Before I Let Go

5 CDs. 5:45 hrs. Recorded Bks. Feb. 2018. $51.75. ISBN 9781501972232. digital download.
Gr 9 Up—Leaving your best friend when you're a teen is difficult and painful under any circumstance. When you know that friend has a bipolar illness and considers you the only person who understands, leaving is 10 times more difficult and painful. Corey moves from Lost Creek, AK, to a much bigger town in western Canada. Soon caught up in her new school and friends, she doesn't follow through with keeping in touch as much as she promised. Then, just before coming back to visit, she learns that her friend Kyra is dead. The circumstances surrounding her death and Corey's efforts to peel away layer after layer of silence and evasion by those in Lost Creek make up the bulk of this story. The narrative, which alternates between Kyra's mostly unsent letters and Corey's gradual realization of why and how her best friend died, certainly creates an abundance of emotions. The narration by Sandy Rustin and Jennifer O'Donnell enhances the dark atmosphere that seems to flow through this tiny Alaskan town. Listeners cannot help feeling an array of feelings, ranging from disbelief to anger, sorrow, loss and grief.
VERDICT The story works better as an audiobook because of how the narration paints the blend of emotional and physical creepiness. Not for those faint of heart, but good for libraries where teens appreciate dark tales with a touch of the supernatural.

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