Graphic Novel Review: All Summer Long

Posted July 24, 2018 by shooting in Book Review / 24 Comments

Hey everyone! I’m here today to share a really awesome graphic novel called All Summer Long by Hope Larson. With only about a month left of summer, now is a good time to grab a copy of All Summer Long for your shelves!

middle grade graphic novel

All Summer Long by Hope Larson

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from publisher; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add to Goodreads): Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he’s off to soccer camp for a month, and he’s been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it’s up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it’s a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin’s older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he’s acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.

Review: All Summer Long is a middle grade novel, but I think it would appeal to older readers too. It’s kind of interesting looking back on this time in one’s life when suddenly you aren’t a little kid anymore, but you’re not quite an adult either. This is usually people’s least favorite years because middle school can be so awkward, but don’t worry, All Summer Long takes place…well…in the summer. There is still a lot of character growth, but it takes place outside a school setting, which I enjoyed.

Bina’s best friend Austin is headed to soccer camp, and she’s not sure how she’s going to get through a month of summer without him. I felt bad for Bina because it was obvious she didn’t really have anyone else to hang out with – the graphic novel shows her lazing around and watching TV for days until her mom demands she find something else to do. This leads her to hanging out with Austin’s older sister, who I really liked – at first. She didn’t treat Bina like a little kid, but it soon becomes clear that she’s not exactly treating Bina all that well either.

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By the time Austin comes back, Bina is back to being on her own, so she’s excited to see her best friend. Unfortunately, he’s still acting strange and doesn’t seem all that excited to hang out with her anymore. I started to wonder if the book was going to go in a certain direction – I won’t say anything due to spoilers- but it didn’t, and I was happy about that! Let’s just say it would have been a bit of a “bookish cliche.” I think Bina’s relationship with Austin really showed how things change as you get older, but that you can still make it work if you just talk to one other.

Finally, I’d like to note that Bina is a huge fan of music and I loved that aspect in the book. It’s a prevalent theme throughout, and Bina is even teaching herself to play guitar. As for the book’s illustrations, they were done really well. I love Larson’s drawing style. They aren’t full of color, but they aren’t just black and white either, so I think it worked well. It still makes you stop and focus on the artwork while you read, which is a good thing!

24 responses to “Graphic Novel Review: All Summer Long

  1. This sounds like a fun read! I haven’t had time to delve into MG graphic novels but this sounds intriguing. Thanks for the great review! ♥️♥️

  2. Sounds nice. And yes middle school age can be SO awkward- nice to see a good graphic novel explore that time! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ooh a middle grade graphic novel, you don’t see many of those around I’ve noticed and this one looks super cute. I think I’d be assuming the same trope after Austin returned but I’m relieved that isn’t the case. Wonderful review Lauren, so glad you enjoyed this one ♡♡♡

  4. This sounds so cool — and you’re right, that time is so swkward, it’s a treat to get something that shows exactly how awkward it is and wonderful too.

  5. Jen

    Hmmm this sounds like an interesting read. I think books like this with both the visual and written elements really help to enhance the book for the middle grade readers of today. Thanks for the review!

  6. I find the concept of summer camps so interesting because they are not a thing here in Australia at all. I think I would have hated going to camp instead of hanging out at home and with friends over summer break!

    The premise of this one sounds a little sad, like all changing friendship stories do. I really hope that the ending was more uplifting for Bina in terms of her friendship with Austin!

    Hope Larson works on Goldie Vance, which is a comic series I love so I’ll see if my library has a copy of this one. Lovely review, Lauren!

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