Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Summer of Letting GoThe Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary

Francesca is bogged down with so much guilt and anger that she is drowning in it. Blaming herself for the death of her brother, Simon, Francesca carries more baggage with her than any teenager should have to. Most people,well, would be a hot mess if they had to deal with all this baggage, but Francesca is a great teenager regardless of her circumstances. Francesca must find the courage to not only forgive herself but she must find the strength to combat her fears and the people that are blocking the way to a beautiful life .

Francesca and her mom have a rift that has been between them since the day Simon drowned. Francesca’s mom has been unable to understand the loneliness and guilt Francesca feels since Simon’s death. Francesca’s mom throws herself into running a foundation for water safety, basically, ignoring not only Francesca but also Francesca’s dad. Francesca finds the strength and courage to confront her mom about all of it, even though she did it out of anger it still took a lot of guts to confront her mom like that. This confrontation of course opens her mom’s eyes to how awful she has been to her family and a new but still tentative relationship with her mother takes seed.

Most of Francesca’s new courage comes from a cute, four-year-old boy, Frankie Sky, I know he’s cute because he talks cute, he loves frogs, and he thinks he can fly! Who couldn’t love a kid like that? Francesca lets Frankie Sky into her life along with Frankie Sky’s mom, Brooke, who is also having a hard time dealing with the loss of her husband and the challenges of being a single mother. Together Francesca forms almost like a second family with Frankie Sky and his mom.

Francesca suddenly finds herself doing things she has avoided since Simon’s death, she has been visiting the beach, going to the pool and even swimming, which she loved to do before Simon died but couldn’t bring herself to do after his death. All of these triumphs are slowly healing Francesca’s burdened soul and though she will always have her brother and the way he died etched into her memory forever she realizes that she must stop walking around like a ghost and must shake off the shackles of the past and grab onto life’s beauty in the present.

Even though some things are going right in Francesca’s life some things are tormenting her, Why does Frankie Sky look so much like her brother, Simon? Is it her being weird? Or maybe a strange coincidence? But there are other similarities to. Could Frankie Sky be Simon? Reincarnated? Transmigrated? All the signs throughout the book point to it and Francesca is having a hard time letting go the possibility of it.

Then there is Bradley, the boy that Francesca loves but who is also her best friend, Lisette’s. boyfriend. There is some secret kissing, hand holding, and talking about crabs ( the seafood kind not the other kind!) and even though Francesca knows it’s wrong she cannot seem to stop doing it, then Lisette finds out.

I found this book to be a soul-warming read and I feel in love with many of the characters, especially little Frankie Sky. Well written with the story flowing along as if a teenager was really telling it to you, some YA books the narrators sound more like adults then the teenagers they are suppose to be.

Sometimes life just seems to work itself out for the best and this is what happens to Francesca’s life. Finding the beauty of life all around you instead of drowning in the past is how Francesca will have to live her new-found life because “Not even the ocean can drown our souls.”

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