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The Last to Let Go

Review

The Last to Let Go

A young adult novelist, art consultant, and advocate for abuse awareness, Amber Smith is the author of the award-winning 2016 release THE WAY I USED TO BE. Her newest release, THE LAST TO LET GO, and all of her books, aim to change the conversation around abuse in our society.

Brooke Winters is a high school junior hoping to improve her life by transferring schools, succeeding academically and maintaining her relationships with her siblings. When her mom kills her abusive father one day while she is at school, Brooke must grapple with the history of abuse in her family and decide which pieces of her former life are worth keeping around. She is forced to navigate new friendships, relationships, court hearings, the death of her father and so much more.

"By flawlessly challenging our society’s characterization of abuse, Smith has crafted a poignant and un-put-down-able read. I would recommend it to those desiring to increase their social awareness."

THE LAST TO LET GO is an emotional story that tackles putting yourself back together when everything you have ever known has suddenly fallen apart right in front of you. Brooke was a relatable character because she was very strong but also incredibly stubborn and prone to mistakes like all of us. She offered at some points a cynical view on life and at other times a hopeful message. By surviving so much and still maintaining her internal drive and need to succeed, Brooke is genuinely a go-getter. It was also critical that Smith included the broad impacts of recent events on Brooke and how much they affected her. Having caused me to reflect on her struggles, I believe that Smith’s books have increased my social awareness.

THE LAST TO LET GO relays Brooke’s story as a self-discovery full of internal and external conflict, unsureness of oneself and, ultimately, an inspiring comeback. Brooke’s sibling were all struggling in their own ways, and those differences exemplified the different impacts of abuse. Multiple people continued to reach out to help Brooke, but she was understandably extremely resistant for a while. The friends and romantic relationship that she was able to have at her new school showed how intrinsic friends could be for emerging from a low point in your life. Even at the hardest points in her life, she has a network of support that she only had to realize was there.

Amber Smith is an author that has a goal in mind for the message of her book and achieves it nearly flawlessly. Having read her first book and being incredibly impressed with her ability to write socially-relevant characters and plots, I had very high expectations going into her new novel. I am thrilled that it met all of my expectations. Smith has a way of truly opening up her readers’ minds to situations they may never have been exposed to. Both of her books have taken a form of abuse and explored its effect on the lives of the people exposed to it. By flawlessly challenging our society’s characterization of abuse, Smith has crafted a poignant and un-put-down-able read. I would recommend it to those desiring to increase their social awareness. Please know that abuse is heavily featured in this novel, so keep that in mind when deciding whether this book is a good fit for you to read.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on February 27, 2018

The Last to Let Go
by Amber Smith