Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go by Marieke NijkampBefore I Let Go
Marieke Nijkamp
Sourcebooks Fire
Published on January 2, 2018

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

About Before I Let Go
Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, 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. With every hour, her suspicion grows. 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…

My Review
I feel like Nijkamp’s true strength in storytelling comes from her way of taking a single situation or moment and crafting a story that shows a 360 degree view of the relationships around that situation. In her debut novel, she did this with a school shooting and the view into all the relationships surrounding the shooter. In Before I Let Go, we circle the unexpected death of a young girl in a small, close-knit community which never accepted her. Events unravel in a way both suspenseful and almost magical.

Because of the elements of magical realism, I often had no idea where the story would go. It felt like anything was possible. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Kyra showed up somehow. The way the town which Corey called home until seven months earlier becomes more and more sinister and strange kept me eagerly turning pages. Sometimes a simple, seemingly harmless thing twisted into something sinister and cult-ish. I liked Corey’s character and the way the story juxtaposed her interest in stars with Kyra’s passion for stories.

Before I Let Go is a great pick for readers who liked Bone Gap by Laura Ruby or The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.

Before I Let Go on AmazonRecommended for Ages 14 up.

Cultural Elements
Corey is asexual and her best friend Kyra pansexual. Corey learns that two of the boys in town are gay and a couple. Kyra is bipolar.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used with moderate frequency.

Romance/Sexual Content
Two girls share a kiss. Corey sees two boys sleeping in the same bed.

Spiritual Content
Corey finds paintings which seem to predict the future. Others seem to have embraced the idea of the paintings being prophetic and have an almost ritualistic response to them. Some possibly magical things happen. Flowers appear in various places without any explanation, and a garden grows plants out of season.

Violent Content
A sudden fire nearly kills a girl. A man attacks a teen boy and a girl in the woods.

Drug Content

Before I Let Go on GoodreadsNote: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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