cover image The Summer of Letting Go

The Summer of Letting Go

Gae Polisner, read by Tara Sands. HighBridge Audio, , unabridged, six CDs, 7.5 hrs., $29.95 ISBN 978-1-62231-330-3

Francesca Schnell, nicknamed Frankie, is a 15-year-old girl tormented by guilt over the death of her little brother, Simon, who drowned four years earlier when she was supposed to be watching him. Her devastated, withdrawn mother seems to blame her for Simon’s death, and Francesca suspects her father is having an affair. But a babysitting job for a little boy, also called Frankie, offers a path to healing and forgiveness, and Francesca even wonders if he is her brother reincarnated. Sands’s narration is excellent. Her youthful voice is a perfect match for teenage Francesca, and every word is full of heartfelt emotion, particularly when Francesca is upset and her voice trembles. Sands also creates distinctive voices for the other characters: Francesca’s perky best friend, Lisette; Lisette’s deep-voice boyfriend Bradley (whom Francesca has a crush on); Frankie, a bubbly boy; and Frankie’s mom, who has a bright, melodic voice. Teens and lovers of well-written coming-of-age YA fiction will want to give this one a listen. Ages 12–up. An Algonquin Young Readers hardcover. (Apr.)