Sixteen-year-old Tessa has decided to stop her treatments for leukemia so that she feels well enough to enjoy her last few months of life. She makes a list of things that she wants to do before she dies, including having sex, doing drugs, committing a crime, becoming famous, and falling in love.
The title tells you how the book ends, but the story is not predictable. Tessa's list is so unusual that you never know what she's going to do next. This book is beautifully written. I especially like the end where reality is mixed with thoughts and Tessa's instructions to her family members. I also like the unconditional love that Tessa's family and boyfriend have for her. She treats them horribly, and they never give up on her.
The author did a great job of showing the complicated emotions that surround death, but the realistic emotions also made it difficult for me to connect with Tessa. In the beginning of the book, she is so angry, and so ungrateful, and so selfish that I disliked her immediately. She does get a little better at the end of the book, but it's not enough for me to like her. I really hate her pessimistic friend, Zoey. The younger brother is inconsistent and often acts much younger than his age.
This book's greatness comes from the effect that it has on the reader. It makes you think about what you want to do with your life. It makes you grateful for your relationships. It makes you appreciate the everyday things. Most of all, it makes you happy to be alive.