Before I Let Go
by Marieke Nijkamp
Published: January 2nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult Mystery
In a Flutter: Chilling and engaging
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…
Worldbuilding: Lost Creek, Alaska setting. Creepiness of small town with strange townspeople galore.
Characters: Corey and Kyra had a very close friendship. An odd match, maybe, the scientist and the artist, but such a close one. It’s interesting how Corey’s personality comes through in connection to Kyra’s presence or absence. Early on in the read I got the sense that it was maybe more than friendship there, especially on Kyra’s part. I felt this undercurrent of heartbreak to her. Jesus, some of these moments in the story gave me the chills for real.
Plot: The then and now structure of the timeline isn’t a fav of mine, but it builds a lot of suspense around Kyra’s death. Some parts of the story are tearjerkers. The mystery of her death is resolved in a heartbreaking way, and the end is good but terribly bitter – which I like, lol!
Writing: First person, present and past tense narrative, Corey’s POV. Such a vivid, vibrant voice!
Curb Appeal: Fab cover and hooking blurb – impulsive buy for my (rare) YA cravings.
I recommend Before I Let Go to fans of stories that feature mental illness, small town stories, glbtq+ themes, and dramatic mysteries.