Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: The Summer of Letting Go

This week I read The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner.  Lucky for me, I got an Advanced Reader Copy of this little gem!

The Summer of Letting Go

From Gae Polisner's website.

Four years ago during an outing to the ocean, Francesca's little brother drowned, and she was the one who should have been watching him. Now almost 16, Francesca's used to playing second fiddle to her dead brother's memory, and to her best friend Lisette who's blossoming into a beauty and leaving Francesca behind.

Stuck at home while Lisette spends her summer days with a boy Francesca wants but can never have, Francesca begins to suspect her father of having an affair. She trails the woman to the local country club where she meets Frankie Sky, a four year old boy with a hole in his heart who bears a striking resemblance to her brother. Hope of an otherworldly connection leads Francesca to places she thought she'd abandoned, as well as to new places she never thought she'd have the heart to go – and it begins to seem possible to forgive herself and move on, whether or not she solves the riddle of Frankie Sky. 

This book was wonderful.  It tackles the issue of grief in such a real way.  I love it when an author can make a character's emotions believable and natural without making things seem forced.  (Well done Gae Polisner!)

Francesca (Frankie) is a very wounded character, which I find myself being more and more attracted to.  I guess because all of us are wounded in our own ways.  Frankie carries a lot of burden and weight on herself, most of it put there by her own assumptions and guilt.  I loved watching Frankie confront her past, and the lies she believes about herself.  I loved watching her face the things that scare her, and embrace hope against all odds.  

I love books about hope.  My own YA story that I wrote is about hope and my protagonist overcoming her past.  It's set in medieval times, but I felt like it is a mirror of The Summer of Letting Go; because it's about grief and overcoming it, and about the hope to move on.  And how no one can make us move on but ourselves.  And that sometimes, we have to break before rebuilding can happen.

Loved this story; sweet and heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful.  If you want to fall in love with a character and cheer her on, then you need to meet Francesca!  Definitely recommend!

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