When I told my husband the premise of Jenny Downham's Before I Die — that it was about a girl with terminal leukemia who was trying to get through a list of things before she died — he commented, "That sounds depressing."
I guess to someone who's not reading the book — or to someone who doesn't know and understand the YA lit genre — it probably does sound depressing. But I found the book to be absolutely captivating.
In a way, I thought the book was also rather uplifting. Yes, the main character acted out and did crazy stuff as she was dealing with dying. But she also made a commitment to doing a bunch of things and trying to enjoy what was left of her life.
I also have to say that I think Downham perfectly and very realistically captured the inner turmoil of what a teenage girl dying of leukemia might go through.
As with many of the books I read, I heard about Before I Die on NPR. It's a good book and a quick read, though you will probably need to have a box of tissues handy at the very end.