March 26, 2014

Latest Read: The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner

Here are the basics ...
The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner
Publication date: Mar. 25, 2014
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received via Netgalley from publisher (Thanks!)

Summary: 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. Meanwhile, Francesca trails her father, who may be having an affair, to the local country club and she meets four-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who bears an almost eerie resemblance to Simon. She 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: The Summer of Letting Go is about sixteen year-old Francesca (Frankie) Schnell, who is grieving the death of her baby brother, Simon, who died four years ago. Her family was at the beach and Frankie was supposed to be watching him when he drowned and all their lives have changed ever since. Her mother is obsessed with running a foundation in Simon's honor, she suspects her dad is having an affair with a neighbor and Frankie is stuck in her grief and her guilt. Then one day while spying on her father, she ends up at the country club where she meets Frankie Sky, a 4 year-old boy who reminds her of Simon (a lot!). He immediately takes a liking to Frankie and she ends up becoming his babysitter for the summer.

The strongest part of the book was the friendship between Frankie and Frankie Sky. Frankie Sky is such a cute character. He's funny, lovable and is always getting into a scrape. Frankie has her hands full! The more time she spends with him though, the more she starts to believe that he's the reincarnation of her dead brother. She even sees little signs that support these thoughts. It sounds crazy but I saw that this was just an outlet for all her emotions. She even becomes close to his mom, who talks to her in a way that her own mother doesn't. It was interesting to see her wade through her emotions, especially as her relationships with her parents crumble. Frankie has a great relationship with her dad but her fears that he's cheating color her vision of him. And things haven't been the same with her mom for a long time. They fight and ignore each other and Frankie can't help but think her mom blames her for Simon's death. So much could be resolved if they just talked to one another but hashing it all out is never easy, even though it's the obvious solution.

(Major) reservations: I had a lot of issues with the story. There's a sub-plot with her best friend Lisette dating the guy Frankie's liked for the longest time. I can't say she's a very good friend to Lisette, who has been nothing but extremely supportive of her. There ends up being a flirtation between Frankie and Lisette's boyfriend that just felt so unnecessary and uninteresting. In fact, the whole sub-plot didn't really work for me and took up too much time. There was so much going on already with Frankie's grief, guilt, Frankie Sky and her parents. The things that were actually important sometimes felt rushed as a result. These were the aspects I cared about and unfortunately, it never quite hit the emotional note I was hoping for.

Do I recommend?: It was a different perspective on how grief differently affects people and that was interesting. But overall the story just fell flat and was kind of forgettable.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds a lot like The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle (which I've read) since the main character has to deal with grief and anger at the death of someone she loved. It's really interesting to see how this story took a bit of a lighter angle, and added some new characters into the mix to shake things up! But it does sound like there's a little too much going on that the main focus disappears into it.

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