Review: The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith  
Release Date: February 6, 2018 
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary 
SourceARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
A twisted tragedy leaves Brooke and her siblings on their own in this provocative new 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.


Gritty, emotionally charged YA is a favorite of mine so as soon as I caught wind of Amber Smith's The Last to Let Go I knew I had to read it.

There are many aspects of The Last to Let Go that I loved; however, I thin
k my favorite aspect was  the characters. I love reading books about siblings, especially when they're so vastly different, and that rang true here.

Brooke, the narrator, is the middle child. She's quiet and bookish, spending the majority of her time doing school work rather than making friends and going out. There was something I liked about Brooke from the get-go. She's dealt with a lot of bad in her life - specifically at home - yet there's something still so pure about her. She has a hopeful way of looking at life, and I gave her props for that, but at the same time, she deals with her fair share of struggles, such as her changing relationship with her siblings, the confusion she feels over her mother's actions, her ever-changing relationship with Dani, a girl she meets at school, and the desire she has for a home rather than a house. I couldn't help but root for Brooke, and while sometimes I wanted to yell at her, especially when she pushed away the people who cared the most, I understood her actions. She had fire to her that's for sure, and she's definitely someone I would want fighting on my side. Callie and Aaron, Brooke's siblings, also worked their way into my heart. Callie was the most complex out of the three - it was hard at first to pinpoint her opinion on the accident - but like Brooke, she craves a home as well as normalcy. Aaron, the oldest, was strong. I loved the bond between him and Brooke, and I gave him major props for stepping up for his sisters.

The majority of The Last to Let Go focuses picking up the pieces and moving on from the accident that happened in the first few pages. What happens between Brooke's dad and mom is ripped from the headlines - wife kills abusive police officer husband - and it broke my heart to know that this is something that happens to families like Brooke's in real life. What I appreciated here, though, was the fact that Amber didn't present this as a black-and-white situation. Instead, she showed the grey areas  as well. It was especially interesting to see how the siblings reacted to the accident- some sided with the father while others sided with the mother. It was interesting to say the least, because originally I thought it would be a very cut-and-dry situation. The court trial, especially, blew me away - it didn't go at all like I had anticipated. I also enjoyed seeing Brooke experience a series of firsts throughout the book - her first party, her first love, her first meeting with her grandmother. This book may've started with the accident, but the coming-of-age that Brooke experienced is what really stole the show, in my opinion.

Beautifully written as well as deeply moving, The Last to Let Go is a fantastic addition to contemporary YA. I can't wait to read more by Amber Smith. 

4 stars!!


  1. I thought this was really excellent too. I went in thinking I could predict how the story would go but I was completely wrong and I loved that.
    Jen Ryland Reviews

  2. You have made it really sound so good!

  3. I've heard that this one was a fantastic read and very emotional too. I need to prepare myself for books like this one. I'm glad you liked it!

  4. I so agree with what you said about showing the grey of the situation. I also liked that Smith did that.


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