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Winner of the Branford Boase Award 2008. This is a haunting yet truly amazing title but don't read it too young. Definitely not for someone less than 14 years old. If you knew you were going to die what would you want to do? Imagine this from a teenage perspective when you have done so little. Imagine the effects of this on your friends and family. Even with the very bleak storyline this powerful audio CD edition is incredibly life-affirming.
Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2008.
Comments from the judges of this year's Branford Boase, Best Debut Novel of
the Year Award:
Nikki Gamble: “This year a large number of books were submitted for the awards and the judges noted an increase in established adult writers producing first novels for children. These trends reflect the increased profile of children's books in the press and media as well as the commercial success. The books selected for the shortlist are marked by their distinctive voices and authentic feeling for child or teenage readers. They are accessible but explore profound themes in the context of a story well told”.
Linda Buckley-Archer: “With its aim of recognising the author of the best debut novel for children and its editor(s), The Branford Boase Award continues to highlight and promote the next generation of children’s fiction writers. The 2008 shortlist represents some fascinating new voices across a variety of genres which are sure to excite and challenge readers. The judges noted a tendency on this year’s longlist away from fantasy and towards history and social realism.”
Trish Beswick: “We were delighted to find a spread of intelligent fiction submitted, eliciting spirited discussion amid the good humour and agreements. One-size-fits-all cannot and does not belong in the world of writing for children, and the complacent and bland were quickly cast aside. My thanks to the other judges for a booky, sparky afternoon!”
Ian Dodds: "The nominations for the 2008 Branford Boase Award yet again demonstrate the full range of new writing talent for children and young people. All the writers on this year's shortlist have distinct voices and all are adept at creating stories that will grip, excite and challenge young readers. Good writing for young people is vitally important and this shortlist proves that."
Tessa has just a few months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, drugs with excruciating side-effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is sex. Released from the constraints of 'normal' life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.
“Before I Die is a truly remarkable book, and one that shows that as well as being able to pick authors of startling and undeniable talent, David Fickling has lost none of the enormous tact and skill that makes him such a fine editor. I very much look forward to seeing what Jenny Downham goes on to write next – as well, of course, as seeing what David Fickling discovers!” - Philip Pullman
'A book that will make you happy to be alive' - Heat
'Extraordinary' - Sunday Times
'Destined to drive hundreds of thousands of readers to tears and to swift injunctions to all their friends to read it' - Observer
'A work of great humanity and profound empathy' - Daily Express
'I don’t care how old you are. This book will not leave you' - New York Times
|Publication date:||3rd September 2009|
|Publisher:||Random House Children's Books|
|Suitable for:||13+ readers|
|Other Categories:||All Shortlists and Winners|
Jenny Downham was our Guest Editor in January 2010. Click here to see the books she chose. Jenny Downham was an actress for many years before concentrating on her writing full-time. She lives in London with her two sons. Her book Before I Die was critically acclaimed and was short listed for the 2007 Guardian Award and the 2008 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year, nominated for the 2008 Carnegie Medal and the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize, and won the 2008 Branford Boase Award. Get to know Jenny more by watching her 30 second interview.More About Jenny Downham