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Thursday, 9 May 2019

Review: Before I Let Go

Set in Alaska, a place simultaneously vast and claustrophobic, Nijkamp infuses the landscape with spirituality. The isolated town of Lost Creek reminded me of outback townships - dependent on mining dollars, situated on stolen lands, deeply insular and guarded against outsiders.

Corey returns to this community after a six-month absence for the funeral of her best friend Kyra.

Although familiar, there has been a seismic shift in the town of Lost Creek. Wanting answers about how Kyra could have fallen under the ice and drowned, the more Corey probes, the more hostility she encounters from people she once counted as friends.

Growing up, Corey had been Kyra’s only friend. Kyra’s bipolar disorder had unsettled the townspeople. Kyra had been ridiculed, shunned. But together Corey and Kyra had built a world which insulated them and kept Kyra stable.

Nijkamp skilfully portrays the deep friendship between adolescent girls who share dreams as vast as the northern lights above them. Nijakmp juxtaposes Kyra’s passion for stories and her empathy with the land and its history with the townspeople’s more materialistic priorities.

However, Nijkamp avoids the trap of romanticising Kyra’s mental illness. Kyra would have gladly rid herself of her terrifying condition. Corey had been Kyra’s interface with the world, and having to depart leaves her concerned for Kyra’s welfare.

Upon her return, Corey knows that she is being lied to. She has to patch together the incidents that occurred since she last set foot there, knowing that powerful people would go to any lengths to keep the town’s reputation safe.

Title: Before I Let Go
Author: Marieke Nijkamp  
Publisher: Sourcebook, $16.99
Publication Date:  13 July 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN:  9781492672548
For ages: 14+
Type: Young Adult Fiction 


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