My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I read Gae Polisner’s The Pull of Gravity, I was transported into its world. Scenes from that book still play vividly in my mind many months later. The characters became my friends.
For some reason, though, I felt unable to express my thoughts about the book in a review. I’ve had a string of those, books so good I didn’t know how to talk about them.
Well, Gae’s latest book just came out. It’s that good, too. I gobbled it up in a few days. Thankfully, I’m ready to talk about this one; I won’t try to wiggle out of it this time.
Gae’s characters have a way of grabbing you. They reflect your own doubts and fears, and you realize how much you have in common. In the end, you know you’re not alone.
On the surface of it, The Summer of Letting Go is a book about a girl who wishes with all her heart that her best friend’s boyfriend were hers. But that’s only part of the story.
Francesca’s little brother drowned. She knows it’s her fault. She sees it in her mother’s eyes every day, the blame, the hurt.
So not only does she grieve for her brother, but for the mother she’s lost as well. Life in Francesca’s home is lived in limbo. No one is moving forward.
The thing is, Francesca wants to heal. She wants to find out what it’s like to live life without her brother, not just exist, but to live. But the way things are going, she doesn’t know how that will ever happen.
And then she meets Frankie Sky. Sweet young Frankie, who looks so much like Simon did. Frankie, who loves the ocean. Frankie, who loves frogs as much as Simon did, too. Frankie, who speaks of things that send Francesca on a surprising journey of exploration, to reach the heart of grief, hope and healing.
Polisner is master of taking us inside the teen heart; of helping us cry and laugh as we walk alongside her characters. She reminds us, without a doubt, that there might just be unfathomable mysteries out there. Most importantly, though, we’re reminded that we are all human and all worth being cherished.