Before I Let Go
by Kennedy Ryan
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Pub Date 15 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 02 Jan 2023
Award-winning and bestselling "powerhouse" author Kennedy Ryan is at her absolute best in this compelling, scorching novel about hope and healing, and what it truly means to love for a lifetime (USA Today).
Their love was supposed to last forever. But when life delivered blow after devastating blow, Yasmen and Josiah Wade found that love alone couldn’t solve or save everything.
It couldn’t save their marriage.
Yasmen wasn’t prepared for how her life fell apart, but she’s is finally starting to find joy again. She and Josiah have found a new rhythm, co-parenting their two kids and running a thriving business together. Yet like magnets, they’re always drawn back to each other, and now they’re beginning to wonder if they’re truly ready to let go of everything they once had.
Soon, one stolen kiss leads to another…and then more. It's hot. It's illicit. It's all good—until old wounds reopen. Is it too late for them to find forever? Or could they even be better, the second time around?
CONTENT GUIDANCE: depression, complicated grief, still birth, passive suicidal ideation.
A Note From the Publisher
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"A knockout." - Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A knockout." - Publishers Weekly, starred review
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 896 members
I cant believe this is my first Kennedy Ryan. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this book and see what Sam he’s all about because I’m definitely reading more!
This book was really good and beautifully written. I was able to feel the intensity of certain scenes without losing interest in the scene—which is something I tend to experience. And boy was it intense. I chock it up to Kennedy Ryan’s ability to suck you in, break your heart, pick up the pieces, and put it together again with her poetic style of writing.
Yasmen and Josiah’s chemistry was amazing. Their ability to co-parent civilly was something I felt was refreshing. The discussions about mental health and therapy had me jumping for joy too! And I mean, come on, Yasmen and Josiah are insanely hot together😌Some of ✨THOSE✨ scenes had me reeling!!!
I’m missing that full 5 stars just due to how long the book is and how, in my opinion, chapters could have been condensed or taken out completely. Still, I don’t think those reasons hindered my reading experience.
Definitely check TWs before reading💕
ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Kennedy Ryan is a genius! The writing sucked me in and made me hurt so much for this couple. They got their hard fought HEA.
I’ve been reading Kennedy Ryan for many years and I am never not amazed by the new depth she achieves with each of her novels. Before I Let Go is the epitome of second chance romance done incredibly right. The trauma and drama that drove the couple apart is not contrived. It’s a real, hard look at a real couple who was dealt life’s most vicious blow and crumbled- and how they built inroads back to one another after being so broken. Mental health struggles and coping with unimaginable grief stare you right in the face and dare you to look away. All I could do was turn the page, captivated by each main character’s point of view. I love that the story wasn’t cookie cutter. Decisions the characters made were not arrived at conveniently. They fought for each internal victory and as a whole, it was nothing but triumphant, Read it.
Where do I even begin. This book was full of emotions and had me in tears part of the time. I felt the pain that Yas went through which only made me connect with her even more as a character. You see her grow and fight through her emotions.
At first the relationship between Yas and Deja (her daughter) was so hard for me to read because I felt the harsh words Deja spoke to her mother which made my heart broke so much for Yas. I wanted her to have a win so much because i felt like she was going through it emotionally. I haven't connected with a character this much in a while making this book such a good read.
The tension between Josiah and Yas was oozing off the pages. I loved seeing the growth of each character and how not only did the Yas and Josiah get a second chance but their family did as well.
In addition, the topic of grief, loss and rising from the ashes to rebuild what was lost was written so well by Kennedy Ryan.
This book broke me and put me back together all at once.
"I’ve fallen in love with the warrior woman who walked through fire, the one who came through stronger, reshaped by sorrow, reformed by grief, reborn in joy."
This story tore me apart then put me back together. This story hurt to read in the best possible way. We follow Yasmin and Josiah as they navigate co-parenting in the aftermath of divorce and two traumatic events. They have to work through how to move on for something that they never thought would end. The love Josiah and Yasmin share is one we all dream to find. To have someone that you can be with till the wheels fall off. I laughed, I cried, I was angry. Kennedy Ryan weaved this story together so beautifully. The emotions she brought out of me through the course of this book made me feel personally invested in these characters. For the first half of the book it was like knowing a train was about to crash but being unable to look away. I could not put it down till I knew exactly what was going to happen. This book takes the spot as top 5 for the year. Would love to see this be a movie.
Review Review to be posted on TikTok the week of release. Review posted on Goodreads.
Let me tell you: this book is AMAZING. (Heed CWs but I’ll talk about them at the end)
It's a second-chance romance with grown folks: a passionate couple who fell apart due to tragedy and, as one of the MCs puts it, incompatible grieving.
Second-chances are hard to get right: If breakup was the choice previously, what changed? What IS changing? And does the thing still keeping them apart feel real or contrived? I want to understand the characters, and believe they are acting in ways that suit their backgrounds and past experiences.
Ryan absolutely delivers. Each step Yasmen and Josiah take towards reconciliation makes sense for them: we see the multiple catalysts for change and can watch the progression of them rebuilding their love and trust. And it's also very clear what is keeping each from falling into the other's arms.
I was a bit hesitant to read this because of the tragedy mentioned in the description. Crucially, the story opens as they have turned a corner in recovery, and things are looking brighter. So the MCs have the strength to deal with remembering, and almost all of the descriptions of the tragedies happen in the context of the MCs talking to each other. They start to forgive each other and themselves for mistakes and hurts. They are *healing*.
Now let's talk content warnings. I was a bit blindsided by a previous Ryan book, which warned about a theme that's not triggering to me personally. But that content went on and on, on-page, and in 'real time' as the character experienced it.
This book is *not like that.* Things are described enough to understand them, but that's all.
Details and content warnings: (view spoiler)
Let me reiterate: I truly felt that all of the above was handled gently and presented as part of a healing process.
Netgalley is how I got this ARC, all feelings are my own.
Before I Let Go is officially, hands down, my top favorite novel by Kennedy Ryan.
It's "This Is Us" with an all Black cast. It goes into the depths of how Black people, especially Black men, don't believe that talking to a therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist can save them. It pours into how death can shatter lives beyond missing a loved one. It's sexy, seductive. It honors sister friendships - I want separate novels featuring Hendrix and Soledad ASAP!
It shows Black families in lush, diverse communities that support and celebrate Black-owned businesses.
It's a breakaway from what we are dealing with in the real world, despite the novel's topics being real.
I hated to get to the ending, but I had to let it go.
Everything Kennedy Ryan writes is golden!! I enjoyed every heartbreaking second of this. The romance had me swooning and I couldn’t get enough!!
This is the best book I’ve read all year so far. Kennedy Ryan has such a way with descriptive language that, if I were a writing or literature professor, I would assign this book. BEFORE I LET GO is rich and full and so mature. The challenges seem real and the pleasures are *steamy*. I will be talking about and recommending this book for a very long time. Just incredible.
Amazing beautiful book of love and lose…. “Only a one letter difference”… Thank you Kennedy Ryan for writing the realness in life. Yasmen and Josiah are broken form life and apart but connected in so many ways. Their kids are the priority.
I loved the layers of friendships and relationships, the need sometimes for counseling, how you don’t need to do life alone. How life is hard, but being honest with yourself and forgiving yourself is part of healing!!
A perfect way to happily ever after is not always easy!
First of all, I want to say that I am absolutely in love with Kennedy Ryan's writing style and story telling ethics. Before I Let Go pulls you in from the very beginning. I can relate the being a mother and going through a nasty separation when it comes to relationships. The characters are very detailed and well thought out. I hope that there is a sequel to this book because BABYYYYYYY.....This book is everything. I am so very grateful to have received an ARC copy of Before I Let Go. Because of this I am most definitely pre-ordering the physical copy ASAP! Also, I am definitely planning on re-reading this because how could you not?? Every thing about this story makes me want to keep motivated and keep going no matter what life may throw at me. Thank you for writing this book. This is definitely a life changer for me!
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