Saturday, April 14, 2018

Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Title: Before I Let Go
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Year Published: 2018


Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 349
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map)USA (AK)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money


Summary (from the inside flap of the book): She was my best friend, my everything. And I lost her.

Corey and Kyra didn't fit in with the other kids in their small Alaskan town, but they fit together. And they were inseparable. So when Corey's family has to move away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter. To wait for her return.

Except days before Corey is to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated--and confused. The entire 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. Lost is keeping secrets. Chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend is as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter...
Review: I bought this at the same time as This is Where It Ends, also by Nijkamp, which I reviewed last week with a strong review. This book wasn't as successful for me even though I thought it was good. In fact, at first this book didn't work for me because it has some magical realism and for me, that's a turn off. But something made me keep reading and in the second half I kept turning the pages to find out what happens, to see if more was revealed about Kyra's life. And it was.

Corey and Kyra's friendship isn't anything unusual; they are best friends who promise to stay in touch when Corey leaves. But they don't. Kyra writes letters that aren't always sent and Corey doesn't reply. Kyra's bi-polar diagnosis confuses and scares the town of Lost; they don't know what to do with her. And so they ignore her. Or so it was before Corey moved away.

But when Corey's arrival in Lost she comes to find that Kyra became a prophet-like character for the citizens of Lost, they locked her away, but wanted too much from her. It's definitely an odd story, one that is filled with fear, mental illness, friendship, secrets, and the idea of "other." There is also grief. So much grief. I think it's an important story to tell: how does mental illness affect the person, their family, their small town, their friendships? How can we help those who suffer be happy? I am so glad that the author lists resources at the back of the book.

Challenges for which this counts: 



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