Saturday, February 20, 2016

"The Summer of Letting Go" by Gae Polisner - A Review

Navigating the murky waters of adolescence is difficult enough, but when your little brother drowns on your watch, your best friend transmutes into someone else's girlfriend and your father appears to be having an affair with a neighbor...

Life for Frankie (Francesca) Schnell is spinning out of control.  Choking on the guilt of her brother Simon's death, she feels invisible.  Her mother's grief drives her to devote her time to a drowning prevention foundation, while Frankie's best friend has acquired a swoon-worthy boyfriend. An unexpected summer job offer lands her face to face with a little boy who is the same age as Simon was before he died, a boy who unnervingly resembles him and says things that shake Frankie to her core.  Is she losing her mind, or is this boy a reincarnation of Simon?

Her father's friendship with a pretty neighbor across the street from her house begins to make Frankie suspicious.  And when her best friend goes out of town, she finds her self the knee-quaking object of her absent-friend's boyfriend.  Should she stay true to her best friend and resist or give in to his spectacular kiss?  Should she confront someone about her father's perceived infidelity?  Confront who...her father, the neighbor, her mother?

As much as I loved her previous book, The Pull of Gravity,  author Gae Polisner scores a home run with The Summer of Letting Go as she lovingly peels back the layers of a young teen's fears and vulnerabilities. Polisner allows Frankie to work through her multiple dilemmas without resorting to an unrealistic sitcom resolution.  As in real life, not every question is answered.

I read this book to screen it before gifting to my granddaughter, but found myself falling in love with the characters as well.  Polisner's understanding of the fragile young heart and mind is a gift that resonates, weaving a bond between the reader and the characters she has so lovingly created.  

****This review appeared previously in "Girl Who Reads", a book review blog.    

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