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Monday Memos: Book Review of ‘Before I Let Go’ by Marieke Nijkamp

“She took my heart and held it safe. She promised to wait for me, with words that echo in my mind and tender touches that I can still feel on my skin”Corey from ‘Before I Let Go”.


Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a new book by New York Times Bestselling Author Marieke Nijkamp. You may recognize Marlene’s name due to the popularity of her 2016 debut book ‘This Is Where It Ends’, as well as the editor of the anthology Unbroken: 13 Stories Starting Disabled Teens which will be released in the fall of 2018. Today we have the privilege of reviewing her latest book ‘Before I Let Go’, which was released on January 2, 2018 and was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire. This will be a spoiler free review however I will discuss how the ending affected my opinion of the book. So now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!


‘Before I Let Go’ is a Young Adult suspense novel surrounding the suicide of a bi-polar young teenage girl name Kyra in the small town of Lost, Alaska. When Kyra’s best friend Corey returns to Lost after moving away for several months, she begins to realize that the town is very different than she remembered. Corey is shocked to find that she is now treated like an outsider by people who have known her for her entire life, and feels that there is an aura of secrecy surrounding the town. However the thing that Corey finds the most shocking is the fact that everyone in town speaks very highly and lovingly of Kyra, despite the fact that Corey always saw that everyone in town mercilessly tease and abused Kyra her entire life. Corey begins to suspect that there is more to Kyra’s death than what she has been lead to believe, so she decides to investigate the story herself. Throughout the story Corey finds out dark secrets about the town and herself that she had never considered before. Corey also finds that she has enemies and allies in the town that will play an important role in uncovering the truth.


So now we’ve reached the point in the review where I tell y’all if you should buy this book or not. Honestly, this book is a little difficult to recommend because it was a solid 5 star read until I reached the ending of the book. Now this book does have some problems throughout, such as the fact that Corey is not a very likeable protagonist because of the way she treated Kyra after she moved (which is made even worst by how mentally ill Kyra is, and the fact that Corey knows this but still treats her this way). The book also contains several pages where the writing suddenly changes to a script style (like a play would have) which was really jarring and completely unnecessary to the story because it didn’t tie in with anything. However a positive point of this book is that we do get to see a lot of diversity with the inclusion of asexual, pansexual, and homosexual characters, as well as a very detailed accounting of Kyra’s mental illness that helps us really understand and fall in love with her character. The author truly does an amazing job of pulling you into the mystery of Lost and keeping you engaged throughout every twist & turn that comes our way. Unfortunately this is all ruined by the ending of the book. As soon as Corey solves the mystery we reach the climax of the book and then the story just ends. It does not resolve, it just ends. After all of the build up and great storytelling that the author does, this ending is just so disappointing that it honestly ruined the whole experience of the book for me. Because of this, I have to give this book a solid 2.5 smiley faces out of 5, which truly saddens me to do because this story deserved so much more.


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