Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner
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 s 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 hisreincarnation. 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.
Publishes in US: March 25th 2014 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Genre: Ya contemp
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I wanted to read the Summer of Letting Go because it sounded like quite the emotional journey and the tough issue of feeling responsible for your little brother's death had to be something that wasn't easy to overcome. I also was curious where the story would go as to the little boy in this world structure he was really incarnated, or she just placed her grief glasses on in regards to the little Frankie.
At first it appears that it is just an easy breezy beach story with Francesca being a third wheel to her best friend Lisette and the new boyfriend Bradley, who Francesca is also crushing on. Talk about drama. I wasn't sure if I could deal with that storyline, but I still stuck with it because I wanted to see how her healing process was going to go.
It took a bit for me to connect with Francesca like I wanted to. Her emotions seemed closed off, that she talked about the events and her feelings and it should have had an impact on me, but it didn't for a while. But again, I stuck with it because I wanted to see her relationship with little Frankie who reminds her of Simon, her deceased brother.
The idea that her brother was somehow in Frankie Sky was an interesting premise as Simon died on the same day Frankie was born. They act and look in similar ways and there is the love of the frogs. I think that her resolution was what most kept me invested in the story as well Frankie Sky's personality and precociousness.
The cheating and lying and mistrust between her and Lisette, her and her family and her dad's possible affair all kept the story moving and drama filled. The best friend relationship though is sacred to me and while I know that things like this happen in the real world I know it is a hot topic and some of my readers can't stand to read about it.
I think that the ending felt a bit rushed and wrapped up a little too neatly for all of the mess that was Francesca's life, but I suppose that some readers will write off as fitting for the story.
I do think that I saw a lot of growth in Francesca, and her ability to learn to heal and decide the kind of life she wants to live and most importantly to stop blaming herself is really what made this story and was the most memorable looking back.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
What are your beliefs in reincarnation?