Before I Let Go

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I'm surprised how disappointed I was with this title. I understand that the author is part of a diversity initiative, but the inclusion of some of the, um, inclusions seemed gratuitous. For example, in only one paragraph in the whole book was it thrown in that Corey had a black friend at school. It wasn't made relevant to the story; it wasn't necessary to the characterization or plot development; it was just thrown in for diversity's sake. That's not really my first disappointment, though. It's related to how many themes this one book tackles. Manic-depression, gays and lesbians, asexuality, suicide, the environment, precognition, superheroes, There were also a few Leitwortstils going on: the "endless day, endless night" song and "So be it." Nothing wrong with this device, but it felt excessive. The salmonberries motif was never resolved other than to allude to the fact that that "they don't grow here... The girl holds flowers that shouldn't be." The foreshadowing throughout the story was too obvious, too blatant -- luckily, none of the plot foreshadowing got mixed in with the prescient aspects of Kyra's malady. The superhero and the stars motifs left nothing to the reader's imagination; the author spelled out the metaphors through the characters' thoughts and dialog.  I also had questions as to some of the characters' actions. For example, while I understand why a teen gets involved in life and cannot answer ever letter she receives, I don't understand why Corey didn't respond to Kyra's "I want to study myths, not star in one" letter. Also, how can the town folk keep accusing Corey of leaving when she was just a 17 year old girl who was moved by her mother's job situation and not someone who ran from the situation? How did Roshan, who didn't even know Corey seven months ago, know that the Hendersons "care about you [Corey], like a second daughter" ... Especially since Kyra was separated from her family for quite some time in the seven months since Corey left? Finally, was the seven months that Corey was gone enough time for the whole town to turn into the Stepford Wives?  I guess I expected realistic fiction and got magical realism, which is irrelevant to my overall reaction to the storytelling. This would make a good book from which to teach metaphors and motifs, but it's not a must-have title for a school library.
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Thank you Marieke Nijkamp and Netgalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
As a teen novel I thinks this works, as an adult fiction it is a little bit confusing. I am not sure why I feel that way but it somehow makes sense to me.
I really enjoyed this novel, so many elements join to make this a fast moving mystery (or is it).
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before I let go
Before I Let Go by Marieke Niejkamp

Expected Publication: January 23rd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

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…

Note: I received an ARC of this via Netgalley. This in no way influences my opinion.

I have extremely mixed opinions about this book. I felt constantly compelled to carry on reading, but at the same time, I was left with more questions than answers and I often felt like the book didn’t flow as well as it could have done. The book felt choppy and I feel like things could have been explained a little better.

One of the things I both liked and disliked about the book was the flashbacks. It often went back in time and then came back to present day etc. Whilst I usually like this style of writing when used well, I don’t feel like it added anything extra to the story. It gave us snippets of the past between the two characters, but I don’t feel like it was entirely useful in understanding what happened. If it had been used better and given us more of an insight, rather than the snippets we were given, I feel like it could have really helped the readers and we could’ve gotten a better idea of the bigger picture.

Another issue I had with this book was the fact that I didn’t feel that much empathy for the characters. I feel like the chopping and changing between past and present stopped me from really connecting to the characters. Also, the author used a variety of different minority groups, to the point where I felt like she was using them to try and be different rather than actually representing them as they are. Corey was Asexual whilst Kyra was pansexual and bipolar at the same time. Whilst the bipolar was represented (as far as I know – I don’t understand a lot about the disorder, but some), I feel like it could have been represented more, rather than becoming the side issue. What I did like was the fact that no one really understood Kyra or what she was going through. I feel like this is so true to society because a lot of people misunderstand illnesses such as these and that leads to the sufferers feeling lonely and like an outsider – which is exactly what Kyra was feeling.

What I did like about this book was the creep factor. The town, the people and history of Lost Creek was completely eerie and it definitely had me wanting more. I had to know what was going to happen next and where it was going to go. I loved the spa and the feeling of abandonment that it had because I feel like it added something to the state of mind Kyra had before her death. The people were also completely creepy. I can definitely understand how the two MC’s felt like outsiders because it was a completely close knit community with secrets.

Another issue I had with this book was the ending. I felt like I had more questions about the characters and the events that led up to Kyra’s death than I did answers. There was some issues with the plot that confused me and which were never actually addressed. I also felt like the ending was a bit anti climatic considering the things that had happened before hand – I almost felt like there was something/a certain event that was missing that I would have liked to have seen, but it never happened. (I don’t want to say too much because spoilers).

All in all, I have completely mixed reviews about this book. I felt completely hooked by it and I had to know what was going to happen next, but at the same time I feel like it had its issues and could have been better. This book definitely has a lot of potential! Also, I just want to mention that I absolutely love the cover! I gave this book 3.5/5 stars.
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Rough chemo week - sorry I missed the deadline for this book. It sounded really good.
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