Book Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp *****

When you are following a smash hit debut novel it could be a bit daunting for a new author. I loved Nijkamp’s first book (This is Where it Ends) and I must admit that I was a bit nervous picking up this one. How could it possibly compare with the sublime piece of young adult fiction that took the world by storm in 2016?

Set in Lost Creek, Alaska this is a very different setting but as soon as you start unfolding the characters you realise that nothing else has changed. In the depictions of best friends Kyra and Corey Nijkamp has blended a realistic and fatally flawed friendship that tugs at the heartstrings.

The book opens with Corey at her new boarding school. We learn that she has been neglecting her correspondence with Kyra, unable to share her new friendships and experiences with her isolated friend. When her mother phones with bad news Corey’s world falls apart. Kyra is dead. Was it a dreadful winter accident or a deliberate suicide?

Corey heads back to the remote small town where she grew up to attend Kyra’s funeral and to investigate for herself. She needs to know what has happened. What changed after she left Lost Creek that would leave Kyra feeling so low?

Before I Let Go is a lesson in friendship and the pain and joy to be found in first love. Adding in issues of mental illness and small town attitudes makes this a compelling read. Told from the point of view of both girls, Kyra’s notes to Corey are both spellbinding and bittersweet as she finds herself in a position that she can’t get out of. This is a beautiful story that raises so many more questions than it answers. In true Nijkamp style!

Supplied by Net Galley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.

UK Publication date: Jan 2 2018. 372 pages.

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