Hope Larson, was right when she said “The Tamakis have raised the bar for young adult comics.” I was elated to hear that this book had hit the shelves because both Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, cousins are a dream team when they work together. This graphic novel chronicles the summer of preteen Rose who travels to Awago beach every summer with her parents for vacation. It’s a mainstay. It’s concrete. It’s a tradition ever since she can remember. It’s also where she gets to see her best friend Windy, she’s the yin to her yang and together the two girls set out to enjoy the summer together like always.
But this year is different. This year will be different. Rose’s mother is sullen, withdrawn and distant…she wont go anywhere near the water. Her behavior is baffling and starting to rub Rose the the wrong way.
Rose is noticing boys, older boys who are on the cusps on manhood and observing how they disappoint girls and wedge hurt into their hearts.
Rose is also watching her parent’s marriage which is a hair trigger away from an exploding–so she’s walking gently as if she’s just wandered onto a mine field. Then there’s the now rocky mother-daughter relationship that she shares with her mother that will hit a rock bottom that she never knew existed. Her mother becomes a stranger–an doppelganger who shares her face.
Just as Rose has navigated the waters of the beach every summer with Windy she is now finding that she must navigate this new place where her girlhood will be soon ending and the confusing unwelcomed start of womanhood is soon beginning.
To a place where Rose is intimately not familiar and caught up in being frustrated with what she doesn’t understand…
“This One Summer” is about growing up.
It’s a graphic novel that teaches us that nothing can stay the same.
There’s transition periods in life. And while there are places in time
we can never get back to perhaps we can stand and find ourselves on solid,
new ground to make more memories with the people we love.
This One Summer is a moving and heart jerking read that as necessary as it is fantastic.
A fantastic addition to the graphic novel genre and surely a worthy candidate to be placed on the young adult comics shelves.
9 Out Of 10
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