Before I Let Go

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
This book is amazing. I could not get out of the story and I highly recommend reading it!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Held my interest and kept me wanting to read more. Loved the author's writing style.
Was this review helpful?

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. 


“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 


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 

As a final note, I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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”.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you Net Galley for the free,ARC. Corey's friend Kari dies in an accident in Lost creek. When Corey decides to fly home to say goodbye, she decides there is more to the story.
Was this review helpful?
Set in mystical Alaska this story is about love and loss and hope. Corey has moved from Lost where she grew up. She goes back when her best friend Kyra dies. Kyra was bipolar and a very good artist. The people of Lost do not want their memories and their feelings towards Kyra changed by Corey. They no longer view Corey as one of them and they have their own memories and theories about Kyra. Kyra was special to them and they do want her story to be told beyond Lost. There is a lot in this story about small town mentality and the need for people to have the hope of a better life. This book is definitely worth reading.
Was this review helpful?
As I started to read this book, Idered if it would be a version of a Twilight Zone episode. The story is about a teenager who returns for five days to the small town in Alaska where she grew up to learn what happened to her best friend. She feels guilt from not returning earlier to perhaps be able to save her friend, who suffered from a bipolar syndrome.  As the story unfolds, the atmosphere of the town changes, and she fears for her life as she seeks to learn what happened to her friend.  Overall, the story is suspenseful; however, the same issues seem to aired and the internal dialogue is repetitive.   It was well-written, but it started to feel "too long" until finally some action occurred that put the main character in danger.
Was this review helpful?
Mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it but it took me a while to really get into it which is why it has been sitting on my TBR shelf for so long.
Was this review helpful?
I loved the first half of the book. This was a haunting tale of a girl trying to figure out how and why her best friend died. The pain and grief of Corey was palpable in the pages. And then suddenly the book turned confusing and disjointed. It kind of turned out to be nothing? I was really confused by the resolution of the story. I also didn't like the phone call scenes. They really took away from the flow of the book and didn't really add much.
Was this review helpful?
Ooof this book hit me right in the heart. I love books about friendship, especially between two girls, and Before I Let You Go had an amazing relationship between the two main characters. Corey and Kyra grew up together in a town called Lost in Alaska and the author really made me feel like I was right there in the freezing cold and wild landscape with them. I loved how their relationship was explored and defined with flashbacks that included letters and phone calls and postcards; it made it feel really modern. This is a book I would definitely recommend to some of my YA patrons who feel lonely or like they are outsiders.
Was this review helpful?
After loving "This is where it ends" so much, I couldn't even finish this one. The format of the story is jumping back and forth, and although sometimes I like it, I didn't enjoy it in this particular story.

I really didn't care for any of the characters. This book just wasn't for me.
Was this review helpful?