Tessa is sixteen.
Tessa is dying.
But before that moment comes, she has an awful lot of living to do...
So she’s made a list of everything she wants to do before she dies. Number one is sex. Starting tonight.
If you liked John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, you should read this. This book reduced me to a sobbing heap. I had to put the book down to get a grip on myself. Even writing this now, re-reading extracts, is making me cry. Yes, really. It’s that good and that sad.
It is written in first person present tense. Normally I don’t like present tense, but the way it’s written, it just flows perfectly. There’s not a huge cast of characters, Tessa’s parents, brother and her best friend, Zoey.
Zoey and Tessa’s relationship, how they support one another, is beautiful, moving, perfect, spikey at times, but just perfectly how teenaged friendships are.
It is a very easy to read young adult story, which can easily be enjoyed by adult adults too.
Drugs are next. And after drugs, there are still seven things left to do. If I tell him, he’ll take it away. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life huddled in a blanket on the sofa with my head on Dad’s shoulders. The list is the only thing keeping me going.
She has sex, she takes drugs, she shoplifts, she drives a car, when she’s too young to have a licence. She basically grabs her life by the balls and takes it.
It has a beautiful romance too, which builds gradually, and also makes it so much sadder when you get to the end.
we made love twenty-seven times and we shared a bed for sixty-two nights and that’s a lot of love
This book doesn’t have a happily ever after. There’s a reason the author chose present tense. But don’t avoid the book for that reason, buy it, read it, then grasp your life and hold it tight to yourself making the most of now, of today, of life in all its sadness, happiness and wonderful variety.
This book reminds me of a beautifully sad ITV drama from 2005, Walk Away And I Stumble, starring Tamzin Outhwaite, Julie Graham and Mark Strong. It ends very sadly in a way that makes you happy to be alive, with this message on the screen, I typed it and stuck it above my desk, where it’s hung since 2005:
Be wild and have fun, embrace the world, the universe.
Share together this day for the hour is tremendous, the emotion overwhelming.
We love to laugh and smile with friends and family.
This moment is powerful like a promise.
Drink, play, dance, dream, hope and be happy.
Join us, take pleasure in life.
Liam Livings xx
PS: in other news, And Then That Happened is published today on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk It's my first full length gay m/m romance novel, and it might just make you cry too.