This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki

book reviews, books, Books Reviews, graphic novels, Uncategorized

This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki


A New York Times bestseller
A 2015 Caldecott Honor Book
A 2015 Michael L. Printz Honor Book
An Eisner Award Winner

Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens – just a couple of years older than Rose and Windy – is caught up in something bad… Something life threatening.

It’s a summer of secrets, and sorrow, and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

This One Summer is a tremendously exciting new teen graphic novel from two creators with true literary clout. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of childhood – a story of renewal and revelation.

My Rating: 5/5 summer night stars


My Review: You know those stories that just stick with you? You can’t stop yourself from thinking about them again and again, and usually at the most random times… as you’re waiting for the red light to change, as you’re loading the dishwasher, as you’re pretending to listen to your child explain why some dinosaurs had feathers BUT WERE NOT BIRDS (for the one-hundredth time). This One Summer has been that book for me lately. The story is subtle and powerful, but the art and the characters and the way everything weaves perfectly together is what makes it a masterpiece. This is a coming of age story but because of the format, we get lots of insight into what’s going on with the adults and peripheral characters as well. The way the mother’s shoulders slump as she does the dishes, the little creases above their brows, the nuanced expressions. I loved it SO much and devoured it in one sitting. I then went back and flipped through it again, purely to admire the art. Here is the word-vomit Goodreads review I typed up right after my first read.

I loved this! The art was very fluid- I could almost hear the little sounds of water lapping the shore, pebbles clinking against each other, breaths heaving in and out. Like most coming of age stories, it was deceptively simple on the surface. The threads of rising character emotion and plot happen gradually and realistically. I was really moved by the ending. Just the right amount of drama, without becoming melodramatic. I felt a lot of nostalgia and recognition in the main character- it was very easy to see myself in her at that age. Those tween years are strange and difficult things.



Do yourself a favor and check this incredible gem out. If you have tween or young teen daughters I think you will find this a valuable jumping off point to discuss difficult (but important) topics like sexism, teen pregnancy, pregnancy loss, abortion, divorce, etc. You can find it here.

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