Book review: 'The Summer of Letting Go' by Gae Polisner

One teenager’s very bad summer turns into a mystery when she meets a peculiar 4-year-old boy who seems like the reincarnation of her dead brother.
Oklahoman Modified: July 11, 2014 at 6:42 pm •  Published: July 13, 2014
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“The Summer of Letting Go” by Gae Polisner (Algonquin Young Readers, 320 pages, in stores)

Gae Polisner’s “The Summer of Letting Go” is the story of 15-year-old Francesca. School is out. She is nearly 16. And she is having a very bad summer.

Four years ago, her little brother Simon drowned when she was supposed to be watching him. She hasn’t been to the beach since. Her best friend, Lisette, has a boyfriend — a boyfriend that Francesca likes but can’t have.

She’s spying on her father, who she believes may be having an affair. She follows him to the local country club. While there, she meets 4-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who looks like Simon. He dives into the pool at the deep end, saying he can swim, but is fished out by the lifeguard. He says he can fly. He is completely fearless.

He knows Francesca’s brother is dead and knows he was drowned, although no one has told him this. His mannerisms and the things he says leave Francesca thinking he may be the reincarnation of her brother. He was born on the day Simon died, and his mother had been swimming in the same area where Simon drowned.

Before the summer ends, with Frankie’s help, Francesca is finding a way to forgive herself. But whether she solves the mystery of Frankie Sky is another question.

Gae Polisner is the award-winning author of “The Pull of Gravity.” “The Summer of Letting Go” is her second novel for teen readers.

— Betty Lytle, for The Oklahoman