Before I Let Go

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

"The differences between us were never more obvious than when we looked at the night sky. I saw supernovas and explosions, while she saw the stories behind these phenomena. I sought understanding, while she gave the stars meaning."

Before I Let Go is the story of two best friends, Corey and Kyra, who grew up in a strange small town. We see the story in many different stages of their lives as Corey moves away from her old life, and Kyra stays behind.

I thinks this book is one that people will either love or hate. I read it in just a few hours and I honestly adored every page. I could not put this down and cried all my way through it. Usually, I prefer my readings to be fluffy and lighthearted these days, but when the dark and sad is written as well as in Before I Let Go, that's my favorite kind of read. It's fast and easy to read, engaging and addictive. You have to keep reading to understand what the hell is going on no matter what.

I have to say that this is a story you have to read as mystery without looking for the logic behind it. If you spend too much time thinking about it, there are little flaws that make this not so perfect. But for what the author tried to do, I really enjoyed. And if you really think about it:  How much did Kyra foresee and how much was just the small-minded people making it happen because they wanted it to be real? Food for thoughts. 

I love Kyra and relate so much with her and now I have to go kill every person who hurt her. It was honestly so nice to see a character who is so much like me, even though we have different MIs. Kyra's bipolar disorder is well detailed here in this book and something that I had never seen described like this in fiction. The way she talks about her mental illness hit very close to home.

"Have you ever not slept for days on end? All I hear are a million stories, but I can't sit still long enough to write them down. All I see are images that demand to be committeed to paper, because otherwise they'll claw their way out through my skin."

I definitely want to go check the author's other stories now.
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I enjoyed this book-- I also passed a long a hard copy to my 16 year old cousin, who is an avid reader; she enjoyed the book as well and is looking forward to reading more from her.
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I was recently sent an email link to an ARC of Marieke Nijkamp's Before I Let Go. I was excited to get this email because I absolutely loved her first book, This is Where It Ends. My expectations were high and Before I Let Go certainly lived up to them in the end!

The story follows Corey as she returns home to the tiny town of Lost, Alaska for the funeral of her best friend Kyra. Corey is told Kyra committed suicide, and that seems to be entirely possible give her history of mental illness. However, Corey struggles to believe this as Kyra promised to wait for Corey's return.

Let me just say that the people in this town act downright creepy and sinister at times. It seems once Corey moves away she becomes "an outsider" and, because of this, they tell her she can't understand the gifts Kyra held for herself, but also the town. Told in a mix of present day and flashbacks, Before I Let Go is chilling. Just what did happen to Kyra in her final days? Was her death preventable? Is there anything Corey could have done to stop it? Just who is to blame?

The best thing about Nijkamp's writing is her ability to convey the strongest of emotions, spanning the spectrum. I definitely am a fan of hers and look forward to reading anything she puts out in the future!
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No.  No.  No. No.  What even was this plot?!  So many things are wrong with this book:
1) Kyra's parents
2) every adult (minus Aaron) in Lost
3) EVERY FUNCTIONING HUMAN IN LOST
4) Kyra's way of speaking only in riddles
5) romanticism of mental health disorders (due in part to #4)
6) ONCE AGAIN-- ALL THE ADULTS AND PEOPLE IN LOST

This was just so unbelievable and ridiculous.  I gave it 2 stars because the writing was at least good.  Other than that, this makes zero sense.
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Corey and Kyra were inseparable until Corey moves away leaving Kyra without her support. Corey was set to visit her but Kyra is found murdered under the ice of their Alaskan town two days before her visit.

Upon returning, she finds drawings and notes to her and she remembers Kyra's mania mood swings and family threats which she told her made her not feel safe. The girl's were a sort of couple as well as best friends.

As Corey gets closer to uncovering the truth, she finds herself in danger as she's for one point of the book, in a burning building trying desperately to escape as Sam and Roshan aren't around to help her, but then she see's someone and finally she may be figuring out just why that person is in there with her...

Suspenseful and a puzzling mystery to keep you guessing, this is a book which is a slow burn at unravelling in a good way as no clues are obvious but pieces come together eventually by the tense ending making it worth a read!

Many thanks to the publishers for allowing me to review this book for them!
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Before I let go is unlike anything I have ever read. It was honest, frustrating, terrifying and mysterious. It has left me with so many unanswered questions, which feels like an answer in itself. Beautiful structure and prose, this novel is a must read for anyone looking for somewhere they can get Lost in.
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**Thanks to NetGalley for providing a complimentary copy of BEFORE I LET GO by Marieke Nijkamp in exchange for my honesty review**

After being in boarding school for seven months, Corey returns to Lost Creek, Alaska following her best friend Kyra's suicide. Kyra, a bipolar artist, never fit into the town of barely over two hundred residents. After her diagnosis, almost nobody spoke to her. Always an odd town, Lost now seems like a cross between a Stepford, minus the perfect people, and a cult, minus the charismatic leader. In Corey's absence, Kyra became almost an oracle. Townsfolk and her family speak of Kyra's happiness as a beloved member of the community. Corey wonders, if her friend was so joyful, why commit suicide. Kyra's mother and others explain that Kyra's bright light couldn't last forever.

If I had to describe BEFORE I LET GO in one word, it would be Creepy with a capital C. And that's a good thing. Nijkamp writes gorgeous, lyrical prose with unique, complex characters and a setting gorgeously atmospheric. On paper, I should have loved this novel. Unfortunately, my reading experience was neither fun nor exciting. I loved the story, but I couldn't connect with the manner in which it was told. Nijkamp sues of snail mail letters, phone calls, script did enhance my enjoyment, but reading BEFORE I LET GO still felt like a chore instead of a pleasure. I believe this will be a 5 star read for most people.
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Lost Creek, Alaska is really as "lost" as the name suggests.  
Corey gets a phone call from her mother at boarding school that no one wants to get; her best friend Kyra is dead. Corey hasn't responded to any of the letters from Kyra and the guilt overwhelms her as she travels back to Alaska to attend Kyra's memorial. 
Since the location is so remote Corey has to take  a small plane to get there, and as she exits the plane the pilot warns her that not everything is as it seems at Lost Creek. Corey thinks nothing of it at the time since she is from Lost originally so she knows how things are there. Or does she......
The more information she finds out about Kyra's life since she left, the more she realizes she doesn't know these people anymore and she does not belong here. I would definitely recommend this book.
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Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to review this ARC of Before I Let Go.

Corey and Kyra are best of friends.  A pair of misfits in a small, frozen Alaskan town.  While Corey goes off to college in a big town, Kyra stays behind and struggles to find her place in Lost.  Kyra struggles with bi-polar and finds solace and healing in her painting.

But unexpectedly Corey gets word that Kyra has died, suicide.  Devastated, Corey hurriedly returns to find her hometown completely changed.  The tone is different, the people are different, and they are not happy to see her.

I liked the creepy fog of mystery in the story.  I really enjoyed reading about Corey and Kyra's friendship.  But to be honest, I needed a lot more for the story itself to make sense.  I liked where it was headed, but I was left very unsatisfied.
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I was slightly confused about this book up until about 20% in - for my personal tastes, the pacing was a tad too slow, and the townspeople were being TOO vague (I am aware that the point is to show that the townspeople are hiding an abundance of secrets, but there were many times where I felt very lost and didn't really have a clue as to what was happening). Having said this, Kyra's character and her struggle with acceptance, told through her letters and experiences with other people, was very well written and thoroughly enjoyable. The inclusion of an asexual and homophobic characters was a welcome surprise, as it is rare to find characters of these sexual orientations even in 2017! Well done for incorporating these into a young adult work. I will recommend to my library users.
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This book tells the story of Corey, whose best friend, Kyra, suspiciously dies about seven months after Corey and her mom move away from Lost Creek, Alaska. Having grown up in Lost Creek, Corey returns to stay with Kyra's family because she needs closure and, more importantly, she wants to understand what happened to her friend. 
In the beginning of this novel, I really felt as though the plot was building up to something. However as the plot went on, it seemed very redundant and, at some stages - confusing. Thinking it was just the author's subtle way of advancing the plot while trying to give the novel that "psychological thriller" feel, I kept reading in hopes that there would some sort of great revelation - something that explained it all and tied some pieces of the story together. I was disappointed because that never happened. You know the old saying "the simplest explanation is probably the correct one"? Well - that's how I felt at the end of this book. Don't expect the big reveal toward the end.  Only the motivations of the other characters in the book were somewhat surprising and even then I felt their interactions in the book were oddly explained.
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I'll admit I felt as though this book was slow to start off and the characters didn't develop much throughout the book. The premise was very promising and I liked Corey, but I feel as though she spent too much time pondering in the past. Despite this, I still managed to finish the book within a few days and I will recommend it to my friends who usually enjoy reading this genre. The author wrote in a compelling and interesting way that grabbed my attention-especially the final few chapters where everything came together!
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Wow. This is the 2nd book by this author I've read and it's so different but still so compelling. A visit by 17 year old Corey to her best friend after Corey's family had moved should have been something to look forward to, but Kyra's death meant the visit was a memorial, not the planned reunion. But circumstances have changed and that becomes clear as soon as Corey lands in the tiny outlying town she once called home. Everything is wrong and Corey wants to find out why. You can't describe this book as a thriller, as there is too much poetic musing from Corey herself, but also, in the flashbacks, from Kyra. It's totally unbelievable, but so compulsive. A great, well written story.
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I just couldn't get into this. I appreciate poetic license but the dialogue was just too overdone for me.
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I was excited to read this book due to the beautiful haunting cover and the description. I enjoy reading novels that transport me to places I've never been. This novel is set in a remote tiny town in Alaska. The small town of Lost becomes a character in this story of best friends Kyra and Corey. There were definitely things I appreciated about the book. Ms. Nijkamp's writing is beautifully descriptive and literary, and she uses a non-linear narrative structure to tell the story. This element was interesting, but sometimes made it tricky to know where you were in the story. There were also things that troubled me about the book, such as the way adults in town treated this troubled teen while she was alive, idolized her after her death, and especially how they withheld the treatment she needed to give themselves a sense of hope. The book features a diverse cast of characters, although I would have appreciated more in-depth development of them. The adults in the town (with a couple of exceptions) all seemed identical. The town was creepy, cult-like, and reminiscent of a "Stepford Wives" community, where the "normal" person arrives and can't stop thinking, "What the heck?" I felt compelled to finish the book, but the ending seemed a bit anticlimactic to me.
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I wasn't a fan of this book. I found it t be extremely repetitive, and the issues that were brought up were dealt with in a strange manner. I found th flashbacks to fit the story, but the script elements seemed forced. The ending was very interesting, but I skimmed through much of the book to get there.
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I am not sure what to think about the book. Such a promising beginning and yet, such a disappointing ending. The big reveal never happened for me, it was just unbelievable twist and explanation. 

Two best friends grew up together, one left and soon learned about her BFF's suicide. When she comes back for the memorial, she learns that nothing is what it seems. That is the premise, it sounded so compelling to me. But somehow, I ended up confused. It's not that the writing wasn't clear, I got the point, but it just didn't make any sense to me. 

The best thing about the book is that chilling atmosphere of a mob psychology and what a group can do to a threatening individual. It almost sounds like a town cult was happening here, but yet... I am not 100% sure!
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I was intrigued by the sound of this title, particularly the Alaskan setting which had potential to be original and interesting. 

This is a largely enjoyable read- the characters are well drawn, the pace is brisk and the plot has a number of engaging little twists. On the whole though, I didn't really warm to the narrator and I felt as if there was a lot of repetition along the lines of telling us how meaningful and important a place or incident was, rather than showing us.  There were also some narrative devices that didn't wholly make sense to me- why were we suddenly reading a film script? 

At the end of a lot of build up I didn't feel like the story fully delivered. However, this book might appeal to younger teen readers who are questioning their sense of identity and place in the world. It's certainly an entertaining enough read and even if I didn't love it as much as I hoped, others may do.
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