Sixteen-year-old Tessa has been diagnosed with cancer and it's terminal - she IS going to die. Tessa decides to make a list of all the things that she wants to experience and do before her final day comes and first on her list is...sex!
As the story proceeds, Tessa continues to work off her list one by one interspersed with visits to doctor's offices, hospital stays for transfusions and other medical procedures. Keeping true to her list is her main priority.
Her younger brother Cal can be a pain in the rear end, but deep down he loves his sister, and Zoey, Tessa's zany friend is a weird one for sure. Unfortunately, her parents are divorced but Tessa lives with her Dad who attends all her appointments with her and holds her hand during yet another lumbar puncture, a very painful procedure. Her mother is somewhat distant and Tessa doesn't ever remember her mother telling her that she loves her.
In the mix she finds a love truer than she ever thought possible but at the same times realizes that it's not always easy getting what you want and that what you want isn't always what you need.
By the end of the book I was literally bawling my eyes out. Her death was written beautifully but I was so emotionally involved in the story that I felt I was standing by the side of all the family members as she took her last breath.
The book was uplifting and not written at all in a sad, cold, detached way that many novels about death are written, but it was rather life-affirming and happy if that's possible to believe. As with any death, it is painful, but that of a child or a teenager is even more so.
February 4, 2011