Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go

by Marieke Nijkamp

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A New York Times Bestseller!

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller This Is Where It Ends comes an emotionally-driven thriller about a suspicious death, a friend desperate for answers, and their small town's sinister secrets.

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their tiny snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. But as Kyra starts to struggle with her mental health, Corey's family moves away. Worried about what might happen in her absence, Corey makes Kyra promise that she'll stay strong during the long, dark winter.

Then, just days before Corey is to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated—and confused, because Kyra said she wouldn't hurt herself. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones, saying Kyra's death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she's a stranger.

The further Corey investigates—and the more questions she asks—the greater her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets—chilling secrets. Can she piece together the truth about Kyra's death and survive her visit

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492642299
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 162,851
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 14 - 17 Years

About the Author

MARIEKE NIJKAMP is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Is Where it Ends and Before I Let Go. She is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, has served as an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, and is the founder of DiversifYA. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at

Customer Reviews

Before I Let Go 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before I Let Go is a book about two friends that live in a small town in Alaska called Lost Creek. Marieke Nijkamp is the author of Before I Let Go and wrote this book for suicide awareness. Before I Let Go is a book full of drama and mystery. In Before I Let Go, two best friends, Kyra and Corey were and inseparable pair, but when Corey moves away, Kyra who struggles with depression and bipolar disorder, tries to stay strong during this time of her best friend being gone. Days before Coreys return, Kyra dies. Corey is heartbroken and confused and knows something is wrong. When she gets to Lost Creek the townspeople are secretive and quiet, and say that Kyra's death was meant to be. While Corey is there, she is considered an outsider even though she lived in Lost Creek her whole life. Kyras family told Corey that Kyra was happy leading up to her death, Corey knows that isn't right. Beforehand, Kyra was treated like a monster, but now her mother says that Lost accepted her when Corey left. In the five days that Corey is in Lost Creek, she figures out what happened to Kyra, why she did what she did, and who led her to it. I really enjoyed reading this book because it is very interesting and full of mystery. This book addresses the suicide issue very well and may show support to anyone struggling with any mental illnesses. Before I Let Go keeps you on the edge of your seat because you don't know what is coming, I do think that some of the details were dragged on for too long and it eventually got boring in some parts of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys drama and sad books. This book is more appropriate and better for a teenager and above. Before I Let Go is a creepy story that is interesting and fun to read.
PinkMooseReads More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to reading Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp when I originally downloaded it from Netgalley, then life got in the way, and I just had the chance to get things finished. The is first book by Marieke Nijkamp that I’ve read, and I really enjoy her writing style. To get into the meat and potatoes part, because I know what you really want to know about, is the book. I had a difficult time liking Corey, but really enjoyed the flashback parts of the story. Corey, after moving away, seems to have forgotten Kyra until Kyra is no longer there. Multiple times throughout the story she acknowledges stacks of unopened letters, but is mad at the town of Lost Creek for not helping Kyra when she needed it. The book didn’t really clear up any of the problems throughout. Some one set fire to the guesthouse with Corey inside, but other than referring to her chest and throat hurting from smoke, nothing else is said about it. I feel like the story could have been better balanced, and actually closed up some storylines. While we knew from the beginning it would only be so many days, nothing was really resolved, which left me wishing for a bit more closure to a stand alone novel. Read all of of my reviews at
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
I felt for Kyra as I read this novel. Kyra was shunned from her community because she was different. When she was finally diagnosed, the community still rejected her. Kyra just wanted to find someone that she could call a friend. One day, she found Corey and they were the best of friends until Corey moved away from Lost Creek. Corey said that she would come back and visit and Kyra tried to hold onto that dream but the walls kept closing in on her. Pushing her and pushing her until Kyra couldn’t take it anymore. Corey didn’t believe the news when her mother received the call. Kyra had drowned. Corey couldn’t make sense of this news; how could Kyra drown in the frozen lakes in Alaska? All the lakes were frozen this time of year. Immediately, Corey catches a plane to Lost Creek, her emotions were stretched. Corey notices that her hometown looks a bit different than when she left and she’s surprised when they tell her why. Corey knows that Kyra was depressed and lonely but she doesn’t feel that she’d kill herself. Corey wants to know more about Kyra’s last days and she plans to talk to people and see what they know about them. Corey is treated like an outsider by the individuals she grew up with, a reaction she doesn’t take lightly. Curious about the town and meeting up with an old friend, Corey begins to see how things have changed since she left. Using flashbacks, we see Lost Creek many years ago and all the changes that have occurred over time. There have been drastic changes since Corey left, changes that have affected Kyra. Kyra held-on to the notion that Corey would return. Kyra had written countless letters to Corey, some that Corey had received and now, it seems some that Corey never received. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Corey’s shoes during this novel as it felt to me to be a heavy burden to carry. There was this mysterious element as Corey investigates Kyra’s death. The novel had plenty of emotions threaded through it, as Kyra was on a rollercoaster as people accepted her and then cast her off. The ending was different. I guess in the long run it worked out and everyone was content. 3.5 stars I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.
WordPassion More than 1 year ago
Kyra and Corey have been best friends forever. But Kyra is different in their tiny little town of Lost, Alaska. She's shunned her entire life for those differences by most people, her days and nights on end without sleeping, her wanderings that have her parents and others searching for her for days, her deep depressions. Kyra is bipolar. And not even her closest friend fully understands what she is going through. Medications don't work, therapy doesn't work. Corey's family moves to Canada and a promise is made that she will return to Kyra as soon as possible. But her new school and life keep her from writing back to her friend and before years end she receives a call telling her that Kyra has fallen through the ice and drowned. Corey, heartbroken, returns for her memorial service to find Kyra's paintings throughout the town, paintings that appear to foretell what is to come there, even her own death. And the town that shunned her now revering her and pushing Corey away as an outsider. Corey knows that something is terribly wrong here.....and that the Kyra they are describing is not the Kyra that was. As she seeks the truth, even Kyra's parents turn against her and its clear that her own life is at risk as she awaits the day of her departure.  Kyra's fantastic and painful experiences and thoughts as a young woman struggling with bipolar disorder are both beautifully written and heartbreakingly felt. Highly recommend!
BTPlante More than 1 year ago
To start, let me say that I LOVED Marieke Nijkamp's YA debut This Is Where It Ends and could not wait to read this book. I began reading with very high expectations and to be honest, I was underwhelmed - at least in the beginning. The story takes place in Lost, Alaska. Corey and Kyra are teen girls - best friends - who find themselves being separated when Corey is forced to move when her mother takes a job in Winnipeg. This is more troubling for Kyra, who has bipolar disorder. Corey, it seems, is the only one who loves Kyra in spite of her illness. The town dislikes her and treats her accordingly. The book tells the story of the girls in snippets of time both present and past. When Corey comes back to visit seven months after her move, she finds a town that is completely different than the one she left. In this case, different does not equal good. The beginning of the book seemed monotonous to me. However, about one third of the way in, I became engaged. I was fully invested by the halfway point, and by the end, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough as I raced to the conclusion. Nijkamp did NOT disappoint with this book. By turns, it is a story of love, friendship, support, abandonment and loss. Don't let the YA label put you off - there is something for everyone in these pages. Definitely worth the read! Thanks to NetGalley & Sourcebooks Fire for the chance to read and ARC of this book.
DStone83 More than 1 year ago
Corey returns to her home town, Lost, Alaska to grieve her best friend's sudden death. Ruled a suicide, Corey works hard to uncover the last months of her friend's life. She knows that something is not right about the story the townspeople are telling, but I don't think she suspected what the truth really was. This book kept me on edge until the end! I received an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
MusicInPrint More than 1 year ago
Chapters narrated in before and after the finding of the body of Kyra. Young women's friend Corey arrives in Lost Creek Alaska to find that even though she used to live there she is now treated like an outcast. How did Kyra die? Was it suicide or did the town have something to do with it? Characters were not given any heart and the plot was poorly presented. Took a long time to read because of these two issues. "A copy of this book was provided by Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. Comments here are my honest opinion."
Student Ashlyn Burns More than 1 year ago
Book Review: Before I let go In the book Before I let go, written by Marieke Nijkamp it's about a boy named, Corey, who's best friend dies while he is gone on a trip. This book is young adult fiction. In this book it is about to young teens who are best friends. They live in a small town called Lost and it's always very quite and mysterious there. They don't except new comers very well and they all are kinda self centered. When Corey goes off on a trip the girl Kyra gets very depressed because he was her only friend and now he's gone for a while. Kyra was always sure to right and call Corey regularly and in her free time she painted pictures of her and Corey and other beautiful things. Then Corey gets a call that Kyra died so he rushed back to town to see what happened. When he gets there he finds out she drowned in a lake that they used to always walk over. Corey becomes very suspicious because he knows the lake was always fully covered with a thick layer of ice. So in the book hes trying to figure out why she either commited suicide or if he got murdered. Except when going on with this book it just gets mkore creepy, and Corey is blaming Kyra’s death on the toen but Kyra also had a mental illness, so it could have just been her. Personally I love mystery books and I love trying to figure who did it, but this book also got creepy at some points. If you like creepy books this book is for you, but if not I wouldn’t read this book.I thought this book was. If you like creepy books this is a great choice, it is a bit long but once it gets interesting you can’t stop reading. This book is definitely not for everyone but that is the same with every book because there all different.
SabrinaS4 More than 1 year ago
Marieke Nijkamp’s book, Before I let go, is definitely not my favorite of hers. I read This is Where it Ends off of a suggestion from a friend and it became my new favorite book. I went on to read a book that she co-authored, Feral Youth and thought that was also incredible. When I read the book synopsis in 2017, I was excited about the release date of this new book but when I started reading it, I was a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was amazing and I loved the description that the author put into it. When I first began reading, I had so many questions about the characters and what was going to happen—I was excited. But as I continued reading, I was losing interest. This book deals with some serious subject manner: bullying, sexuality, bipolar disorder, and manic depression. These topics made the book more connectable for me as a reader because, like Corey, I know someone who is manic depressive. In this book, Kyra, Corey’s best friend, was always treated poorly and bullied for being different. It had been about seven months since Corey moved and one day she received a phone call where she found out Kyra had killed herself. When she returned to her hometown of Lost Creek, Alaska, she could barely recognize it. Everyone was praising Kyra and talking about how amazing she was, but the qualities that they loved her for only existed in her manic personality. When a person is a manic depressive they have ups and downs, manic is the up—that person becomes creative and excited. What everyone had bullied Kyra for before was now what they were praising her for. My Aunt, like Kyra, is manic depressive. When she is manic, she too is very creative. Because of this, I can see the similarities in the characteristics of Kyra and of my Aunt which helped me relate to the character. Without this connection though, I feel like I would have struggled with getting through the book. Overall, I went into this book thinking it would be a mystery to be solved but found it was much different. The style that the author wrote it was not the same from any story I had read previously. While continuing the present day timeline of Corey in Lost Creek, the book also went back and forth to different times within the previous few years where Corey and Kyra were together. I don’t think this was a bad book I just think that it was very different than what I am used to which took me for a spin. This book is for anyone who wants a change of pace from today’s modern, high-speed world.
RamblingReader1 More than 1 year ago
I've been thinking about how I would describe Before I Let Go since the first few chapters. Marieke Nijkamp created a story that was MUCH different than what I had been expecting. Based on the description, and its categorization as YA Lit, I was expecting a straightforward mystery. Two girls, Corey and Kyra, have grown up in Lost, Alaska. In a community of around 200 people, there aren't many secrets kept nor differences unnoticed. While Corey fits into the community, Kyra has always been the black sheep- particularly after her diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. The town doesn't understand how to accept Kyra's unpredictable moods or mania-induced flights into the woods. Throughout their lives, Corey has been Kyra's only support, and even she struggles to be what her closest friend needs. After Corey moves away, and Kyra has been deserted in Lost for months, she discovers that Kyra has committed suicide...and she seems to be the only one who's upset about it. What unfolds next is where my expectations went out the window. Corey's return to Lost opens her up to secrets that she never knew existed, and she is forced to ask some ugly questions (and get even uglier answers) in her search for truth. In the interest of being honest, I'm still not really sure whether I actually LIKED the novel. However, it's undeniable that it brings up some truly important themes for both adult and young adult readers to think about. Before I Let Go isn't just a mystery about young girl's tragic death; it has some beautiful moments that make the reader think about the nature of mental illness and how society accepts or shuns those with a disorder. Even within the confines of Corey and Kyra's relationship, Kyra continues to fight the battle of being more than a diagnosis. I think that Nijkamp makes a poignant statement when Kyra makes the point that she wants to be loved not because of, or in spite of, her diagnosis. Kyra wants a life where she is loved and accepted for all the good, bad, and terrible that is her life and battle with bipolar disorder. Nijkamp's novel also tackles what it means to be an outsider whether you were born one or became one. I think this is a very important conversation to have, and, as a teacher, I really see the value of students being exposed to literature that will make them question their own acceptance and perception of those who are different. Before I Let Go begs the question of whether we respect, accept, and love those who don't fit society's mold or if they're simply drained for our benefit and abandoned. While the novel tries to end on an almost hopeful note, it's not a "feel good" novel. It's thought-provoking and meaningful, so be prepared for what you'll find inside.
MorrisMorgan More than 1 year ago
All three stars that I have given “Before I Let Go” are because of the beautiful writing. That being said, I didn’t like this book at all. The story sounds good in the blurb but fell flat all the way around for me. It did not help that I didn’t like any of the characters, so I wasn’t even invested in finding out what happened to them. It was a chore to read. “One of us. One of us. One of us,” ran through my mind the entire time. I know that Marieke Nijkamp is capable of much better storytelling and still look forward to her next book. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovely and compelling and strange and sad.
Archaeolibrarian More than 1 year ago
Before I Let Go is the second book by Marieke Nijkamp I have read, albeit a very different story to the first. In this one, we travel with Corey back to her home village, where she had lived until a few months ago. We find out about her best friend, the one who never quite fitted in, Kyra. Now it is Corey who doesn't fit in, and she works hard to find out what happened to Kyra, who seems to have turned into the town's Oracle. This is a great story, with an original storyline, and intrigue enough to delight anyone. It is also very sad, as we learn about Kyra, and what happened to her. Corey has to deal with a lot, the least of which knowing that she let her best friend down when she needed her the most. The town is not one that I would want to be visiting! Well written, with no editing or grammatical errors that I noticed, I was nonetheless confused by the script that appeared in the middle for no apparent reason. I couldn't see any reason for needing it like that, unless it was to just discombobulate the reader even more - in which case, it worked. If you are looking for a mystery, with a hint of the supernatural, then I can definitely recommend this book. * A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. * Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
KaileyReadsYA More than 1 year ago
It sucked me in from start to finish. There was just enough surrealism sprinkled throughout to keep me on uneven footing through the entire novel. The story of Kyra and Corey and Lost is going to haunt me in the best way after reading it.
Lisa_Loves_Literature More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, unlike with the first book by this author, This is Where it Ends, I wasn't blown away by this one. While there were definitely some important topics in it, mental health, bullying, a gay teen couple, an asexual teen, not sure about how well it really touched on those. I felt like this one hovered too much on trying to have a supernatural aspect, but in the end, it just wasn't enough for me. It just wavered too much between that and the mental health/other issues. It didn't really spend enough time to make it a great book for any of the things it could have been. At times I was a little unsure about who a certain person was, or how they had related earlier in the story. I guess I was just left wanting more. There were some parts that definitely were scary or creepy. And there were some emotional parts that made me cry a bit. But it just didn't all fit together well for me. I will continue to look for future books by this author, but I will hope for one more like the first book.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
I read the last book from Marieke Nijkamp and really liked it, I had high hopes for this one, but unfortunately it does not measure up. I liked the short chapters and the underlying story about mental health but parts of it were a bit strange. When the town grabs onto this teen and uses her manic episodes to heal themselves and the town, it was difficult to understand. How parents went along with this was a huge mystery to me. As far as a YA book goes, teens might enjoy it very much and the message of accepting those with mental illness is very timely. The character of Corey was well written and it was easy to feel her emotions but most of the other characters were shallow and hard to understand their motives and actions. I do not want to give away the story so will leave it at that. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you’re looking for a book with a mysterious plot that will have you thinking, “oh my god what will happen next?”, “did they kill her?!”, etc. Then you will find what you’re looking for in the new novel from Marieke Nijkamp entitled Before I Let Go (2018). Nijkamp was a Teen Choice Awards finalist. Nijkamp manages to give this mystery book a very heart-warming and heart-breaking scenario in her 348 page debut effort. Before I Let Go is a story about two girls who are best friends, Corey and Kyra. Corey goes to a boarding school in Canada. One day she receives a phone call that Kyra her beloved best friend, had committed suicide. Corey does not believe that her best friend would do such a thing like that. Now it’s up to Corey to figure out why Kyra committed suicide. I really like how Nijkamp put sections in the book to help understand what’s going on through Corey’s mind but, at the same time I didn’t like it, because there was times where I would get confused, because I couldn’t keep up. In my personal opinion I did like that she included different sexualities in the characters. Nijkamp is very good at getting you hooked in the first couple of pages which is very good but, going more into the book you will find that she does start to lose her touch in some parts where they are boring and didn’t catch my attention at all. I will say is that Nijkamp has no boundaries when it comes to writing, which I love. If you are looking for a novel that redefines the mystery genre, you won’t find it in Before I Let Go. Now if you are looking for a mysterious with just a hint of every genre, Nijkamp’s book is for you! I give this book a 3,5 out of 5.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now do you like books that leave you with something to to think about, a mystery with a twist of the supernatural? Well, i recommend Before I let go by Marieke Nikamp (2018). It’s a story about Corey and her best friend bipolar and suffers many manic episodes. Corey has always been there for her until one day, Corey had to move away from Lost Creek. Months had passed and so does Kyra; she commits suicide by drowning in White Wolf Lake. Corey comes back for the funeral and to comfort the Hendersons but the town is acting different and treating Corey like an “outsider”. The town didn’t like Kyra, they were scared of her and disrespected her but now thats shes gone they act like they cared. In that which got Corey to go into investigation mode and finds out finds out so many things. She also runs into trouble with Kyras ability to predict the future with her paintings. I truly enjoyed the book and it left me with a lot of questions like did Corey tell anyone what happened to kyra? Or why did the town care all of sudden? I also really liked how the author included different characters like Sam and Roshan since she addressed them as a gay couple. She addressed different sexualites and pansexual in which honestly i didn’t know what that was till it was brought up in the book. I just wish she could’ve added more information about Corey’s life or the troubles that happened after she left Lost Creek. Besides that i really did enjoy reading because just reading the first 10 pages really gets you into it.
Nathaniel Prescott More than 1 year ago
Marieke Nijkamp’s book Before I Let Go is a good story idea, although it is sometimes difficult to understand. This story is described throughout the novel beginning with one question. Why did Kyra really die? In Nijkamp’s 352 page novel a young girl named Corey returns to her childhood home of Lost Creek, Alaska to unveil the truth of her best friend, Kyra’s, death. Many years before, Kyra was diagnosed with bipolar disorder only for it to get worse. After the diagnosis, Corey was the only real friend to Kyra. After a while, Corey leaves to attend a university leaving Kyra to face the town alone. The town then pretends to be her friend, but only use her for her special gift. Some of the writing I cannot quite understand, the flashbacks for instance. I do agree that flashbacks are a useful way to keep more suspence and grab the reader quicker, but it is confusing on how they are included with no specific order. Another thing is the unnecessary information and lack of information. It seems as though there are some parts of the novel that are not fully complete. I do think the imagery is very well executed though. I am easily able to distinctly picture the authors descriptions in my head. Overall, the book is not bad, but I do believe it still needs editing. Now, of course, these are my opinions and others will think differently. This book is a decent story, only that some of the story seems unnecessary and many questions remain unanswered.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp is a suspenseful book with lots of plot holes and confusing moments with lots of plots holes and flashbacks and moments of aggravating confusion. The story follows a teenager named, Corey, who tries to uncover the hidden truth the untold truths of her best friend, Kyra's, death. After leaving her hometown, lost creek Alaska, she returns to her hometown and is seen as an outsider. The girl she once knew as an outsider is now remembered as someone great in the town. Kyra is a teen struggling with bipolar disorder is looked discriminately because of her she bipolar filled outburst when she sometimes runs away. I personally do not like this book. However, I feel for the right person it would be a good book
JayLynn Cross More than 1 year ago
Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp published by Sourcebooks Fire. The genre is young adult fiction. Marieke Nijkamp is the #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of the #1 YA debut of 2016 with the book This is Where it Ends. The book is arranged in six days. Corey’s best friend Kyra dies suddenly. Corey goes back to her past hometown to discover what really happened to her best friend. When she returns she is viewed as an outsider even though she only left Lost Creek, Alaska seven months ago. It was almost as if Corey had never lived in Lost Creek, Alaska. The only people happy to see her were a couple of her friends. Throughout the book, some people do not want her to be there. Will Corey ever discover what happened to Kyra? Why didn’t Kyra’s letter not sound like her? My favorite part of the book is the ending, but it is also the worst because the last sentence makes me wish that there is more, or even another book. Before I Let Go will be available January of 2018. It will cost $17.99. This book will make you want to read again and again until you can no longer see the words on the page. I hope you truly enjoy this book. I only wish I could change how the book ends by adding more information.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
I had read ‘This is Where It Ends’ by this author and found it a very different story but real page turner that kept me engaged throughout so I jumped at the opportunity to read this. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work quite as well for me, but that could be just because I tried reading it over the festive season and it really doesn’t go with the celebrations - so don’t let me put you off giving it a go! Growing up in Lost Creek, Alaska, Corey and Kyra were inseparable best friends. When Corey moves away, she makes her bipolar friend promise to stay strong until she returns. Unfortunately, life gets in the way of them keeping in regular touch but then Corey has a call to inform her that Kyra’s body has been found under the ice in a nearby lake - a lake that should have been frozen solid, one she shouldn’t have been able to end up under the ice. Corey goes back to Lost Creek to find out just what happened to her friend. Can she uncover the truth? Can she get the community to open up and reveal their secrets, now they’re treating her as an outsider? What are they hiding? This is an intriguing story, a YA mystery that involves community secrets, suspense, danger and life threatening scenarios. Through it new relationships develop but who can be trusted? Who is in danger? Who is the danger? Why? So many questions - you’ll have to read it yourself to discover the answers! I requested and received a copy of this novel, via NetGalley. This is my honest review after choosing to read it.
jmchshannon More than 1 year ago
Before I Let Go is a dark novel about one town that pretty much loses its collective mind. Fitting then that the town happens to be called Lost. What Corey finds upon her return to this remote Alaskan community is anything but normal and difficult to believe. Set during early spring in northern Alaska, when the sun returns but only briefly, the entire tone of the novel is disturbing as the answers Corey seeks prove to be dangerous to find. It takes a lot to rattle me, but rattle me Before I Let Go did. The townspeople's actions towards Corey are not just discomforting but downright sinister. It is difficult to envision an entire town ganging up on one of their own, making threats, and going out of their way to cause as many problems for the returnee as possible, and yet this is what happens to Corey. The unbelievability of it all as well as the sinister undertones make for damn uncomfortable reading. Corey adds to your discomfiture by being a rather whiny character. She is completely unable to accept the truth until it is almost too late, long after you have already figured out what happened. Her unwillingness to see what is right in front of her is frustrating, especially as it causes her to make some poor choices. She also spends a lot of time contemplating her friendship and what it means to be a friend. We do get some good insight out of this, especially as it pertains to someone with a mental illness. However, the rest of the novel does not fit with this more internalized story. It is as if in Corey, the author tried to create a story within a story even though the two clash more than blend. My overall problem with Before I Let Go is that I have no idea what it is meant to be. Is it a cautionary tale about friendship? Is it a thriller? Is it supposed to be realistic? Is it just supposed to be entertaining? Throwing me off even more is the introspection Corey does as she tries to learn more about what happened to Kyra. Does this make it a coming-of-age story? I just do not know, and this bothers me. I usually enjoy stories that cross multiple genres at once, but this leaves me perplexed. The two stories - why/how did Kyra die and how Corey is handling it - are not tightly woven together but appear as separate and distinct. Add in the creepy and highly unrealistic town transformation and you have a novel that is as confusing as it is disturbing. The townspeople and their actions are so creepy and the story is so dark that I finished Before I Let Go with a sigh of relief and thankful to be able to put it behind me. This is not because the story is shocking. The answers, when you finally obtain them, are not much of a surprise even if they are as odd as you suspect they will be. I suspect my relief was more due to the fact that I was done with this weirdly unrealistic novel masking as contemporary fiction and could move on to more pleasant reading, which is not how you should ever want to feel finishing any story.
TheThoughtSpot More than 1 year ago
Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read and review Before I Let Go by Marieki Nijkamp! Corey receives news of the drowning of her best friend, Kyra, and she travels back to Lost Creek to mourn her death and discover how she drowned in the middle of winter when the water is frozen several feet deep. Corey is treated like an outsider because she’s been attending a boarding school away from Lost Creek, so they disregard her questions and concerns. Corey’s determination reveals more than she ever wanted to know about the downward spiral of Kyra’s mental health and the ignorance and selfishness of the people of Lost Creek! 4 stars for a poignant look at bipolar disorder and the struggles of the sufferer and the coping mechanisms of the people closest to them. *I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
onemused More than 1 year ago
"Before I Let Go" was a pretty unique piece of YA fiction- I'm not sure how to categorize it, maybe as a psychological thriller. We follow Corey from the time she found out her BFF, Kyra, has died over the course of her short trip to Lost Creek, Alaska, the place she used to know as home. Corey left town several months ago to attend a boarding school, when her mother moved away. She was really sad to leave Kyra behind, but they promised to stay in touch and wait for each other- and they were almost there. This is why Corey is shocked to hear that Kyra's death is considered suicidal (it is believed she looked for a crack in the ice and drowned). The story is told in pieces- we have the present events, events from the past few years of Kyra/Corey together, and letters which Kyra had written but not sent to Corey (plus some stylistic writing as if a screenplay). Together, it makes for an incredibly engaging story. We get to put together the pieces of Kyra and Corey separately and together through their friendship. There is a big disconnect between the town Corey left and the one she returns to. The whole story is shrouded in mystery and grief- and it had the feel of a thriller at times. The town and the people in it had a very surreal feel, almost like Stepford, where you know there has to be more to the story and it's really creepy and you're dying to figure out why. This book ended up being a quick read for me, primarily for that reason- I absolutely had to figure out what happened to Kyra and what would happen to Corey. The pace of this book is absolutely perfect, and the descriptions of Kyra really brought her to life. Corey was less well-developed, despite being the primary character. It was a really interesting format, where although being told from Corey's point-of-view, the character we get to know best and understand the most is Kyra. I also thought the depiction of bipolar disorder in this book was well done- it goes through examples of both her highs and her lows, plus some of her coping mechanisms and thoughts about the disease. It felt pretty genuine. The rest of the story felt more surreal, and considering that Kyra loved stories and fables, it almost felt like the book was it's own story (maybe enhanced in the retelling). I'm not saying that as a bad thing- it gave the overall tone an interesting quality that made it all a bit more of a mystery. Overall, I think this was a really intriguing and unique story along the lines of a psychological thriller. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.