Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Cover Art Courtesy of Goodreads
I've heard so much praise for Marieke Nijkamp and her book This Is Where It Ends, although I haven't read it. I might in the future, but as a Virginia Tech graduate, stories of school shootings just sit wrongly with me. Before I Let Go however, was my opportunity to discover what this author was all about, through a safer (to me) story line. This story does chronicle depression and suicide, so I wanted to note this in case this is not a safe story line for some.

Before I Let Go follows Corey, a former Alaska native who has moved to Canada for school. As she prepares to return to her former home to visit her best friend Kyra, she receives the startling news that Kyra has committed suicide. Heartbroken and confused, Corey decides to keep her plans intact, returning to Lost Creek to try to get answers about Kyra's mysterious death and attend her memorial. But upon arriving, Corey discovers that things are not quite right. She doesn't know her town anymore, or the people in it. And worst of all, she doesn't understand why they suddenly idolized Kyra, a previous outcast due to her mental illness and outbursts. 

When Corey starts asking questions, the townspeople turn on her, claiming that she doesn't understand and that she abandoned Kyra in her time of need. As Corey pieces together what happened, she comes to realize that Kyra became a tool for the townspeople as they forced her to prophesize the future through her depressive painting episodes. Kyra fell more and more into herself as they exploited her illness, ultimately giving in to her depression and trying to escape, but the people of Lost Creek would not let her. Corey tries to bring the truth to light, but the townspeople make an attempt on her life and try to chase her away. All that Corey has left of Kyra are some possessions she left hidden for Corey to find. 

This book was a mental rollercoaster, that's for sure. Told through letters, first person POV, and even script format, the emotion is raw and real. The plot itself was  a little empty, but I think that was the point. It wanted to hone in on feelings versus actions.  I will say the different formats of writing were confusing and difficult to piece together. I think it was also a little too drawn out, this took me a lot longer to read than I was expecting, and although that is common for heavy books, it was not THAT heavy that I needed over 10 days to read it.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire for access to an advanced digital copy of this book! Before I Let Go releases on January 2nd, 2018!


  1. Sounds like a gut-wrenching, but good book.

  2. sounds like a thought-provoking and emotive read

  3. She really loves the gut-wrenching books. This one sounds like it probably isn't as good as her other. But growing up in the Columbine area, school shootings are a rough coverage for me, too.

  4. Wow, sounds like a really thought provoking read!

  5. I don't think this is a book I would pick up but that cover really draws you in!