July 7, 2016
This One Summer
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (illustrator)
2014 First Second
Finished on February 18, 2016
Rating: 3/5 (Good)
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 Rose’s father leaves the cottage and returns to the city, and her mother becomes more and more withdrawn.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.
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.