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This One Summer Paperback – May 6, 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up—Every summer, Rose and her parents vacation at a lakeside cottage. The rest of the world fades away as Rose reunites with her friend Windy and delves into leisurely games of MASH, swimming, and the joy of digging giant holes in the sand—but this summer is different. Rose is on the cusp of adolescence; she's not ready to leave childhood behind but is fascinated by the drama of the local teens who are only a few years older, yet a universe apart in terms of experience. They drink, they smoke, they swear. As Rose and Windy dip their toes into the mysterious waters of teen life by experimenting with new vocabulary ("sluts!") and renting horror movies, her parents struggle with their own tensions that seem incomprehensible to Rose. Layers of story unfurl gradually as the narrative falls into the dreamlike rhythm of summer. Slice-of-life scenes are gracefully juxtaposed with a complex exploration of the fragile family dynamic after loss and Rose's ambivalence toward growing up. The mood throughout is thoughtful, quiet, almost meditative. The muted tones of the monochromatic blue-on-white illustrations are perfectly suited to the contemplative timbre, and the writing and images deserve multiple reads to absorb their subtleties. This captivating graphic novel presents a fully realized picture of a particular time in a young girl's life, an in-between summer filled with yearning and a sense of ephemerality. The story resolves with imperfect hope and will linger in readers' mind through changing seasons.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Mariko and Jillian Tamaki earned critical acclaim for Skim (2008), and they return here with another coming-of-age tale about the awkward transition from carefree childhood to jaded, self-conscious young adulthood. Rose and her parents spend every summer at their lakeside cabin in Awago, right down the path from Rose’s best friend, Windy, and her family. They spend lazy days collecting rocks on the beach, riding bikes, swimming, and having barbecues. But this summer, Rose’s parents are constantly fighting, and her mother seems resentful and sad. In that unspoken way kids pick up on their parents’ hardships, Rose starts lashing out at Windy and grasping at what she thinks of as adulthood—turning up her nose at silliness (at which Windy excels), watching gory horror movies, reading fashion magazines, and joining in the bullying of a local teenage girl who finds herself in a tough spot. Jillian Tamaki’s tender illustrations, all rendered in a deep purpley blue, depict roiling water, midnight skies, Windy’s frenetic sugar highs, and Rose’s mostly aloof but often poignantly distressed facial expressions with equal aplomb. With a light touch, the Tamakis capture the struggle of growing up in a patchwork of summer moments that lead to a conclusion notably absent of lessons. Wistful, touching, and perfectly bittersweet. Grades 8-11. --Sarah Hunter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 300 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: First Second (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159643774X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596437746
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The artwork in "This One Summer" reaches out and pulls the reader into the story. It is a very sad but well told tale.

I have only one caution. The age range is 12-18. The subject matter is such that it may not be appropriate for some 12 year olds:
1)references to porn, oral sex, and blow jobs and 2) language.

You will have to decide if this is appropriate for your child. My older child can deal with it, but my younger one (still with in suggested age range) wanted nothing to do with it.

I was actually surprised at how difficult the story was. There was hope and joy, but so much sadness. The cover artwork is so joyful that I didn't expect it to be quite so heavy. I know it hinted at issues, but I was still not prepared.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"This One Summer" is a graphic novel by Mariko Tamaki with charcoal-and-ink art by Jillian Tamaki, a team of cousins whose first collaboration, Skim, won a New York Times Illustrated Children’s Book Award. "Summer" tells the complex and ultimately edifying story of Rose, a tween (her age is never stated) who deals with family tensions and—vicariously, by watching the local teens in the town where her family vacations—explores the mysterious world of near-adulthood.

Rose’s mom, Alice, is dealing with depression in the aftermath of a failed pregnancy, and this leads to conflict with Rose’s kindly (and slightly immature) dad. And as this conflict progresses from tension to acrimony to reconciliation, Rose finds her attention drawn—first as an observer, and then as a sort of spy—to a parallel drama playing out between a convenience-store clerk (and subject of a minor crush) and his apparently pregnant girlfriend. Her attention caught by these two stories, Rose seems to be pondering what role she can take on as an adult, and which one of the two roles that present themselves—familiar, beloved, but withdrawn mother, or emotional, liberated, but tragic teenage girl—lie closest to how she sees herself.

Also in the mix is Windy, Rose’s younger friend, who serves as a foil for Rose’s dilemma. Windy is full of slighting references to the teens’ drama, and whether this stems from sincere disdain or a desire to keep them at a safe distance, she gives voice to perspectives that are both younger and older than Rose’s. In this way, she serves as a representation of the ways in which the community around an adolescent can be both comforting and alienating.

Summer ends with these conflicts largely resolved.
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Format: Paperback
A graphic novel as good as This One Summer is hard to find. The story revolves around a single summer in the life of a girl who is on the cusp of adolescence. Everything is formative at that age. Events big and small all add up to shape a future that the child is only beginning to imagine. This is a story about the perils of family, the difficulty of growing up, and the process of learning to cope with life's complexity.

Rose and her parents go to their summer cottage on the beach where Rose hangs out with her friend Windy. They talk about boys (of course) and sex (of course), two topics about which they know little. They swim and watch scary movies and bond. They're surrounded by adult drama that they often don't quite understand. Rose's mother is unhappy and is doing her best to make her unhappiness known to the world, creating tension in Rose's summer, particularly after her father returns to the city. Rose takes a keen interest in a scruffy 18-year-old boy from the corner store although she doesn't know how to deal with her curiosity about him. Fortunately, she hasn't entered the raging hormone teenage years. The boy has, of course, and his raging hormones have gotten him into a messy situation.

I love Rose's attitude. Here's her take on Sex and the City: "Like, so they're 40 and they're having sex. Who cares?" Rose is always trying to puzzle out the meaning of adult behavior, even the behaviors of those who are only a few years older. Mariko Tamiko captures that uncertainty perfectly.

I also love the way the art nearly always conveys a sense of action, even if it's just a bird in flight or a blowing leaf. As they should be in a graphic novel, many panels are free of words.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This One Summer does a fantastic job of capturing the magic of a lazy summer when you aren't quite old enough to fit in with the big kids and not ready to leave that little kid stuff behind. Rose and Windy meet at their family's beach retreat every summer and this summer starts out with lots of talk of developing bodies, crushes, and speculation about the older teens they encounter.

There are a lot of surprisingly poignant moments in this thoughtful book. It covers so many issues as young Rose deals with her parents fighting, her mom's depression, and the teen pregnancy drama that is playing out with the older teen crowd. She and her friend Windy find themselves without much supervision, wondering at times where the magic of summer has gone, and at other times finding it in scary movie marathons and giggle filled speculation about the nature of oral sex.

The art in this graphic novel perfectly complements the thoughtful, contemplative mood of the text. Emotions are clearly portrayed, which add unexpected layers to the drama. The writing is compelling, encouraging the reader to zip through this book, however I would encourage any reader to slow down and examine the art. The payoff is huge as many will see themselves in moments of hurt and confusion, and also joy and love.

This One Summer is a fantastic example of what constitutes a great graphic novel and is an enthusiastic recommend for readers ages 14 and up.
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