- File Size: 1357 KB
- Print Length: 372 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (January 2, 2018)
- Publication Date: January 2, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B071W7BQ6H
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,275 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$9.99|
|Print List Price:||$10.99|
Save $4.70 (43%)
Before I Let Go Kindle Edition
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Preloaded Digital Audio Player, Unabridged
|Length: 372 pages||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled||Page Flip: Enabled|
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|Age Level: 14 - 17||Grade Level: 8 - 12|
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"With exceptional handling of everything from mental illness to guilt and a riveting, magic realist narrative, this well wrought, haunting novel will stick with readers long after the final page." - Booklist
"This sophomore novel from Nijkamp will haunt readers... The honest reflection of mental illness, suicide, friendship, and being an outsider provides ample topics for book discussion." - School Library Journal
"[A] reflective examination on love and returning home... Nijkamp (This Is Where It Ends) has an uncommon talent for drawing readers deep into the psyches of her characters. " - Publishers Weekly --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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Corey and Kyra's friendship felt so real and important and somehow both strong and fragile, like a Prince Rupert's drop. I've had a friendship like that (though it looked different), so I appreciated seeing that tension on page.
I really appreciated Eileen, Roshan, Sam, and Aaron as side characters. And of all the other people in Lost, I found Piper in particular to be the creepiest.
I do wish we knew more about Corey. I feel like I know her voice really well as a reader, and her relationship with Kyra over the past few years, but I only know a few other facts or stories about her. But ultimately, this feels like a book about Kyra and Corey-and-Kyra more than one about Corey, so maybe that's okay.
I liked the asexual representation, but I wished Corey's questioning about her romantic orientation came through more clearly.
It takes a lot to rattle me, but rattle me Before I Let Go did. The townspeople's actions towards Corey are not just discomforting but downright sinister. It is difficult to envision an entire town ganging up on one of their own, making threats, and going out of their way to cause as many problems for the returnee as possible, and yet this is what happens to Corey. The unbelievability of it all as well as the sinister undertones make for damn uncomfortable reading.
Corey adds to your discomfiture by being a rather whiny character. She is completely unable to accept the truth until it is almost too late, long after you have already figured out what happened. Her unwillingness to see what is right in front of her is frustrating, especially as it causes her to make some poor choices. She also spends a lot of time contemplating her friendship and what it means to be a friend. We do get some good insight out of this, especially as it pertains to someone with a mental illness. However, the rest of the novel does not fit with this more internalized story. It is as if in Corey, the author tried to create a story within a story even though the two clash more than blend.
My overall problem with Before I Let Go is that I have no idea what it is meant to be. Is it a cautionary tale about friendship? Is it a thriller? Is it supposed to be realistic? Is it just supposed to be entertaining? Throwing me off even more is the introspection Corey does as she tries to learn more about what happened to Kyra. Does this make it a coming-of-age story? I just do not know, and this bothers me. I usually enjoy stories that cross multiple genres at once, but this leaves me perplexed. The two stories - why/how did Kyra die and how Corey is handling it - are not tightly woven together but appear as separate and distinct. Add in the creepy and highly unrealistic town transformation and you have a novel that is as confusing as it is disturbing.
The townspeople and their actions are so creepy and the story is so dark that I finished Before I Let Go with a sigh of relief and thankful to be able to put it behind me. This is not because the story is shocking. The answers, when you finally obtain them, are not much of a surprise even if they are as odd as you suspect they will be. I suspect my relief was more due to the fact that I was done with this weirdly unrealistic novel masking as contemporary fiction and could move on to more pleasant reading, which is not how you should ever want to feel finishing any story.