This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

Published: 2014

Genre: realistic teen graphic novel

Length: 319 pages

Setting: Awago Beach on an undefined island, recent past (only because everyone’s not on their cell phone all the time)

Interest: I had seen this book reviewed along with several other graphic novels by First Second. This was the only one our library had, so I picked it up.

Summary: Just like every other summer, Rose and her family have come to Awago Beach. Rose is happy because her friend Windy is also there, and their friendship picks up where they left it last summer. Unfortunately, Rose’s parents weren’t able to leave their difficulties behind, and tensions grow between them until her father heads back to the city for a while. Rose’s mom spends much of her time locked in the bedroom, depressed after a miscarriage at the beach last summer. So, Rose and Windy wander about the island together. They overhear a fight the teenage clerk at the shop in town is having with his girlfriend. She’s pregnant, and he doesn’t want to acknowledge the baby is probably his, which leads to lots of fights and a potential suicide attempt by the girl.

Final thoughts: This is a great graphic novel for the older crowd. It is not appropriate for younger kids because of the language (18-year olds are going to swear on a regular basis) and the topics covered (teen pregnancy, drinking, miscarriage, depression, suicide attempt). (Poor Miss Adventure didn’t get to read it. It was barely appropriate for Mr. Curiosity at nearly 13, but part of that was because the main characters are young teen-age girls, who talk about things like getting boobs.) It is, however, something that could help a teen figure out what’s going on with their body and friendships and how to navigate that transition toward adulthood, at least a little bit. And it’s all set at a summer beach house, so it should be easy to put yourself in a similar situation.

The artwork in the book is realistic, but monotone blue and white. We get some diversity of body sizes (Rose is thin, but Windy has a chunkier body) and characters (lesbian and straight). About 90% of the story is told in either dialogue or images, so you have to pay attention to the pictures to know what’s going on in a scene.

Awards won: Prinz Honor Award, Caldecott Honor Award and an Eisner Award in 2015

Title comes from: The story is about one summer, from arriving on the island to leaving.

Reading challenges fulfilled: #25 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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