Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp

Posted 7 February, 2018 by Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms in Reviews / 24 Comments

*I received a free copy of Before I Let Go from Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *

Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke NijkampBefore I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on 2 January 2018
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 358
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
3 Stars

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...

Before I Let Go is a very strange story – dealing with grief, a touch of something maybe paranormal, and friendship.

Review - (un)Conventional Bookviews


Corey is just getting ready to go back home, to her small town in Alaska to see her best friend. However, her friend isn’t around to be seen anymore. Kyra dies before Corey makes it back, and Before I Let Go shows all the different emotions Corey goes through. She feels a lot of guilt, because she hasn’t written to Kyra as often as she had said she would. She is also very sad. And a bit angry. And most of all, she just can’t understand how Kyra could have died that way.

Once Corey arrives in Lost Creek, she feels out of place. She feels unwanted. And she definitely feels lost. Before I Let go is a strange story, because even as we follow Corey’s journey through grief and disbelief, there are other subjects lurking as well. Kyra’s parents are a big question mark. As are the people who live in Lost Creek. Corey feels like she has been erased from the population just because she went away to college.

Before I Let Go also deals with mental illness, but in a way that felt a bit off to me. Because no actual diagnosis was given. Nor was Kyra followed by doctors. And that definitely made me feel rather removed from the story and the strange plot.


Corey has a lot to deal with once she arrives back in Lost Creek. The loss of her best friend is the biggest, of course. But she also has to deal with how the villagers view her – and how they talk about Kyra now that she’s dead. Corey also has trouble understanding whom she can trust. As strange things keep happening.

Writing style :

First person present tense for parts of Before I Let Go, while other passages are in third person, past tense narrative. There are letters, post cards, dialogues, and flashbacks to a distant past, diary entries and more.

Feels :

I felt confused. Even as I felt Corey’s grief, I still felt confused more than anything else.


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

About Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms

Linda is an English as foreign language teacher and has a Master's degree in English Language and Literature. She's an avid reader, blogger, compulsive one-clicker and a genre omnivore. Ever since she learnt how to read she has been seen with a book or two in her hands everywhere she goes.

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24 responses to “Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp

  1. It kinda sounds like this could have been a great read but maybe it couldn’t decide what it wanted to be? Things weren’t fully fleshed out or the author didn’t follow through fully? I don’t like finishing a book and feeling confused. I’m glad you found some enjoyment in it, wifey, even if it didn’t tick all the boxes.
    *smooches* & {{{BIG HUGS}}}

  2. I have heard a lot about this author because I believe she is a Dutch writer who is doing well in the English publishing industry! I know her other book was very popular, but it sounds like this one is very difficult to understand? I think it will be hard hitting with the emotions and you seem to have understood the grief side of things although the rest got a bit confusing…

  3. okay the way you described the story I thought it was going to go in a different direction, did not peg it for a mental illness. Not sure how I would feel that there is no real diagnosis though

  4. I know this book is kind of confusing.. I loved it but I uderstand it will leave many people with lots of questions and not knowing how to rate it really. I loved the unique tone. It sets the book apart from other stories.

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