This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Review by Lauren
copy for review; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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.
Review: This One Summer reminds me of one of those classic best friend films. Now and Then for girls; Stand By Me for boys. Every summer, Rose and her parents go to the beach and stay in a lake house. Nearby is Windy, and the two girls become fast friends. This One Summer takes place when the girls are close to fourteen and starting to grow up.
Windy is still a young girl in many ways. She’s confused by some grown up topics, yet still interested. She’d much rather run around, having fun, and swimming in the ocean. Rose, on the other hand, is much more fascinated by the older teens in the town, particularly a boy who works at the convenience store. She isn’t attracted to him, per se, but she is curious about his life and his friends. The boy, Duncan, who Windy likes to call the Dud, is in trouble and the two girls do what they can to learn the details…as if watching a favorite soap opera.
Due to Rose’s faster maturation and her parents continued fighting, the authors clearly show how she is moving away from Windy. She gets annoyed by her behavior and jokes. At the same time, though, this particular summer shows the power of a good friend and how sometimes that’s all you need to feel a little better about your lot in life.
I thought This One Summer was a layered graphic novel, touching on various issues. Everything felt cohesive though, and you could easily see this summer occurring in someone’s life. The artwork was well done, with a lot of attention paid to detail. I liked that instead of being done in black and white, the coloring was more blue and white, reminiscent of the ocean.
Overall, I think this is a great novel for a variety of ages. It’s definitely aimed at girls, but I like how it empowers the women within, despite the issues they face. They are shown as multi-layered individuals, unique to their own lives and situations. Definitely a positive!