Monday, October 22, 2012

Review by Kulsuma: Now Is Good by Jenny Downham

Review by Kulsuma from sunshine and stardust

Now Is Good by Jenny Downham is a remarkably emotional story. The story is told from the point of view of Tessa, a sixteen year old girl that has leukaemia. She has been battling with it for the last three years and by the time the novel starts, she knows that her time is running out. Tessa embarks on completing items on her list-ranging having sex to riding on a motorcycle-before she dies. With help from her problematic friend Zoey, her surprising neighbour Adam and her family, Tessa slowly ticks off her wishes and more importantly, learns who she is and what life really means.

I really enjoyed reading Now Is Good. Whilst its major theme is death, it is an uplifting book. It’s a book which makes you appreciate life and realise that we take our lives for granted too often. In essence, Tessa fulfils as many of her dreams as she can in the short time available to her. Narrated in first person, I felt emotionally attached to Tessa and there were a few moments in the book where I cried.

What I loved the most was the brilliant writing. Now Is Good is written in an almost poetic style. Throughout the book, Tessa focuses on the simple, small, everyday things that she will miss; from flowers to Easter eggs. Tessa isn’t perfect and I wouldn’t have wanted her to be. Tessa is real. She is just like any other teenager. However, she is dying so she has more of a reason to lash out and be angry. There was such a complex mix of emotions in Now Is Good.

Furthermore, the relationships in the story were what kept me reading. I wanted to know whether Tessa’s friend Zoey would continue to be there for her. Much like all the other characters in the novel, Zoey has her own issues. Tessa isn’t sure she should pursue a relationship with Adam, not when time is against her. And lastly, can she make her mother take more of an interest in her hospital appointments and so on?

Overall, I really enjoyed Now is Good by Jenny Downham. I felt sympathetic towards Tessa and was interested in whether she would be able to complete everything on her list. I can’t wait to watch the movie adaptation of Now Is Good. I look forward to reading more from Jenny Downham.

I sobbed like a baby reading this book! Thanks for the review, Kulsuma!


  1. This book destroyed me - there were tears everywhere! Glad you enjoyed it and the movie is brilliant.

  2. I read this under the title Before I Die - twice! I didn't know it was being made into a film but definitely want to see that! Great review :)

  3. I keep getting tempted to read this and then remember how much it's going to make me sob and put it off. It sounds so very good though, think I'm going to have to steel myself and get reading!

  4. I have had the Before I Die version sitting on my shelf for ages - I know it's going to be a great read but I think I need to be in the right frame of mind. I need to gear myself up for some full-on sobbing!


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