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This One Summer Hardcover – May 6, 2014
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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
*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
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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.
This One Summer has been on my to be read list for a while now. I finally bought it back in early November of 2017, but for whatever reason I just kept putting off reading it. I either wasn't in the mood for a graphic novel or I had too much other stuff to read or work to do, and I just never picked it up.
This afternoon, though, I was combing through my bookshelf looking for something quick to read while my daughters watched Beauty and the Beast for the tenth time this week, and I decided that today I was finally going to pick this up.
Rose and her parents go to a lake house at Awago Beach every summer. There, Rose gets to spend the summer with her friend, Windy, and the two of them are inseparable for the whole summer. They can watch movies, go swimming, hang out at each other's houses - pretty much everything they want. Plus, Rose and her parents always have fun, too.
But this summer, things are already different. Her parents are fighting all the time, and sometimes they even quit talking to each other for long periods of time. Windy is acting a little different, and there is a new guy working at the little store in town, and Rose can't help but think about him a lot. When Rose and Windy witness something with the new guy's girlfriend, they try and put the pieces of this puzzle together to figure out what's going on.
At the same time, things are getting even worse between Rose's parents, and Windy doesn't seem to want to do the same things Rose wants to do anymore, making it seem as though they are growing apart.
This summer at Awago Beach is unlike any other, and it's the summer that it becomes obvious that Rose is really growing up, whether or not she is ready to.
Not only is that a really pretty cover, but the inside illustrations are really well done and add so much personality to this book. I love how they are only done in blue, grey, and purple hues instead of full color - it makes the story a lot deeper and more meaningful, and every page of this book is so beautiful.
I've seen some negative reviews for this book about the use of language being a problem for the younger audience, but truthfully, I've heard eight year old kids swear more than what is said in this book, so I can't really agree with that. Sure, there are words like "slut" thrown around here and there, but there isn't anything in this book that I think would be all that harmful - maybe the F-word once? Either way, that isn't something that would bother me, and if this is the kind of book my twelve year old daughter wanted to pick up, I would overlook that, because the book is a really meaningful graphic novel that touches on a lot of important things.
One of the important things that This One Summer touches on is the bond of friendship. I loved the friendship that went on between Rose and Windy. They loved each other like sisters, and spent all of their time together. They had meaningful conversations and they talked about real stuff. It's the kind of friendship you can't help but love.
Another thing that it touches on is parental issues and how it looks to a child. It might not seem like a big thing, but for those who have experienced it, it might help them to feel not quite as alone when dealing with the problems of their parents. In this book, Rose's parents have issues that they try to work out, but Rose can sense it and it really has an effect on her.
The characters, the story, and the illustrations are all beautifully done and incredibly easy to love. I finished this book in the course of a single afternoon and already plan on going back and rereading it very soon!