“In Lost, difference comes at a price…”
Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp is a haunting thriller that will stay with the reader long after they turn the final page. It tells an emotional story of loss, grief and the inhumanity a community can condone in order to fulfil their selfish desires.
The main narrative is told from the perspective of Corey whose best friend, Kyra Henderson, tragically committed suicide by drowning in a lake in Lost, Alaska. Going back to her hometown to attend her best friend’s funeral, and to figure out why Kyra would commit suicide, Corey is confronted with a secretive town who turns away from her inquisitive curiosity. Spoiler alert: the town, including and perpetuated by Kyra’s parents, do this for self-preservation, greed that is underlined by a deep intolerance and misunderstanding of mental illness and the uniqueness of individuals.
The premise is one that promises suspense and an utterly compelling thriller. It does indeed do this, however, I felt as though the culmination of the storyline was anti-climactic and a complete disappointment. As the reader, you become emotionally invested in the relationship between Kyra and Corey, and you become caught up in the notion that finally, Kyra will have her justice. But that never happens. Corey just leaves Lost behind, run out by the townspeople. Nothing is ever done, and that was ultimately the most frustrating aspect to Before I Let Go. To the point where I’m not too sure I would necessarily recommend this book to anyone, as it honestly feels unfinished and rushed towards the end. The execution of the premise could have been much better, and that is fundamentally why I would rate this book 3 stars out of 5.
There are just too many unanswered questions and the ambiguous open ending leaves nothing to be desired. For a YA novel, it was an intense read, but again, one that could have been executed better than it was.
Until next time! Happy reading!