Title: The Last to Let Go
Author: Amber Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT+, Mental Health
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication date: February 6th, 2018
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 think about this time next week, this time next month, this time next year, five years, ten years from now, measuring out the distance to a time when things will be normal, when things will make sense, when things will be right again.”
Oh my, this was such a roller coaster of emotions! To be completely honest with you, I had no idea what this book was about. It’s true that when I first read the synopsis I was pretty intrigued and immediately added to my TBR, but because my brain tends to forget important things about premises, well, I went into it knowing nothing, which was so good.
I want to first thank the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of this book, because I really enjoyed it and lately I’ve been wanting to read more mental health books that deal with abuse. Though I had a few issues with some of the characters and when it came to the plot, I have to say I was pretty impressed with The Last to Let Go.
“Being in the present is like coming up for air, and coming up for air only makes me realize I’ve been suffocating. Easier not to breathe at all, like maybe with enough practice I can learn to live underwater like those acuarium fish, lie myself into believing things are okay, that this is what life is supposed to be.”
Now if you’re looking for a light, fast contemporary, this is not for you. It was really slow and sometimes I couldn’t help but think that not much was really happening, and it’s one of those books you kind of need to push yourself a bit to continue, but once you’re halfway through, things start to make sense and take a more solid form.
It was purely focused on the characters and how each sibbling (or closer family friends and relative) dealt with loss and death, but mostly since we were reading from Brooke’s POV, we knew more what she was feeling and how she tried to deal with what happened at the beginning of the story. That being said, I really loved the overall development of Brooke’s character, and basically how each sibbling reacted differently to the same event. However, I have to say that sometimes she was quite frustrating and selfish, and I just didn’t connect that much with her as I hoped.
There was also a really adorable f/f romance, and let me tell you, Dani was the sweetest girl ever and deserved the world. She was definitely one of my favourite characters of the book. That romance wasn’t the healthiest one with our main character’s current situation, but I ended up liking how the author did the whole thing, and I definitely would have loved to see more about them after the last few chapters of the book (really, Dani was super supportive and a really cool character!).
“People can change. I know I have. But people have to change themselves, you can’t make them change.”
Somehing I really appreciated was how supportive the mature figures in this book were. I’m so glad after the first few chapters where everything was not the best, I saw healthy and supportive realtionships between adults and those kids.
I also really liked the ending. Even though it didn’t surprised me or shocked me much, I still think it was a really heart wrenching and beautiful, and yes, I cried.
Overall, I think this was a really beautiful book about self discovery and loss, and though I had a few issues with the main character and a few minor things, I still really enjoyed it!
I recieved an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
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