Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Synopsis/Cover Image from Publisher's Website: 
From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller This Is Where It Ends comes another unforgettable story of loss, hope, betrayal, and the quest for truth

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...

I downloaded Before I Let Go on a whim. I wasn't sure if I was going to love it or hate, and the reviews I had seen had been incredibly mixed. As it turns out, I'm so incredibly glad I gave it a chance.

It's stark, dark, and incredibly moving. It addresses mental illness head-on, and I think Marieke did such a wonderful job of talking about it with Kyra's character. 

From the start, I loved Kyra. She was too good - too pure - for their small Alaskan town. It broke my heart to see how they mistreated her, how they only used for what her manic episodes brought, refusing to help when the episodes ended. What I appreciated even more was that Kyra, and in turn Marieke, made it very clear that when it comes to bipolar disorder there is no easy fix, no slipping the final puzzle piece in; instead, it's important to listen, to be there, to offer help. It's what the people of Krya and Corey's small town didn't realize, making this book all the more tragic yet all the more  of an important of a read. 

What made this book even more interesting as well as fast paced was not knowing what had happened to Kyra. Did she really committee suicide or was there something more sinister at play? That's the question Corey, Kyra's best friend, looks to answer as the novel progresses. Like Kyra, I came to love Corey. Corey's lost, scared, and uncertain. This town used to be her home, but now everyone looks at her with confusion, like she's a stranger rather than a former member of the community. I thought Marieke did such an amazing job of bring Corey's emotions to life, and I felt for her so much. It's horrible to lose a loved one, but it's even worse to lose them under such a cloud of mystery. Throughout Before I Let Go Corey mulls over the typical questions involved with the death of a loved one. Should she have done more? Did Kyra come to resent her for leaving? If she had come back, if she had answered Kyra's letters, would everything have been different? It was heartbreaking yet realistic. 

Another aspect that I enjoyed about Before I Let Go was the atmosphere. It was dark, desolate, and even a tad bit scary, especially given the Alaskan setting. The town and its citizens were bizarre. Throughout the book I was left utterly stunned. How could these people treat their own so poorly? To say that it was just her time to go...to just let it be? 

Overall, Before I Let Go isn't an easy read - at times I had a hard time trudging through - but it's so vastly worthwhile. I can't wait to talk more about it come its January 2nd release.

5 stars!! 

Before I Let Go is now out! 

Source: eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley - thanks Sourcebooks! 

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  1. Glad you loved this - I've been seeing a lot of negative reviews so it was good to read a positive one!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

  2. Wow, everything about this sounds wonderful and I almost bought it the other day. I will have to now. Lovely review!!!

  3. This sounds really heart-breaking! I love the Alaskan setting, it's not one I normally see. And I like that it doesn't shy away from the issue of mental illness.

  4. Wow! This sounds terrific and emotional. I have heard really good things about her writing, so I need to give her a chance for sure. I'm glad you took a chance on this one and loved it.

  5. I am actually more excited to read this now. Reviews have been lukewarm, but you tend to like a lot of the same books as me. So, now I feel good about this. Great review!

  6. I have seen a lot of mixed reviews about this one. I am so happy to see how much you enjoyed it. I think I might have to give it a try at some point.


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