June 15, 2014

Review: The 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 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.

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The Summer of Letting Go
by Gae Polisner
Publication Date:  March 25, 2014
Publisher:  Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

Available for Purchase:

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** This title was provided to us by the Publisher for an honest review.
We were in no way paid for our opinions **

MaryAnn-2013The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner is a book about love, loss, hope, and moving on and is a book that will embed itself into your very soul.

For the longest time, Francesca has had to live with an ache in her heart and a guilt that is one that is hard to bear at such a young age.  Four years ago, Francesca and her family were at the beach for some family time.  Francesca was responsible for watching after her little brother, Simon, while her parents snoozed.  But, as we all know, all it takes is a second…a second for a wave to sweep the legs out from the little boy and get carried out by the waves.  All it took was second for Francesca’s life to change forever.

Francesca sees the way her mom looks at her, or doesn’t…She knows in her heart that her mom blames her and can’t even look at her without rehashing that awful day at the beach.  She also sees the distance between her parents.  An event like this can’t be easy on the parents too.  But she also sees the way her father glances at the pretty neighbor across the way… She notices the way they both leave at the same time, and her suspicions intensify when she finds her father at this neighbor’s house borrowing a cup of sugar, when they have more than enough sugar at home.

So Francesca takes it upon herself to start following this neighbor around and find out the truth.  To catch them together so that she can tell her father that he can’t do this to their family…that she may not survive another loss.  But her sleuthing takes her to the country club where she meets a little boy, Frankie Sky, who will change her life forever.

Everything about Frankie Sky reminds her of her deceased brother.  The wheels in Francesca’s head spin with a thought that her brother may have been reincarnated into the body of Frankie Sky.

When I saw that The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner was reminiscent of See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles I knew that it was one book that I definitely needed to read.  And I definitely was not disappointed.  Full of emotion and heart, The Summer of Letting Go is a book that I would definitely recommend to readers everywhere.

It was heartbreaking to see all the pain and guilt that Francesca had inside of her.  It was also killing me to see the interaction between Francesca and her mother…or should I say lack thereof.  I couldn’t comprehend why her mother was being so distant with her daughter.  I understand the pain and suffering she is going through with the loss of Simon, but to completely pull away from her daughter, who needs her so much?  It broke my heart to pieces.

I was infuriated by the suspicions of her father having an affair with the neighbor (so cliché).  I was angry that if this was truly happening, how he could run into the arms of another woman, rather than fix the gaping hole within his own family.  I wanted Francesca to find out the truth, but afraid for her at the same time as I didn’t want her to have to go through another painful event in her young life.

And my heart broke when it came to the relationship that was developing between Francesca and Frankie Sky.  How can you fault her for finding so many similarities between him and her deceased brother?  As the story progressed, I could see the hope building up inside of her with possibly a second chance to be/see her brother again.

Beautifully written and brilliantly executed, The Summer of Letting Go is a story that readers will not soon forget.   If you’re looking for the perfect summertime read, I would definitely recommend The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner.  You won’t be disappointed.


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Please note that, although I originally tried to assign star-ratings to my book reviews (and, thus, you will see some of my favorite books with stars), I have stopped doing so. A 3-star review, for example, can mean such different things to readers and reviewers, some rarely give more, so 3 means pretty great, to others 3 is barely mediocre. Because of this, it feels arbitrary and capricious to assign them, and I’d rather merely provide (in some cases) my brief thoughts on the book (unless I really can’t help myself in giving it 5-stars, which usually means I wish there were lots more to give. . .). But for the most part, I’m only going to add the word recommended.

As for writer-me, if you want to know more about me, you can find me at my website, You may also find me on twitter (gaepol) or on facebook here:… and a number of other social networking sites.

Connect with the Author:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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