REVIEW: Before I Let Go

by Marieke Nijkamp

Pages: 358
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: January 23rd 2018
Received From: Sourcebooks 

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...

This is one of those books that even after you've read the last page the story still haunts your every thought. I was lucky enough to be sent this book after hearing so many positive things from other bloggers and from the second I started reading I was hooked. Now, I know I say that a fair bit but there was something about Nijkamp's writing style that sucked me into the story and I felt like I was living these characters. Before I Let Go is an eerie and beautifully heartbreaking. It is a story you will want to read over and over again.

Before I Let Go follows Corey as she flies back to the town she used to call home for the funeral of her best friend Kyra. However, when Corey arrives in Lost everything is different, the town sees Corey as an outsider, speaking in whispers as she passes. As Lost mourns Kyra, Corey is left with a feeling that something isn't right. The town she left shunned her best friend but the one she has returned to speaks of Kyra as some kind of saint. Nothing makes sense in Lost anymore and the longer Corey stays and the harder she seeks the truth the more dangerous Lost becomes. There are secrets beneath the ice and as much as Corey needs to know the truth what she finds might be more than she can handle.

I honestly don't have a bad word to say about this book. The characters where brilliantly constructed, with ones you loath and others you love and some that will send shivers down your spine. Marieke Nijkamp is able to make the reader feel for these fictional characters as if they were real which is a skill of pure literary genius. The story is unpredictable and unravels into a chilling tale that will have you begging for a happily ever after that you suspect might never come.

The thing that got me about this story was the way in which the town treated Kyra in the time Corey is away. Before I Let Go is told predominantly by Corey but its Kryas story that runs through the heart of the book. I don't want to say too much as to spoil it but there was something quite archaic about how this small town dealt with a girl with a mental disorder, that at times made my skin crawl. It was the desperation of a family that needed to make sense of something too big for their comprehension and a town that found it easier to ignore the girl and simply see an object to be used that made this story unforgettable. As the story unfolded my heart broke for Kyra and forced me as the reader to really connect with the humanity running through the pages of this book.

Overall, this is one of those books that a month down the line I'm still reeling over. It was the most epic start to 2018 and YA this year has a lot to live up to. Before I Let Go is fasted paced, chilling, beautiful and completely unpredictable. It is one of those books that will have you up until the early hours of the morning NEEDING to know what happens next. If you haven't read this book yet I can not recommend it enough! 

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