Before I Let Go

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Unfortunately, this book was not a good fit for me, and I am declining to review it. I loved the author's first book, but I didn't click well with this one. I'm still looking forward to seeing what else the author writes. Thank you for the approval.
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So this was a pretty quick read, but it almost pained me to continue reading. It was almost a "lost interest" or "did not finish" - but I pushed through because I was hoping there would be some sort of an ending to this mystery that made the journey less boring. Alas, I was disappointed.

Before I Let Go is the story of Corey, a girl who returns to her hometown of "Lost" after finding out that her best friend Kyra has died. Once there, Corey strives to find out how exactly Kyra died, and is met with all sorts of mystery and road blocks. 

The story revolves around Kyra and her bipolar disorder and the stigmas surrounding it. The setting is pretty cool - it's a very small ghost like town in snowy Alaska, where there are auroras and old hot springs. Half of the book revolves around "outsiders" of this town, and turns the townspeople into some sort of cult that worships the girl who they once ignored. As Corey gets to the bottom of the so called "mystery", you have to sit through a bunch of repetitive, flowery nonsense about storytelling, being an outsider... being "Lost" - ha, cause that's the town name... big mystery. There is a whole lot of build up - like 300 pages worth - with seemingly only like 2 characters (and one is dead). And then when you get to the climax of the story, it's like 3 pages and doesn't even have and end result. I was hoping that this story would go somewhere, but it really seemed like more of an attempt at flowery words, emotions, and trying to make something into a literary work of art.. something that just ended up being a whole bunch of words with no meaning. 

If you want to read through 300 something pages of thrilling literature, you're not going to find it in this book. I was never at the edge of my seat, and I never really got a supposed resolution. Maybe someone else can read more into the fluff and see that as art instead of the half-plot, but I just couldn't.

I received an ARC of this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcefire Books for giving me an advanced e-copy of this book. 

Months after leaving for boarding school, Corey finds out her best friend Kyra has died. She has drowned below the thick ice in their home town of Lost Creek Alaska. 

When home everyone keeps telling Corey that Kyra, who for years was ignored and treated poorly by the town, was "burned out" and "knew she had to die", but "important to the town". Confused by this, Corey sets off to find out what really happened to Kyra. 

I enjoyed this book, just not as much as other thrillers. The premise was a great idea, and it was executed fine. But I think there definitely could have been more depth brought to the characters of the town. The creepiness factor was there, but I think it could have been taken up a notch. 

Though I gave this three stars, I would still recommend to others. I know other people who would enjoy this the same, if not more, than me!
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Before I let go

This book had a haunting air to it. I enjoyed that feeling the writer evoked to the reader as it made the story more mysterious. 

Corey and Kyra are best friends or used to be until distance pulled them apart. Days before Corey is to return home to the frozen town of Lost Creek, Alaska, to visit her best friend, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated of course, but she is also confused. The entire tight knit Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town's lost resident. They are saying her death was meant to be. And now they push Corey away like she's a stranger. Corey was one of them until she fairly recently moved away. Why do they turn their back on her and Kyra?

Corey knows something is wrong. The residents of Lost are keeping secrets, chilling secrets. Corey decides to stay in Lost to piece together the truth about what really happened to her best friend. This process proves to be intricate, complicated and a dangerous proposition for young Corey.
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This book almost tore out my heart. The subject matter is intense and holds a personal place in my life, this made the book all that more important for me to read. I was riveted from the first page and the more I read the deeper I was drawn in. The author's descriptions of Kyra made this book even more intense. There were self questions that you find yourself asking as you read, and then you find the answers and gasp out loud. Thank you NetGalley and Marieke Nijkamp for allowing me to read this ARC and write a honest review.
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Corey's best friend is dead. Don't worry, that's not a spoiler. Instead of going back to a tiny town in Alaska to visit her best friend, Corey has to return for Kyra's funeral. This is where things start to get weird. Prior to Kyra's death, the townspeople wanted nothing to do with her after she is diagnosed with a mental illness. Corey moves to Canada (where she attends boarding school?--is this really a thing anymore????). Upon Corey's return, Kyra has practically been raised to sainthood by the townspeople who will only talk about her death and how it was "meant to be". 

Obviously suspicious, Corey begins to delve into the circumstances around Kyra's death but is met with resistance at every side because she is now an outsider (even though she was raised there--and really, the only thing this plot point was missing to really drive it home was a horde of townspeople standing around pointing and shrieking "INTERLOPER".) 

As Corey digs deeper, it becomes apparent that the town has SECRETS about THINGS and Corey quickly realizes that the town is desperate to protect their secrets, no matter the cost. 

This was a pretty enjoyable read, but after awhile I found myself rolling my eyes every time someone reminded Corey she wasn't one of them anymore (it happens a lot). The book did have a pretty interesting twist that I didn't totally see coming, and for the presentation of both asexuality and mental illness in a way that didn't feel terribly forced (but also wasn't super positive), I'd give this book 3 stars and probably an addition to my purchasing list.
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Just like Kyra, the reader can see the future of this story. Too much narrative. Too much regret. Not enough action. A much stronger story would have emerged if the narrative was focused and if the letters served to tell the tale.
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This book had potential, but it was very hard to get into.  It felt like the plot was plodding along and took a long time to accomplish the storyline.
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A unique and touching story of friendship, loss and mental illness. Corey and her best friend, Kyra, are inseparable in a small Alaska town that has shunned Kyra and her unpredictable highs and lows. Corey moves away and just a few days before her visit, Kyra is found dead under the ice. When Corey arrives, she finds the town and their feelings about Kyra changed. As she tries to uncover what has happened since she left, she learns the town is unwilling to let go of their stories and secrets. 

The story is told in the present and then in the past both from Corey's perspective and Kyra' s through her letters. Their friendship is all encompassing and is richly written and beautifully poignant.
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I really enjoyed the plot and writing of this book. This is my first book to read by this author and I was pleased with the story line. It was a thick plot with relatable characters. I would recommend this book to others.
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I found it really hard to believe that someone who lived in a town her entire life, left for seven months, and then returned, was completely ostracized by an entire town. I also felt the story was unrealistic. It was disappointing.
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This book is amazing. I could not get out of the story and I highly recommend reading it!
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I was expecting a lot after This is Where it Ends and I'm sorry to say that Before I Let Go didn't  live up up to its predecessor. I enjoyed the setting of the book but there was too much repition of basic facts... if a reader is absorbed in the story they shouldn't need reminding of it. I enjoyed Corey as a character and felt her isolation keenly but I didn't understand the need for the erroneous scenes written out as playscript. The writing style came over well and was absorbing but I felt another perspective would have helped move the story along quicker.
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Held my interest and kept me wanting to read more. Loved the author's writing style.
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BROOKE'S REVIEW

This YA novel by Marieke Nijkamp is one of those books that will keep you thinking about it long after you put it down. Lost Creek, Alaska is a town that keeps to itself. Corey learns that lesson the hard way once she moves away and returns for the memorial service of her best friend Kyra. While Kyra had always been an outsider, something peculiar happened in the months that Corey had been away from Lost Creek. Upon her return, Corey becomes acutely aware that there is truth to the expression, “you can never go home again.”

Told in alternating voices and time jumps, Nijkamp weaves an engrossing narrative about both how Kyra lived and how she died. We also follow and feel Corey’s guilt as she copes with how it feels to be the one who leaves and then is left behind. The town of Lost Creek is a captivating character in its own right. 
Complex themes of friendship and grief are deftly navigating in this novel, and it looks like Nijkamp has another NYT bestseller on her hands. 

PRAISE FOR THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS

“This Is Where It Ends is simultaneously heart pounding and heart wrenching. Every word hits frighteningly close to home and is tragically too familiar. This book will leave you asking questions that we as a society should have answered a long time ago." - Julie Murphy, #1 New York Times bestselling author of DUMPLIN’

"Stunning, diverse, and unforgettable, This Is Where It Ends is a book everyone should read to better understand each other and the world around us.” - Robin Talley, author of LIES WE TELL OURSELVES

“As long as there are Newtowns and Columbines there will be a desperate need for gripping, well-written, and poignant novels like this one. We are the most gun-violent country in the world, and yet little has been done to stop these rampage killings. Many people have become numb to the news that yet another child, or family, or congregant, has been murdered. Hopefully a book like This Is Where It Ends will make the problem more real to a generation that still has the time, energy, and willpower to do something about it.” - Todd Strasser, award-winning author of GIVE A BOY A GUN and FALLOUT 

AUTHOR

Marieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, and is an executive member of We Need Diverse Books, the founder of DiversifYA, and a founding contributor to YA Misfits. She lives in the Netherlands. Visit her at mariekenijkamp.com. 

As a final note, I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Book Title: Before I Let Go
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Genre: YA, Mystery, Mystery Thriller
Release Date: January 23rd, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Goodreads Rating: 3.25/5
My Rating: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis: Days before Corey is to return home to the snow and ice of Lost Creek, Alaska, to visit her best friend, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…

Wow! Before I Let Go is the first book of Marieke Nijkamps that I read and I have to say this book definitely makes me want to pick up the author’s other novel This Is Where It Ends!

I don’t normally read mystery novels, they are really not my thing, especially adult mystery novels, but I found myself really enjoying the way the author wrote the mystery!

This book is really great for representation in the queer community! I was excited to read this book for awhile but I had no idea that this book’s main character was asexual! The way Corey identified was actually mentioned on the page in a nice and very natural way! Before the events of the book takes place the main character’s best friend dies, but Kyra is the main topic of the novel and the circumstances surround her death. Kyra was only seen through flashbacks that were heavily used throughout, but since she was the main focus of the novel I read about her as if she was alive, as she was in the flashbacks. Even though Kyra was dead before the events of the novel began, it was very nice to see her identify as pansexual on the page and how Corey and Kyra’s friendship came first, their sexual orientations second.  Not only was Kyra pansexual, she was also bipolar and depressed but she fought to not be the only things important to her. In addition to Corey and Kyra’s queer identities, two side characters, Sam and Roshan were in an (m/m) relationship! How did I not know about this already!

I loved how real Kyra seemed even though we only knew her through the flashbacks! I also loved how you knew really knew what happened to Lost and Kyra until the end!

This book was so good, fun and I absolutely devoured it! I hope you enjoy BEFORE I LET GO as much as I did when it comes out in January!
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This one had a lot of potential, but didn't live up to it. It left questions and I am a reader that needs the questions answered, especially the ones that make no sense. Some things you can leave to a reader's imagination, but some things need explaining. It was a quick read, and I really wanted to get to know Kyra, but it took the entire book to do that, and in the meantime, I had to deal with the rest of the town of Lost Creek who are creepy caricatures, and weird, inexplicable (and never dealt with) circumstances.
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Before I Let Go is about a remote town in Alaska that is as odd as it is remote.  The story is about a girl named Corey who goes back to her home town after her best friend dies.  She wants answers but the town holds onto their secrets very tightly.  What unfolds is a cross between “you can never go home again” and “the walls have eyes”.
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This book struck me as sort of a young adult version of a “Twilight Zone” episode.  There is a lot mysterious [and to my thinking, unrealistic] happening in the very small town of Lost Creek, a remote and isolated place in Alaska.  Corey has flown back from college in Canada after the startling news that her best friend Kyra, only 17, is dead; she was found floating underneath the ice.  Yet no one in this small town will talk about what happened.  They accuse Corey of being an “outsider” now because she left, and they tell her she “wouldn’t understand.”  They also insist Kyra was happy, and that it was “her time” to die.

Even more inexplicable is the fact that before Corey went off to college, only nine months earlier, everyone in the town considered Kyra to be anathema.  Kyra was stigmatized her whole life by them as a “freak” because she had a bipolar disorder.  Corey remained her best friend, but even Corey didn’t always understand Kyra or know what to do, especially when Kyra was in a depressed state.  In Kyra’s manic episodes,  characterized by frenzied painting, Corey thought she was more “fun.”  After Corey left, someone noticed that Kyra’s paintings seemed to have a predictive quality, and this is when the townspeople changed their attitude toward Kyra.  They begin to think of her as a prophet.

As they story goes back and forth in time, we learn a little more about life in the town, and about the relationship between Corey and Kyra.  But the background provided is superficial and episodic, and doesn’t explain why we should like these two girls, nor provide a reasonable explanation for why the place turns into a bizarre nightmare of a town.  It makes it difficult to situate it in the real world or to relate to anyone in the book.  I read that the author wanted to help get conversations started about mental illness, but to me, that aspect of the book is occluded by the "M. Night Shyamalan" aspects of the plot.
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In Before I Let Go, Corey returns to a remote small town in Alaska after her best friend has killed herself. Within minutes she realises the town has changed a lot since she left it just a few months earlier. The premise of the book is interesting, and the good kind of creepy. However, I feel we mostly scratched the surface of the majority of the characters. Besides, the book is somewhat slow, with little action. The resolution is a bit more action-packed but after that the story starts to drag again immediately. It’s a pity the pacing isn’t a little faster because this book has lots of interesting things. I loved how we slowly find out what happened in the months Corey was away. It’s chilling without venturing into crime or even horror territory.

Not many authors are brave enough to write in a language that’s not their mother tongue, and I’m so impressed with what Nijkamp has achieved with this book.
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