Before I Let Go

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I was so drawn to the cover of this book and the excerpt that I requested a copy. Sadly it was hard for me to finish this book. If I can describe how it made me feel, I’d say unsatisfied. Like when you watch a movie trailer and it looks awesome but then you watch the whole movie and it is really bad. The plot was a little flat and overall it left me expecting more. I have to say that the story was well written that’s why I’m giving 3 star.
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Unfortunately this wasn't the book for me, I felt that it has promise but lacked in originality and pace. It was good to see gay characters and experimenting with sexuality but it has such an odd formatting system going on i couldn't keep track.
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cw: bipolar disorder, suicide, death, grief, mental illness disregard by some characters

First of all, let's take a moment to acknowledge that our MC is asexual, and that her friend is pansexual (clear on-page labels), which made me tear up multiple times while reading it. Recently I made a Twitter thread about how platonic best friendships are my absolute favorite things to see, and the friendship between Corey and Kyra was an example of this. The only thing was, it felt like the diversity here was being shoved into the characters and their lives, instead of it organically growing and being shown blatantly on page. There was also a pro medication and therapy for mental illnesses that was happening on page, which I could appreciate. Now onto the thing that I didn't particularly enjoy here. 

The way that this was originally marketed to me was as a thriller/mystery, and when you throw in that genre label I have certain expectations. I don't think it knew what it really was: supernatural mystery? Paranormal contemporary? As much as I had adored Nijkamp's debut: This is Where it Ends, my high expectations weren't really met with this book. I want to be on the edge of my seat, sweating trying to puzzle things together. In this story, I didn't feel any of those feelings that I want to while reading a quality thriller. Instead I found myself slowly trudging through the story, yawning during it, and considering DNFing it because nothing was happening for hundreds of pages of slow buildup.

Just want to clarify before I get to this part, that I am an ownvoices ace and aro reviewer. So this is yet another narrative where asexuality and aromanticism are equated. I feel like sometimes all you need to do for basic research about this distinction is just use google. By that you would figure out that the MC is rejecting her best friends romantic love to her because she's aro (or strongly aro-coded) not because she's ace. So maybe it's bold of me to say this, but at the time I was really hurt by the fact that there was clear aro erasure, which is why my rating is as low as it is.

Corey herself was very bland and underdeveloped as a character. I wish we could have gotten more growth and a different perspective after this whirlwind of a journey happened. If you asked me who Corey really was, her likes and dislikes, things about her family, I couldn't really tell you much. Unfortunately, she's written as a one dimensional character which really turns me off from these types of books.

Honestly, the ending was unsatisfactory and there was just no closure. I was still extremely confused about what had happened to Kyra, and felt like I was in a fever dream while reading. Oh well, maybe someday I'll have a dream at night to imaginatively create an alternative narrative that would be better than my waste of time that I spent on these 350 pages.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The setting was the best thing about this book. The Alaska town and its inhabitants were creepy, kooky, and cult like. I think the author tried to tackle too many hot button issues and none of them were handled well. I am always glad to see a realistic portrayal of someone with a mental illness. This character was ostracised and help for her was denied. I didn't enjoy the back and forth in time aspects of the book. This was not one I will remember.
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I was not able to get into this book.  I didn't connect with the characters.  I did not finish it, and that's rare for me.
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I absolutely loved Marieke’s other novel This Is Where It Ends, so when I saw this on Netgalley I just had to request a copy. I was personally expecting a bit more of a spooky, mysterious read, but the plot really brought this book to life for me. It was definitely unique and didn’t give me vibes from anything I’ve every read.

I really enjoyed Corey as a main character, she was very determined to prove her suspicions correct. I felt so awful every time she was treated as an outsider in the only place she felt she belonged. I can’t imagine being treated the way she was and still pushing through for her best friend, she was truly admirable. Hearing about Kyra from all sorts of sources (her parents, her neighbors, her best friend) got me kind of confused, it seemed like they were all describing a different person.

This book was definitely one of the most intriguing books I’ve read recently. I had a really hard time putting it down because I felt the need to know what happened. I can absolutely see why this read wouldn’t be for everyone, it seems like a love it or hate it type of book. If you are on the fence I would give it a go yourself, since everyone seems to feel very differently about this one.
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The best I can say is that this was an interesting book to read.  I did not find there to be a lot of mystery or suspense in the book.  In addition, the basic premise did not work for me.
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After reading Nijkamp's debut novel and not really enjoying it, I found myself pretty skeptical to pick up her second. Judging from what I read of this novel, I was right in thinking so. The story really isn't capturing my attention, and I don't foresee myself reading the remainder of the story.
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This book wasn’t for me. Instead of posting a negative review, it is my policy not to review the book on my site or label it as DNF (did not finish) on Goodreads/Amazon.
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I didn't realise this was a YA novel so I wasn't really looking forward to it - and I didn't entirely enjoy it either.  It was okay - but I just find that YA novels try so hard to be edgy and I just don't like the style.  The story was okay - I didn't really like the whole "cult" type thing - it was a sad story and I was just glad it was short!  My fault - I shouldn't have chosen this type of book.
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Thank you Netgalley, the publisher and Marieke Nijkamp for the opportunity.
This book was an ok read, at times lengthy and not sure where the story was going.  I kept wanting  more and it fell short.
 This  was not a thriller for me.
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This...didn't hit the mark for me. I wanted more mystery and intrigue, but it seemed to lean on the romantic and personality aspects of the characters, too often.
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I did enjoy the writing style. I feel Nijkamp has a prose that is easy to fall into and engage with. Though her plotting may not be a favorite of mine, I enjoyed her ability to keep me interested in the story and effortlessly continue reading. The story is somewhat of a mystery, yet the resolutions are revealed extremely slowly to the point where the mystery lacked suspense. Though I enjoyed the story overall, I felt a little unsatisfied by the plot.

I feel one of my favorite parts was the setting. From a New Yorker’s perspective, an extremely small town in Alaska is drastically different from my experience which is possibly what made it so intriguing. I’m typically not interested in small-town stories but the dynamic of this community is so WEIRD that I didn’t have a my usual experience while reading. I don’t even know how to describe this town. They are so creepy and almost cult-like to a point where it feels supernatural, even though it is a contemporary novel. Their perspective on Kyra and her death was almost “brainwashed-like” and totally inexplicable, which made it all the more intriguing for me. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to analyze the community’s mindset while reading, attempting to understand where their thoughts are rooted and why despite that we don’t get many concrete answers. In that respect, I found the setting very unique.
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The book evolves around Corey and Kyra living in a small community in Alaska. Corey moves away but returns when her friend commits sucide. The town do not welcome Corey's return and as she tries to find the truth about what has happened to her friend the more she finds she is being pushed away. This is a beautifully written book, it pulls on the strenght of friendship and how a small commmunity becomes lost at trying to understand about mental healh issues. I read this book in 24 hours I found it fascinating and gripping would really recommend.
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Before I Let Go is a young adult novel by Marieke Nijkamp. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I enjoyed reading her first book, This Is Where It Ends. 

Corey grew up in a small town in rural Alaska. Really small. As in, 246 people. She and her family moved away, but she has planed to go back and see her best friend Kyra. Two days before Corey’s arrival, Kyra is found dead, and everyone seems convinced that it was a suicide because of Kyra’s mental health diagnoses. 

Corey is naturally shocked and confused, and decided to proceed with her visit anyway so that she can attend Kyra’s memorial service. Even though she has only been away from Lost Creek a short time, so much has changed. Kyra feels like a stranger in her old home. 

When she tries to ask questions, she is shut down. The kids who shunned Kyra act like she was a valued member of the community. There’s a lot of muttering about fulfilling prophecies. Corey senses danger, but there is no way for her to leave; she’s quite literally trapped in Lost Creek. 

The story unfolds through conventional narrative: both from present-day and flashbacks. There are also fragments of letters that Kyra wrote to Corey and never sent. Finally, some of the story unfolds via scripted vignettes that look like a screenplay. I found myself slightly confused by this last format; it didn’t mesh as well with the rest of the novel as the other mediums.   

I liked this book. Nijkamp does an excellent job of creating a suspenseful ambience. Hints are dropped like breadcrumbs, and everything seems innocuous at first, but the feeling of dread creeps up slowly. I feel like the Big Reveal was not what I expected it to be after the masterful buildup leading up to it. I was left with so many questions about characters’ motivations that were left unanswered. 

I would recommend Before I Let Go. This book will appeal to the target demographic of young adult readers. This is a compelling thriller, and I found myself reading quickly to find out what was going to happen next. I am already looking forward to Nijkamp’s next book!    


I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
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This is a quirky, weird book that doesn't really go anywhere or have much of a point but yet somehow manages to be entertaining and intriguing at the same time. 

Corey returns home to the small Alaskan town of Lost after her best friend dies in suspicious circumstances. Was it an accident? Suicide? Murder? Having been away for a mere few months, Corey finds herself viewed as an outsider, making her quest to discover what happened all the more difficult.

I don't know that this works as a YA. I'm not convinced it would engage that demographic despite passing references to pansexuality, asexuality and homosexuality, all of which seem to have been shoved in because that's a trope of the genre rather than because the story needed them. Still, I enjoyed it and even if you don't, it's a very short read.
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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!
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I read Marieke Nijikamp's previous book and loved it, so I was excited to be approved for this title too. This story was so intriguing and fun to read. I read it very quickly and was fully immersed in the storyline. I knocked a star off for the ending. It could have been more in depth, resolving, and descriptive. Overall, I highly recommend.
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When I bought a house, I chose a small town, almost like Lost Creek - a town where everyone knows their neighbours, where you can run across the dirt road if you run out sugar in your recipe, and where the sense of “community” is so thick that you can feel it when your car rolls in the mostly deserted streets. It is comforting perhaps, but it’s also suffocating at times, and that’s the atmosphere that surrounds this book. That sense of foreboding, of being watched, feels so real in this novel that it almost made me look over my shoulder as I read it.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Sourcebooks Fire, but I had already gotten it from my local library a few months ago. I had tagged this book as a 3 star read on Goodreads. The book gave me chills throughout due to the sentiment mentioned above, but that's pretty much the only thing that remained with me. It was a decent read, but if I had to recommend a book from this author, it would be "This Is Where it Ends". The plot, while intriguing, left me a bit cold at the end, and the characters weren't as memorable as those in the author's other book.
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I received an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley. This book had me from the very beginning. I love that it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I would highly recommend this book to my fellow readers. Thank you for the chance to review this book!!!!
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