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July 7, 2016

This One Summer


This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (illustrator)
Graphic Novel
2014 First Second
Finished on February 18, 2016
Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Publisher's Blurb:

Rose and Windy are summer friends whose families have visited Awago Beach for as long as they can remember. But this year is different, and they soon find themselves tangled in teen love and family crisis. From the creators of Skim comes an investigation into the mysterious world of adults.

Sure, Rose’s dad is still making cheesy and embarrassing jokes, but her mother is acting like she doesn’t even want to be there. Plus, being at the cottage isn’t just about going to the beach anymore. Now Rose and Windy are spend a lot of their time renting scary movies and spying on the teenagers who work at the corner store, as well as learning stuff about sex no one mentioned in health class.

Pretty soon everything is messed up. Rose’s father leaves the cottage and returns to the city, and her mother becomes more and more withdrawn. While her family is falling to pieces, Rose focuses her attention on Dunc, a teenager working at the local corner store. When Jenny, Dunc’s girlfriend, claims to be pregnant, the girls realize that the teenagers are keeping just as many secrets as the adults in their lives.


Dipping my toes into another graphic novel, I am happy to say that I enjoyed this one better than The Sculptor (which I read shortly before This One Summer). This is a quiet novel with not much of a plot, but the drawings are lovely and I could easily go back and re-read the book, spending time just looking at the intricate details of Jillian's exquisite artwork, all the while skipping the text. I was a little put-off by the constant barrage of profanity, which felt a bit gratuitous, but given our culture and the casual usage of F-bombs in restaurants, stores and parks, I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised.





Final Thoughts:

This One Summer was awarded the Caldecott Honor in 2015. The book contains a fair amount of profanity and sexual content and has thus received some criticism with regard to its target audience. If it were a movie, I'd say it should be rated PG-13. Recommend with reservations.

6 comments:

  1. Yeah, I'm the same way when it comes to profanity but I'm often shocked when people use it publicly so I know I'm an old fuddy-duddy. This book still appeals to me.

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    1. Kathy, I'm an old fuddy-duddy, too. I was in the airport with my granddaughter last week and we were sitting across from a gentleman (I use that term lightly) who was on his phone. He kept dropping the f-bomb and s*#t for over 15 minutes while fellow travelers sat nearby. There were a few families with small children and quite honestly, I think I was the only one who gave his foul language any notice. I just don't understand our world some days.

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  2. I do want to read this one. I read their previous graphic novel and one of the things I really loved about it were the illustrations. I haven't read many graphic novels this year so I need to remember that next time I'm at the library.

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    1. Iliana, it's a quick read and I probably wound up enjoying it a bit more now that time has passed. The illustrations are really quite something!

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  3. I just read Skim, the other collaboration between the Tamakis, and I loved it even more than this one. Fewer F-bombs maybe? A sensitive exploration of teen relationships and obsession, suicide, sexual preference. It's not as heavy as it sounds because the main character is quite likable and provides a good lens for all the issues.

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    1. Andi, I've got my eye on Skim, especially since it may contain a little less profanity. Don't get me wrong, I can have a terrible mouth myself, but I guess when I'm reading it in a book (wonder why a graphic novel seems worse than regular fiction or mysteries?), it begins to irritate me and feel gratuitous. I'll keep you posted. It sounds like a very thought-provoking read.

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