Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 2, 2018 (expected)
Genre(s): fiction, mystery, suspense, young adult
Format & Pages: e-book, 368
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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’m not going to lie, it was the cover image that initially drew me to Before I Let Go. It immediately grabbed by attention and prompted me to read the description, which further intrigued me to request a copy.
It took me a little while to get into this book, but slowly and surely, the way Nijkamp used language really hooked me. I loved the storytelling itself; the writing style, tone, and atmosphere created all really worked for me. I also quite liked the focus on stories within its pages, and the importance of passing stories down through generations to preserve a history and culture. Amidst the narrative, there were some chapters that consisted of letters or scripts. While the letters served the purpose of filling in backstory, the scripts didn’t push the narrative in any way. What they did, for me, was to drill down the importance of storytelling and the various formats we use to pass our stories on.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how well the actual story told worked for me. I felt like it skimmed the surface and lacked the depth I would have liked for these characters and their situation. Reading Before I Let Go definitely gave me vibes of Beartown, between the small town in a freezing setting and the tone created. That being said, this was decidedly a young adult read that didn’t have the level of complexity and characterization needed. In the end, I found myself a bit disappointed, lacking the closure I like to feel upon completing a book.
I don’t think I’ll ever go back to read Before I Let Go again, but I am definitely interested in reading more of Nijkamp’s work.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.