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The Summer of Letting Go

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,751 ratings  ·  326 reviews
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. Mea
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 25th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers (first published March 8th 2014)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,751 ratings  ·  326 reviews

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Ash Wednesday
Let me lie and thieve and screw up until I rot away in hell, but don't just let me be no one, nothing, except that other girl. Because that other girl, the sad-eyed one staring back from the photograph on my computer, I don't want to be her anymore.

I'm having a hard time rating this because it started off rocky for me with a lot of frowning and raised eyebrow moments followed by a strong middle that ended on a bit of a whimper. It took a great deal of empathic calisthenics on my part
Kelly Hager
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know you've all heard me speak of The Pull of Gravity over and over again, and how much I love it and how perfect it is. Hopefully I've already gotten you to read it (if not, no time like the present!).

But why am I talking about Gae Polisner's first book in a review of her second? Because as much as I loved The Pull of Gravity, this book is even better.

Francesca blames herself for her brother Simon's death. She was supposed to be watching him the day he drowns, and ever since, her family has c
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crying so hard right now! More to come later, closer to publication. But this is definitely one of the best books I've read this year!

Actual Review

This book was wonderful and a very emotional reading experience. I always enjoy Gae Polisner's writing style and her characters are so easy to identify with, so easy to catch feelings for their situations in life. I loved the relationships between Francesca & Simon and Francesca & Frankie Sky. The only thing I wasn't so hot on was the resoluti
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book hard. So grateful to receive an e-arc from NetGalley. More thoughts after I reflect and process.

--this is still a book I think about often. I'm looking forward to handing it to students. I've already talked about it to staff and students and know they will fall in love with the book like I did.

Thank you Gae Polisner for writing such a beautiful heart-felt book.
Bekki Fahrer
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not even the ocean can drown our souls.
This book could have been one big cliche. It could have been condensing and schmaltzy.
Thank God it wasn't. Instead, it was warm, real, and a beautiful journey. The slow burn of hope, ignited by a precocious little boy, brought life to a family living in the shadow of devistating loss.
There were interesting echoes in this book. It was reminiscent of Sarah Dessen in that the teens were written with reverence and respect, and were not caricatures of Teen arc
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is aimed at the teen market, and the love story component certainly suits that market. But 'The Summer of Letting Go' is such a touching and beautiful story it should be read by everyone. There is a Charlie St. Cloud feel to the story as Franky Schnell tries to deal with the death of her brother, but it differs in the quest to discover the link between Simon and her new charge Frankie Sky. Is Frankie Sky Simon reincarnated, are all the links truly coincidences? These questions and many ...more
Tabby Shiflett
4.5 Stars
A YA coming-of-age story about grief, moving on, and life's beautiful surprises. This book is well-written and the water is a character in itself. The characters are realistic and even though this novel is set during contemporary times, the story is timeless (at times, I imagined it taking place in earlier decades). A really touching book.

Net Galley Feedback
(nb: I received an Advance Review Copy from the publisher via NetGalley)

It’s summertime, to paraphrase the song, and the livin’ ain’t easy, not for Francesca “Frankie” Schnell. It’s the summer she turns sixteen, and it’s supposed to be filled with frivolity and magic, but Frankie is sullen. She’s healthy, yes. She’s reasonably pretty, in a string-bean, not-busty way, and she has her best friend, Lizette Sutter to share adventures.

The first problem is named Bradley Stephenson. He’s hot, and he’s
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down the best book I've read this year! <3
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full review to come closer to pub date :)
Sarah (YA Love)
This is a sweet and wonderful book. Full review to come closer to the release date.
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Algonquin Book and Edelweiss.)
15-year-old Francesca/Frankie still feels guilty over the fact that she was supposed to be watching her brother when he got swept out to see and drowned. When she meets a little boy at the swimming pool who looks just like her dead brother, and was even born the day that Simon died, she begins to wonder if this little boy (also called Frankie) is the reincarnation of Simon.
Oct 24, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-galley
This is what I think might have happened after Invincible Summer. Lordy, do you now how hard I cried after that one? Still, this was like that but less sharp because it is “the after” we’re made to deal with: how her mother for all intents is absent; how her father maybe, might be, could be not the guy she wants (needs) him to be. And how maybe, might be, likely she’s less in her own estimation as well. So things are sad and heavy, but not completely because we know it’s all going on and being f ...more
Lindsey Kay
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the things that most parents lay awake at night fearing, is that inevitable moment when your child will face the kind of loss that could break even an adult. You hope, of course, that your child never has to face those kinds of things.

I can remember the first time I realized that my dad's two younger brothers had died in a car crash when he was sixteen. My dad was speaking about it to a large group of people and broke down in tears. I was sixteen, myself, at the time, and I can remember t
Sally Kruger
It's been four years since Francesca's little brother Simon drowned. It was an afternoon at the beach when the tragedy changed her family's world. The guilt Francesca feels has changed her relationship with her mother and changed her normally outgoing personality.

With summer beginning Francesca knows her friend Lisette will be expecting her to hang out, but Francesca knows things will be uncomfortable since she has a secret crush on Lisette's boy friend. To complicate matters, Francesca is fairl
Ms. Warchol
I have read this book more than once and have enjoyed it more each time I get to meet these characters again. Frankie Schnell is finishing up her exams and preparing for summer. She is harboring a serious crush on her best friend's boyfriend and is also struggling with guilt over her brother's death. This story offers readers a glimpse into life after loss, how relationships shift, and how we can, hopefully, move forward.

Polisner gets so much right here. I was really impressed with the authenti
Nov 03, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer
I would put this on the "want to read" shelf, but I don't know if I could read something like this and ever stop crying.
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-novels
Great for a light read. I would recommend it to any teenage girl.
Beautifully written. I love the supporting characters -- who could not love Frankie Sky -- and all of main character Frankie's thoughts.

Review originally posted on Rather Be Reading Blog

I told myself I needed to take a break from books about grief and then I started The Summer of Letting Go and could not let it go. Immediately I felt for Francesca, aka Frankie, aka Beans, who is still distraught over the death of her baby brother four years ago. She believes it’s her fault that he drowned in the
Lauren Combs
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is an eye opener. I recently lost my father about four months ago. The concept of "Transmigration" in this novel becomes an obsession for Frankie. It distracts from everyday life and allows her to throw all of her energy into finding out whether or not it is truly possible that when her baby brother, Simon, drowned one day at the beach under her watch, his soul was transferred to the little boy Frankie Sky who Francesca begins to look after the summer before her junior year. Aside from ...more
The Styling Librarian
The Summer of Letting Go by Gae Polisner - Realistic Fiction, Middle School/High School – Anticipate!!: Book Released: March 18, 2014 – This is a beautiful book where you face a world of guilt through the eyes of a teenager, Francesca, whose little brother drowned. Her family was devastated a few years after his death and desperately in need of something to help one another heal… Through a little love, humor, caring, coincidence, and some curious situations, Francesca brings you through quite th ...more
Gary Anderson
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Francesca’s life is complicated. She has a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend. She blames herself for the drowning of her younger brother, and her father may be having an affair with their neighbor. Gae Polisner’s excellent story-telling gives us what starts off seeming to be a breezy, summer-at-the-beach romance, but turns out to be a heartfelt exploration of how to recognize what lasts forever and how to let go of the things that cannot be kept. Every character in The Summer of Letting Go is ...more
Kimberly Tate
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer
This book wasn't at all what I expected, and I have to say I liked it. It was strange, what with Frankie thinking the little boy was her dead brother's reincarnation. (Go read the Goodreads synopsis; I'm really tired and just don't feel like writing one.) But it was a really cute story between Frankie and the little boy Frankie that she babysat, and I loved seeing Frankie, true to the title, learning to let go. There's a lot of deep thought that I enjoyed reading, and it's very well-written. It ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: naiba-2013
Forgot for a moment that I had read this book. It wasn't bad, but I didn't find it overly memorable.

Sad story of a family trying to come to terms and deal with the accidental death of the son. The book takes place a few years later as you see the family disintegrating as each surviving member tries to cope on their own.

Decent ending that at the time I read it felt realistic.

I may have blocked the book out due to the subject matter. I'm not a fan of stories with young children dying.

Not a bad
Shrishti Khetan
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was extremely interesting and the way the author has made the characters was very very hooking! the story line was also great! i would recommend this book to almost anyone who likes a bit of mystery with drama :)
Book Believer
The Summer of Letting Go is a wonderful book. One of the best books I have ever read.
Alexa Curtis
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
Amrita Desmet
Abandoned this book because it wasn't as interesting as I hoped. I was sort of weirded out by the whole 'reincarnation' thing.
Charity Yoder
beautiful. just... beautiful. That is all i'm going to say as I try to order my thoughts coherently. because I'm pretty sure you'll like this review better if they're coherent.

Let me just start by saying this: I should not read books that invoke cases of the feels (which is pretty much all of them) out in public. I may like all the warm gooey/sad feelings that books bring out. People in public may not appreciate my random laughter that a book can bring if they don't understand the book.

But the
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the books that I was looking forward to reading this year was ‘The Summer of Letting Go’ by Gae Polisner. I read Polisner’s ‘The Pull of Gravity’ last year and loved it. (It is about a boy and a girl who go on a quest and read John Steinbeck’s ‘Of Mice and Men’ on the way, and learn a few life lessons through the book and through their quest). So, when ‘The Summer of Letting Go’ came out at the end of March I went out and got it. I finished reading it yesterday. Here is what I think.

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2017 Reading Chal...: The Summer of Letting Go 1 14 Feb 19, 2015 01:08PM  
  • Living with Jackie Chan (Jumping Off Swings, #2)
  • The Art of Secrets
  • Circa Now
  • Damaged
  • The Twice-Lived Summer of Bluebell Jones
  • Threatened (Ape Quartet #2)
  • The Secret Hum of a Daisy
  • Signed, Skye Harper
  • Year of Mistaken Discoveries
  • Words and Their Meanings
  • The Opposite of Love
  • Summer on the Short Bus
  • Breakfast Served Anytime
  • We Are the Goldens
  • The Cloud Chamber
  • There Will Come a Time
  • The Other Way Around
  • The Great Good Summer

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 bare