Book Review & Author Interview | Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp | Blog Tour

Marieke Nijkamp Before I let go

Book Review & Author Interview | Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp | Blog Tour

Hey guys, I’m so excited to be on Marieke’s blog tour for Before I Let Go! This book was… so much. It was really hard to write this review as it got me feeling so many things…

Before I Let Go Marieke Nijkamp

It comes out today (23.1.18) So I really hope you enjoy my rambling thoughts on this book. There’s also an interview with Marieke at the end. I have to say, I loved the mention of the Writing Weasels in the acknowledgements! I went on a writing retreat with Marieke where a large portion of this book was written, and I’ve been excited to read it for a long time.

Before I Let Go Synopsis

Book Review & Author Interview | Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp | Blog TourBefore I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Buy on Book Depository

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town's lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she's a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter...


Before I Let Go Overview

Before I Let Go is a haunting tale of love, friendship and loss. There’s an almost supernatural feel the the mystery of it.

There is a lot of representation in Before I Let Go. It addresses Mental Illness and the stigma attached to it in a haunting way, which was chilling at times. I can’t vouch that it’s an accurate portrayal of bi-polar disorder, but it seems to be? Kyra is pansexual, and Corey believes she is asexual, which is great to see in YA and I believe it is done well. It really shed light on what young people go through when they do not quite conform to societies expectations.

I’m still not convinced about the nature of Kyra’s death, which is devastating in itself. The almost scary mystery of it kept me turning the pages constantly, I NEEDED to know what was going on, even as what I read was tearing me apart.


Before I Let Go Structure

The story is from Corey’s point of view as she returns to her small, secluded home town after her best friend has died. Things are definitely not as they seem, she’s treated like a stranger and it’s clear something dark and sinister has been happening in the town.

The story is told predominantly through Corey’s narrative, with random script-like sections interspersed, as well as dialogue only sections. It added to the confusion of the story, which made it all the more interesting.

Before I Let Go Characters

The characters are done so well. You really feel you’re on Corey’s journey of mourning. She blames herself, could she have done more? Is it her fault? Her frustration and despair as the town shuns her as she tries to figure out what happened is so raw. And poor Kyra, what she went through is just… no one should be treated that way. I really enjoyed getting to know her character through Corey’s memories.

I’m not going to say any more as I really believe this book just needs to be read, and I really don’t want to spoil anything for you.


Marieke Nijkamp

Interview with Marieke Nijkamp

1. Probably a really obvious question but I have to ask, how does it feel to have been on the NYT bestseller’s list for so long?

Frankly, wonderfully absurd, and I couldn’t be more grateful for all my readers and book champions. Goodness, the love for that book is sheer overwhelming. <3

2. You’re a champion for diversity, as anyone who follows you will know, why is diversity in the book community important to you?

Because books should reflect the world. They should be mirrors and windows and doorways. Because everyone deserves to have heroes–both fictional and in terms of creative professionals–who look like them, who share their experiences. And though I was always a voracious reader, I grew up knowing how lonely it is not to have that.

3. How important do you think it is for diversity the book community that an author with a disability such as yourself hit success?

I certainly hope my success will inspire other disabled writers!

5. What inspired you to write ‘This is where it ends’?

A very specific conversation I had with a friend of mine, on the heels of a number of high-profile shootings. Following that conversation. I realized I wanted to get a better understanding of school shootings. Of the human aspect of it. Of the stories we don’t usually hear (not the perpetrator’s, but the victims’, for example). TIWIE allowed me to explore all of those questions.

6. Before I let go is due out in January 2018, can you tell us a little about it?

BILG is a young adult thriller set during a cruel Alaskan winter. It’s the story of Corey, who goes back to her hometown of Lost Creek, to investigate her best friend’s death, and in doing so, she gets tangled up in the lies of the town and the different stories everyone tells.

7. Where did you get the inspiration for Before I Let Go from?

I wanted to write a story about winter and friendship, two of my favorite things. I wanted to write about stars and storytelling. I wanted to explore mental health and how we other people who are different. So, unlike TIWIE, there were a lot of things that inspired elements of this story. But like TIWIE, most of them came from questions I had. (But to include them here would be mildly spoilerific at best.) But all those elements came together when I discovered Corey and Kyra, and this haunting, insular town of Lost Creek, and it all fell into place from there.

8. Did you find it hard to write the next book after the success of TIWIE? Why?

I think any author’s second book is a challenge. It’s the first time you’re not purely writing for yourself anymore. It’s the first time you’re writing with an audience in mind, or a publisher, or with the knowledge of getting published. And if you’re like me and you write most of the book after your first book is released, it’s the first time you’re writing with the voices of readers in your head. All of that takes adjustment, and at times it was pretty difficult. But we got there in the end, and I’m so proud of this weird, little book.

9. What is your favourite part of the writing process?

Editing! I love it when I have all the puzzle pieces and I can work on slotting them together.

10. Finally have you got any advice for diverse writers that you’d wished you had known?

Find your community. Find fellow writers who will build you up instead of tear you down. Find fellow writers who believe in you even when you can’t. Find fellow writers who will love your stories as fiercely as you do. Because all of this is so much better with the right people at your side.


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