Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Setting: Lost Creek, Alaska
Genre: Teen Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Release Date: January 2, 2018

I loved Marieke Nijkamp's past novel. That one tugged at my heart and had me thinking about the plot for months. I was very eager to read Before I Let Go. Sadly, I only found it to be okay. It wasn't something I'll remember in a month or two.

Corey and Kyra were two peas in a pod. Best friends for years, the two were inseparable in their small, remote Alaskan community. When Corey, her mother, and her brother left the village so that Corey could attend a boarding school, the pair counted the days until they would reunite.

Days before Corey is scheduled to visit Lost Creek, she gets a call that Kyra is dead. She was found frozen in the village's lake. Corey heads to Lost Creek to attend the funeral and uncover why Kyra was in a lake that should have been frozen over. There, she's treated like an outsider and made to feel very unwelcome by a community she was once a big part of.

Corey refuses to leave, as much as they want her to, until she has answers. Townspeople say Kyra killed herself. Corey needs to know why.

The setting in the book is detailed and made me feel like I was there. It's the town that turned me off. Their treatment of Corey was appalling. I couldn't like them. It made me not care about anything they had to say. I just wanted Corey to get out and go to her new life.

My other issue was the use of past and present. I found it hard to keep up with where the story was in terms of a timeline. You jump from present to past, but the jumps to the past are often told through Krya's letters. You could be weeks before her death or months. It grew tiring keeping up.

In the end, Before I Let Go ended up being a miss for me. It's an honest look at mental illness, but it never grabbed me as I'd hoped it would.


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