The Last Song revolves around seventeen year old Ronnie Miller, who is sent by her mother to spend the summer after graduation with her ten year old brother, Jonah, visiting her father, Steve. Steve, a former Juilliard professor, had divorced Ronnie's mother, Kim, three years earlier and left New York City for his childhood home, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Ever since, Ronnie has refused to talk to him or to play their shared passion, the piano, and becomes a rebellious clubber. Upon arrival, Jonah immediately bonds with Steve over a stained glass window that Steve has been recreating for the local church after the original burned down in a mysterious arson. Ronnie, however, is hostile. At her request, Steve boards up his beloved piano and instead pursues his search for God's presence. He also begins writing a piano composition using a piano owned by the church, but struggles with its ending.
At the town's annual carnival, Ronnie collides with beach volleyball player Will Blakelee as he dives for a ball. Ronnie storms off and meets gothic Blaze, who befriends Ronnie and introduces her to Marcus, Blaze's emotionally abusive boyfriend, and his cronies, Lance and Teddy. The three thugs earn money by putting on fire juggling performances for beach crowds. Blaze is crushed when Marcus becomes interested in Ronnie, and retaliates by framing Ronnie for shoplifting and violating a probation agreement. Marcus offers to make Blaze confess if Ronnie has sex with him, but Ronnie refuses. Ronnie later confronts Blaze, and although Blaze admits she was wrong, she is trapped: she has been kicked out by her mother and is staying with Marcus, who forbids her to confess.
Steve surprises Ronnie by believing her when she tells him she was framed, and she begins to soften towards him. Steve shows Ronnie, a vegetarian and animal lover, a Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest Jonah found near their home. Ronnie vows to protect the endangered creatures, bringing her back in contact...
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