The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith is the kind of book teens need in their lives. For some, it will provide solace that their experiences and feelings are not unique in the universe. For others, it will hopefully promote some much-needed empathy.

Here is the book’s official synopsis:

How do you let go of something you’ve never had?

Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind.

But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own.

In a year of firsts—the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom—Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go.

I loved Smith’s debut novel, The Way I Used to Be, and once again, she does not shy away from tackling truly intense topics – and showing that you don’t heal overnight from a tragic event.

Smith has a knack for digging deep into the emotions of her characters, and capturing the up-and-down nature of a life disrupted. Because even though Brooke’s life goes on, it is not the life she has known or the life she was expecting. Throughout The Last to Let Go we see her struggling to navigate her new world, confront her conflicted feelings about her father’s death and her mother’s role in killing him, and her tumultuous relationships with her siblings and friends.

Something about The Last to Let Go didn’t resonate with me quite as strongly as The Way I Used to Be — maybe it was my mood when I read it; maybe I couldn’t relate to the character as well. I’m not sure — but it is still an excellent book, and is the kind of book that is needed, and was certainly worth reading.

Look for The Last to Let Go in stores February 6th.

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