The Summer of Letting Go is a story of Francesca (“Frankie” and sometimes “Beans”), an almost sixteen-year-old girl laden with heavy burdens—the worst of which is the drowning death of her four-year-old brother, Simon under her apparent watch. Left alone on the beach while her parents sleep on a blanket in the sun, Frankie is distracted for a moment while Simon is washed out to sea. The grief and guilt her parents experience is nothing compared to Frankie’s.
How can Frankie bare to love herself or let anyone else love her when she has allowed to let her brother die?
Frankie meets the four-year-old Frankie Sky as he plunges to the bottom of the country club pool. He reminds her of her brother.
From chapter 3: “I watch, frozen, as his blond curls float upward while the rest of him plummets down. Bubbles escape his mouth, and his blue eyes blink up at me. The air turns thick and dark, and a thousand panicked memories skitter like water bugs across the sun-bleached landscape of my brain. A bright summer day. The sparkling water. Simon, and the sand castle, and the waves.”
Frankie seems like a rather normal young teen full of self-doubt, longing to be curvier, prettier, and wishing for a boy who will bring her what her best friend, Zette, has.
From chapter 16: “What does it feel like, Zette, seriously,” I ask, letting the last little ember singe the tips of my fingers, “to kiss a guy that way?” She looks out over the water, her face illuminated by moonlight, and holds her burnt-out sparkler in front of her. “Like this, Beans. It feels just like this. All electric and sparkly. Like your entire heart is on fire. And when it’s over, you can’t wait to do it again.” And though I promised not to be, I’m filled with envy.
The typical “angry” teen shows up when she decides to confront her parents in chapter 33—her mother for apparently blaming her for her brother’s death and her father for an apparent love affair. I liked this Francesca. She is honest and forthright and fighting to “let go” of all the past horror and pain.
The Summer Of Letting Go is Teen level Young Adult Fiction novel that touched my emotions with beautiful prose—even if I am 71!