Guest Review: The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

The Summer of Letting Go Gae PolisnerThe Summer of Letting Go

Author: Gae Polisner
Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Pages: 272
Source: Edelweiss/Netgalley/Algonquin Young Readers
Rating: 4 out of 5

Just when everything seems to be going wrong, hope and love can appear in the most unexpected places.

Summer has begun, the beach beckons and Francesca Schnell is going nowhere. Four years ago, Francesca’s little brother, Simon, drowned, and Francesca is the one who should have been watching. Now Francesca is about to turn sixteen, but guilt keeps her stuck in the past. Meanwhile, her best friend, Lisette, is moving on most recently with the boy Francesca wants but can’t have. At loose ends, Francesca trails her father, who may be having an affair, to the local country club. There she meets four-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who bears an almost eerie resemblance to Simon, and Francesca begins to wonder if it’s possible Frankie could be his reincarnation. Knowing Frankie leads Francesca to places she thought she’d never dare to go and it begins to seem possible to forgive herself, grow up, and even fall in love, whether or not she solves the riddle of Frankie Sky. – GoodRead

The Summer of Letting Go is a younger YA novel, but it had the ability to break my heart and mend it back together all at the same time. Powerful, unique, and overall breathtaking, The Summer of Letting Go is a must-read for readers who love tender stories.

Essentially, the best part about The Summer of Letting Go is the relationship between Francesca and Frankie. As a little background: Francesca’s 4 year-old brother Simon drowned two years ago at the beach on her watch, and she is riddled with guilt until she meets 4 year-old Frankie, who resembles Simon in the uttermost similar way. She ends up babysitting him for the duration of the summer, and their relationship grows strongly from there. I am astonished by the bond between this teenage girl and toddler boy– it’s so genuine and heartwarming. Frankie’s innocence and Francesca’s care for him squeezed my heart and tugged at my heartstrings most definitely.

Furthermore, Francesca’s growth in character also plays a significant role in the story. Starting out as someone who wasn’t willing to let go of her guilt, Frankie helped in allowing her to accept her brother’s death and move on. I also was intrigued by the reincarnation aspect of the story, and the mystery behind it.

The only minor complaint I have for The Summer of Letting Go is the romance. I have a love-hate relationship with the romance in this story because while I understand that it is there to make it seem more realistic for a real teenage girl’s life, I think it pulled the attention away from the main part of the story, Frankie & Francesca. Romance plays a huge role in a teenager’s life, but I don’t think it was necessary in the story at all.

All in all, The Summer of Letting Go is a heartwarming story that will induce readers to think about responsibility, life, and how to live it. Although the romance detracted from the main relationship in the story, I still highly recommend this story if you’re in for some tears of grief, joy, and everything in between.

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