Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 25, 2014
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary
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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. Meanwhile, her best friend, Lisette, is moving on most recently with the boy Francesca wants but can't have. At loose ends, Francesca trails her father, who may be having an affair, to the local country club. There she meets four-year-old Frankie Sky, a little boy who bears an almost eerie resemblance to Simon, and Francesca begins to wonder if it's possible Frankie could be his reincarnation. Knowing Frankie leads Francesca to places she thought she'd never dare to go and it begins to seem possible to forgive herself, grow up, and even fall in love, whether or not she solves the riddle of Frankie Sky.
“Mom isn’t herself anymore, and hasn’t been one bit since Simon died. Still she’s my mother, and she needs him. She can’t take more destruction. She can’t take one more person she loves being swept out to sea.”
Bittersweet pain. Those are the only two books that can simply describe my thoughts of this book. It was bitter and sweet at times, but the most precious thing was that it was painful to read. Not the negative pain, but the depression pain. I think that the author tried to make everything seem light and fluffy, but I saw it as heartbreaking and dark.
Imagine you find someone who has an exact personality as someone you know very well. They like the same things as them, and are like a realistic copy. This is what Francesca had to go through one summer. Yes, this may be a chick-lit contemporary, but it does have its dark spots that will leave you thinking after finishing this book.
Francesca still feels like it’s her fault. One summer day a few months ago, Frankie and her family went to the beach, and came back without one person–her brother. He drowned in the horrifying waves and this happened while Frankie was supposed to be watching him while her parents slept. Lots of drama is going on now too–her mother is strictly depressed and acting strange, her father is supposedly cheating on her mother with their neighbour, and her best friend Lisette is adding some space between their friendship. Then, Frankie meets Frankie Sky, a little boy who strangely has such a resemblance in personality to Simon. Could this be of a reincarnation of Simon? At the same time when solving this eerie mystery, Frankie learns to fall in love with someone who truly understands her and her being, and she’ll find herself and who she is.
I never thoroughly read the summary of this book, so I didn’t expect some mystery of reincarnation in a contemporary read to come up. For once, a chick-lit author has added something unique and rare to a novel of theirs. Through this mystery, Frankie, the protagonist ends up falling in love with a guy who is strictly off limits, but he’s someone who surprisingly understands her and what she’s trying to find. I loved the premise and it hasn’t been done before.
The book began off missing something. The beginning was weak and slow. It took about half of the book to get to the point, and then it lost its magic that it had going on. Frankie Sky took up a lot of the book, and I guess you could say that I was gushing to find out what would happen next. The second half of the book was okay, but I’d overall say that I’ve read better stories that were similar–without the reincarnation part that kept me going. The plot was thin in the beginning, but as we kept going, the story eventually unfolded into something memorable.
Francesca, as a character, was weak. She was broken; very, after her brother’s death because she felt like she was to blame. I understand that. Her story is tough to tell. Many readers could probably relate to her and believe her story, but I felt like I wasn’t one of them. She was too insecure and shy for this type of mystery and premise. For a book like this, we need someone independent and confident–Frankie was the opposite, but she tried her best to get her brother’s story to live on with Frankie Sky. In between, the side characters were great and added something more believable to the story.
I’d blame this story to be strong and desiring because of the romance. Francesca and.. (won’t say the name) were perfect for each other, and the male really helped her deal with everything. Thanks to the romance, Frankie really survived everything because someone was there for her.
This book was definitely memorable because of its premise and long-living story afterward. The plot may have been thin in the beginning, but it got to the point eventually and came out to be enjoyable. You may have to cut some slack for Francesca, especially since of the accident that changed her life forever and all of the stress and events that came afterwards. But the romance really saved her. I enjoyed this a lot, and I recommend it if you loved The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
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