ARC Review: Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go


I was excited to read the new story by Marieke Nijkamp as I liked her first book, This Is Where It Ends. I liked that story but was not in love with that story. It still made me curious to read her next novel, regardless of my feelings on her first.

Short recap: Corey’s best friend, Kyra, died under mysterious circumstances and the town of Lost Creek, Alaska wrote it off to suicide. Corey knew her best friend was ill with bipolarism and knew her well enough to know she would never commit suicide. Corey travels back to Lost Creek for two reasons: to pay respects to her best friend and to find out what really happened.

This was a wild ride of a story. I had my own ups and downs while reading this. It was a quick read but there were some things that just felt… obscure. I’ll explain but first I’m going to talk about the characters. There is only one real character in this story with several supporting characters. The entire story is told from Corey’s POV. Corey is absolutely torn at the loss of her best friend. Corey moved out of her home town to go to college and experience life, while Kyra was “stuck” in Lost Creek. To help deal with her manic episodes, Kyra would paint for hours, sometimes days at a time. I loved the relationship that these two best friends had. No matter what, Corey had Kyra’s back. But as the story developed and moved along, it seemed Corey grew farther away from Kyra who desperately needed her best friend. I don’t fault Corey for wanting a chance at a normal life outside of that weird town but it seemed she took her Kyra’s always being there for her for granted. There was a slew of supporting characters but none of them really stood out for me. It seemed everyone in that town was drinking spiked Kook-Aid. I half expected them to start chanting “One of us. One of us” while sparks were shooting out of their necks.

The one thing about the story that started to grate on my nerves was the constant repetition. I’m all for reminding the reader about certain aspects of the story, but the way Corey was going over the same points over and over started to annoy me. I knew Kyra was bipolar and was being refused treatment by her parents. I knew the girl isolated herself to help deal with her manic episodes. I knew the girl wanted to “collect stories” and paint as a way to deal with her bipolarism. I knew Kyra was alone and wanted more out of life but felt trapped. What I did not need was to have these points and more told back to me every other page. What I wanted more of was a thickening of the plot. I think I may have missed the part of the story where everything clicked for Corey. It might have been so subtle that I honestly missed it. One moment Corey was trying to find out what happened and in the next she understood. I may have to go back to find out what I missed.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I really did enjoy this book. The way Marieke portrayed a town that was so close knit that they didn’t approved of “outsiders” was very well done. I come from a super small town so I understood that aspect of the story. What I didn’t truly get was how or why this town went from not accepting Kyra to saying that her art brought the town together. Maybe I won’t ever understand that part, who knows? As I always say: not ever book is for ever reader.

Overall, I did like this book. I enjoyed Marieke’s words and the way she weaves a tale. I will always be a reader of her books and I will always encourage everyone to read her books. I feel this book was better than her first book so please, give it a try if you have not already.



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