Today we're excited to chat with Amber Smith (The Last To Let Go)
as part of YABC's Teen Read Week!
Read on for more about Amber, her novel, plus a giveaway!
Meet Amber Smith!
Meet The Last To Let Go!
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.
~ Interview for Teen Read Week ~
YABC: What do you love most about the YA genre?
I love that YA is so expansive—it includes everything from historical fiction to contemporary, to sc-fi and fantasy, to romance to dystopian. But most of all I also love that YA pushes boundaries; it is honest and diverse and socially conscious. Nothing is off limits in YA, and I think it’s so important that there’s a space where anything and everything is fair game.
YABC: Was there a class in high school that you wished you had paid closer attention to and why?
This might come as a surprise, but the ONLY class I have ever failed in my entire life (all through high school, college, and even grad school), was my eleventh grade creative writing class! I had written a (very thinly veiled) short story about a girl (aka: me) who was suffering with depression. I remember when I got the story back, my teacher had written across the cover page, in angry red pen, that my story (which was really my story) was “indulgent,” “juvenile,” and “self-pitying.” Which, hey, it really might have been, but...I was 16 and clearly going through something, and really didn’t need what felt to me like a personal attack from one of my teachers! I was so upset about it that I simply stopped showing up to class, stopped doing any assignments, and eventually, failed. At the time I thought I was taking some kind of a stand, but I was really only hurting myself. I was giving this teacher, and her (to this, day, baffling) comments, power over me. It ended up making me feel like I couldn’t be a writer, or that the things I wanted to write about (the hard stuff) weren’t worthy subjects. Looking back, I wish I would’ve stayed in that class and just continued writing all the sick, depressed, angry words I wanted! Maybe I wouldn’t have learned a whole lot about writing from this teacher, but I think I still could’ve learned a lot about myself, had I not given up on it.
YABC: Which social media site do you wish had been available to you as a teen and why?
What advice would you give teens who might want to be a writer? Read as much as you can, and as widely as you can; don’t be afraid of getting it wrong the first time (that’s what revision is for!); share your work with those whose opinions you trust and value; listen to your own inner voice, and let that voice guide your writing.
YABC: What book from your younger years do you still recommend today?
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
YABC: What 3 YA books would you love to recommend to our readers?
These were some of my favorite recent reads: The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, and All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.
The Last To Let Go
By: Amber Smith
Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/McElderry Books
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*