cover image Before I Let Go

Before I Let Go

Marieke Nijkamp. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4926-4228-2

Nijkamp’s reflective examination on love and returning home pairs well with the haunting environment of Lost Creek, a tiny Alaskan town where strange things are known to happen. Corey and her family left Lost Creek seven months ago, and it’s been hard to leave behind her best friend, Kyra. Both girls grew up in Lost Creek, but Kyra’s mental illness drove a wedge between her and other residents, with Corey caught in the middle. Just before Corey’s planned trip back to Lost Creek, Kyra is found dead, leaving Corey just five days to uncover what happened and say goodbye to her friend. Told through a combination of flashbacks and present-day passages, this complex coming-of-age tale is hindered only by a repetitive fixation on Corey’s guilt and her musings on the concept of home. But this intense focus on Corey’s thoughts and feelings lets readers immerse themselves in her pain and her drive for answers; Nijkamp (This Is Where It Ends) has an uncommon talent for drawing readers deep into the psyches of her characters. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jennifer Udden, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Jan.)