessa confronts him about going to Uni. The ending was so sad and bittersweet. Tessa reminisces her life with her family, Zoey and Adam, as she slowly passes away. 

I recommend seeing the film. I didn’t enjoy the book as much as the film. I prefer this to the Fault in Our Stars – I just couldn’t get into that book but I do think it will do well as a film adaption, like My Sister’s Keeper. Films about cancer are so sad and heartbreaking. 

Book Rating: 2-3 stars 

This book is about Tessa Scott is who dying of leukaemia. She stops all treatment and knows that her time is running out and because of that she decides to compile a list of things to do before she dies. 

It’s always hard to start off a book and one straight off begins with: 

“I wish I had a boyfriend. I wish he lived in the wardrobe on a coat hanger. Whenever I wanted, I could get him out and he'd look at me the way boys do in films, as if I'm beautiful.” 

The story opens up with the number 1 thing on her list, which is sex. Tessa’s best friend Zoey helps her to achieve this. So they go to a club first and then ends up going to these two boys’ house. Despite having second thoughts on it, Tessa does have sex with this boy called Jake. Afterwards it leaves her feeling quite hollow and it wasn’t what she expected. Maybe because it was just sex, this boy didn’t mean anything to her. 

Tessa’s list becomes sillier and sillier. It went from sex to trying drugs, breaking the law, saying yes to everything for one day and fame. But one thing she wants more than anything is to find love, which is number 8 on her list. She knows that it’s impossible for her to find love because she’s not going to live very long, but she does eventually find love with her next-door neighbour, Adam. She meets him when she goes out into his garden to burn some of her things. 

 “I watch you. Though my window, when your digging and stuff.” I like how Tessa is saying this so freely, like it hasn’t occurred to her that it sounds a little stalker-ish, but anyway least she’s not embarrassed about it. 

So it turns out that Adam’s dad passed away last year, his mum has become depressed and now he becomes a carer for her and has given up University for her. I liked Adam in this book; I thought he was really sweet and caring. Not like all the other boys. He’s in love with Tessa. He knew he shouldn’t be because of her short life and he does suggest that they should be friends but finds himself falling for her. 

“It’ll hurt,” he says.
“It already hurts.” 

Here’s the strange thing, Tessa actually does describe Adam as ugly, apparently. You don’t really get the protagonist of the story saying their love interest is ugly; they usually say handsome, gorgeous, attractive or whatever. Here she expresses, “he’s uglier than I remember,” which is quite harsh. But towards the ending of the story, she does expresses that he’s beautiful. It’s good that she looks pass his looks and more into his personality. 

Tessa is quite self-centred in this book, she thought about herself a lot, which I can understand because she’s not got long to live. When Tessa starts breaking the law by stealing, she doesn’t think about what her dad’s reaction will be and how selfish it was of her to sneak out of the house without saying where she was going because her parents were genuinely worried about her. 

Tessa’s dad played a big role in this book; not so much the mother, as her parents divorced when she was born, her mum wasn’t there for her much. Her dad gave up everything for Tessa. He was so supportive and has been through everything with her. 

There’s this one scene where the doctor tells her painful truth that she won’t make it for Zoey’s baby. Afterwards she runs off to see Adam but to find out from his mum that he’s gone to a University opening day to take up his place. Tessa becomes angry and starts trashing her room. When she meets Adam on the hill, she confronts him because she’s pissed off. I don’t know why she was mad because he’s moving on with his life and he said that it was because of her that he had the courage to go to University and move on. It was selfish of her to be angry because when she leaves him, it’ll be painful; there will be a part of her that will always be in his heart. Aw :’(

I gave this book 2-3 stars and I don’t think I could rate it anymore higher than that. It’s not my favourite book but it’s not bad. Sometimes the storyline just dragged on and I did get bored at some point. The writing is very easy to read, I read this in 2 days. The ending was sad, I didn’t shed a tear for this book but I did really feel for Tessa’s parents grieving over her death and of course, Adam who stayed with her throughout this book. 

The song ‘I know you care’ written by Ellie Goulding for the film was beautiful! 

#dakotafanning #bookreview #books #preppy
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