The Last to Let Go (Hardcover)

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The Last to Let Go By Amber Smith Cover Image

The Last to Let Go (Hardcover)


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Staff Reviews

In The Last To Let Go, the main character, Brooke Winters, has dreamed of leaving her past behind. She has a pretty dysfunctional family, which will hinder that dream. After coming home from school, she finds out that her mother has killed her abusive father, the only witness is her sister. 

— Student at Crown Pointe Academy in Westminster, CO

A book that starts with a horribly tragic event and pulls the reader into the pages immediately. Once you're tugged into the storyline, you are exposed to the importance of family, even dysfunctional, messed up families. It is about a girl in her junior year of high school that has to learn how to weather the ups and downs of big and little changes while still figuring out who she is and what she can become. As a reader, you get the chance to watch a young lady evolve into what she wants to be but is afraid to be, finding the strength to finally be herself through the acquaintance of a new friend. It is a book where the name of the game is first time experiences and how to navigate the new to find the possibilities behind them. I truly enjoyed this book.

— Natalie, English teacher at Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch, CO

“Heartwrenching.” —VOYA (starred review)

“Beautiful, captivating prose.” —RT Book Reviews

A twisted tragedy leaves Brooke and her siblings on their own in this provocative novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be.

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.
Amber Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels The Way I Used to Be, The Last to Let GoSomething Like Gravity, and The Way I Am Now. An advocate for increased awareness of gendered violence, as well as LGBTQ equality, she writes in the hope that her books can help to foster change and spark dialogue surrounding these issues. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, and now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her wife and their ever-growing family of rescued dogs and cats. You can find her online at

Product Details ISBN: 9781481480734
ISBN-10: 1481480731
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Pages: 384
Language: English
* “Smith’s deeply felt sophomore effort (following The Way I Used to Be, 2016) explores the rippling effects of domestic violence and its ability to carry through generations…Vivid characterizations of the extended family Brooke gets to know, along with others who people her first year on her own, bring the story to life.”
— Booklist, starred review

* "Heartwrenching."
— -VOYA, starred review

The Last to Let Go is a deeply touching, heart-rending look at lives caught in the trap of domestic violence. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.” -Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

"Complex and nuanced."
— BN Teen Blog

“Smith will take readers’ breaths away with every vivid sentence… [she] boldly explores this very serious, very real topic through beautiful, captivating prose.”
— RT Book Reviews

“A well-crafted and honest look at family issues and a good pick for fans of Sara Zarr and Laurie Halse Anderson. Highly recommended.”
— School Library Journal

“This emotionally charged story is a pitch-perfect portrait of complicated families.”
— The Children's Book Review

"The ups and downs [Brooke] faces are one hundred percent relatable and demonstrate that, even in the face of pain and anger, hope is the one thing that cannot be taken from us."
— The Mary Sue

“A fantastic read.”
— Culturess

"The hopeful story of a brave young girl’s journey to self-acceptance.”
— Hypable