The Last to Let Go

The Last to Let Go

For Ages: 14 - 99
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.
  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481480734 | 
  • February 2018 | 
  • Grades 9 and up
List Price $17.99 (price may vary by retailer)
In Stock: Usually ships within 1 business day
Buy from another retailer

Read an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

The Last to Let Go

By Amber Smith

About the Book

The final day of sophomore year promises to bring the much anticipated freedom Brooke Winters has been hoping for, until the unimaginable happens and her mother is arrested for the death of Brooke’s abusive father. Helpless against a judicial system that might spare their mother, Allison, and prevent the children from being left alone in the world, Brooke and her siblings—older brother, Aaron, and younger sister, Callie—try to make sense of their world. The heartbreaking struggle affects each of them in different ways, with significant consequences. Brooke is intent on clinging to the truth as she believes it: her mother will be released from prison, and their family will finally be free from the violent life they’ve always known. Brooke follows a downward spiral of denial, delusion, and self-deception as she hides the truth from herself and from those who care about her most. Only when Brooke learns to believe in herself and to understand the parameters of love does the courage to hang on become the courage to let go. This deeply compelling novel explores the internal psychological and emotional journeys of children jeopardized by domestic violence, and the heart and mind’s potential for positive change.

Discussion Questions

1. Brooke’s first-person narrative affects how we experie see more

More Books from this Author

Our Stories, Our Voices
The Way I Used to Be

About the Author

Amber Smith
Photo by Deborah Triplett

Amber Smith

Amber Smith is the New York Times bestselling author of the young adult novels The Way I Used to Be and The Last to Let Go. 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 two very spoiled dogs. You can find her online at