Title: Before I Let Go
Genre: Young Adult
Author: Marike Nijkamp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Synopsis: Days before Corey is to return home to the snow and ice of Lost Creek, Alaska, 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 Kyra’s 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…
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. A huge thank you goes out to Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this amazing copy of “Before I Let Go” and unfortunately due to technological problems, I was forced to post this review a little later than I planned. I’m truly sorry for this inconvenience.
Ok first off, can we just say PAGE TURNER?!?! It was soOO difficult for me to put this book down and even harder to prepare myself for the ending. But don’t worry, we aren’t to that part….yet. This is actually my first time reading a book written by Marieke Nijkamp, even though I have been dying to read her bestseller of “This is Where it Ends,” and I have to say, it was such a suspenseful read (in a OMG YESS way). I immediately took to the intriguing, edgy plot following a girl returning to her hometown where everything and everyone is completely different. I can honestly say that I have never read any other book that resembles this storyline in the slightest. The characters are eerie, the town is secretive, the past is blurry, while the present is just as confusing. Reading this book is like standing at the edge of a cliff with sharp rocks at the bottom, waiting to shish kabob you. This is the kind of story that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wanting more, and staying up all night, just trying to find out where it all leads and how it all ends.
One aspect I really appreciated in this book is the diversity among Nijkamp’s character’s. There were no true ‘perfect’ characters. Each had their own strengths and struggles. Parents went through denial and depression, while others had moved on into acceptance. There are people who had truly changed, when others are just as doll-like as before. Corey was more on the rational side of things, while Kyra was this artistic dreamer, who had also been diagnosed as bipolar. In my eyes, Nijkamp made it a point to focus a part of this story explaining how being bipolar works (through Kyra’s character). I actually took psychology last year and had a lesson one people who struggled with bipolar disorder. Let me tell you, it’s one thing to read a book definition of bipolar, but to actually read someone’s own words on what they go through with this mentality? It’s eye-opening.
“Life just seems a lot easier when you’re…”
“When I’m manic and bursting with energy? 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 committed to paper, because otherwise they’ll claw their way out through my skin.”
“It isn’t easier when life goes flat, either. When my moods turn dark and it feels like the sun won’s rise again.”
Now, while it breaks your heart, it also makes you think, “Holy crap, this person is strong as hell.” It gives you a whole new perspective on what people with bipolar disorder really go through. So, huge Kudos to you, Marieke Nijkamp, for writing about this and helping bring awareness to this mental disorder.
Then the diversity also ranges in the relationships that are introduced throughout the story. Straight, not so straight, bisexual, you name it. Nijkamp writes about the struggles of coming out, as well as being rejected for it. There are times where it will work out, and times where the other person just doesn’t feel the same. Being in love with your best friend? Check. My personal favorite couple was Roshan and Sam because OMGKJNSFJKF THEY WERE ADORABLE TOGETHER and it made my inner romance geek squeal and go like ❤ ❤ <3.
“So this is why the sheriff’s son smiles.”
Now while this book made my heart twist in all the right ways, there were just some parts I wasn’t too fond of…
- Certain POV’s in this story was either confusing, irrelevant, or pointless. This story is mainly from Corey’s Pov (first person), but there are specific parts where POV’s change. I normally wouldn’t care, but these changes in narration were jsut confusing. The parts where the phone calls are in play, are just too distant. You can easily get lost with keeping track of who’s who, and it’s just sort of awkward to try to understand emotions just by dialogue alone…You really can’t. It would have been much more relatable and emotionally capturing if the phone calls were in Corey POV, and describing how she felt receiving the news during the call, instead of just pure dialogue back and forth.
- Another awkward POV change was in a few chapters when the narration was like that of a play script…I just seriously don’t understand why even?? Am I missing the purpose here?? I’m honestly asking, not one bit sarcastic because if I am, I would love to know. I’m just truly confused to why certain parts are written like this. Here, let me give you an example.
“Corey strides down the center aisle toward the front of the room. Onstage, she glares at the crowd…”
Crowd: (Dead Silence.)
Aaron (to Corey: Go. Now.
- The last thing that kind of was off-setting for me was the ending. I won’t spoil it, because it’s well, the ending XD, but it just didn’t feel right. Let me say this. Corey basically risks her life finding out the truth, and then after she does, she does try to bring it with her when she leaves Lost Creek, but things don’t go as planned. I get it. I really do. However, to leave and just forget what had happened to you AND TO YOUR BEST FRIEND?!?!? The rational side of me is “Wtf, it’s time to go to the FBI and raid that freaking town and bring JUSTICE!!!!” And Corey is just like “Let’s just forget about it and never come back because I will forever remember how Kyra was before and that’s all that matters <3” Um. No. Just, no.
Overall, I give this book 3 and a half stars. I really enjoyed the story and how it brought diversity, disorder awareness, and that beautifully eerie plot, to the table. The writing style and descriptions were lovely, and I sincerely enjoyed my first book written by Marieke Nijkamp. I recommend this book to those who love those creepy, small towns, mysteries, a little bit of magic, and the genuine friendship between two girls.