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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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Top customer reviews
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.
The product descriptions by different authors describe it well enough, albeit in the fashion that a college student adds words they pull from a thesaurus to increase their word count. This One Summer does well to capture the feeling that many preteens have where they are no longer children, but not quite teenagers, stuck in a limbo between childish endeavors and the more mature, adult world that they wish to delve into. It is also somewhat subtle and understanding of children that experience a rough spot in their parent's relationship - as someone whose parents got divorced, I feel that the author captured the odd and unspoken complications very well, which really just foreshadows the issues experienced by the teenagers they begin to take interest in.
The book itself is well-made and can survive the abuse of a steel-gripped monster like me who clings to the thing like a life preserver, and my rough page turning did not result in any tearing. Although other reviewers, professional and amateur, praise the art style and dream-like flow of the book, I feel as though this is overdone to some degree. The art is beautiful and there is great attention to detail, but I prefer solid transitions, and find them lacking these days.
I have no freaking clue how this got the Caldecott Medal, though. Putting aside all of the mature content that more prudish parents would object to, there are many themes and topics that will go over the heads of most pre-high school children. Considering that it has an experiential aspect to it by capturing that awkward transition between child and teenager which I mentioned above, people who haven't gone through that probably won't get it. I don't even care if my hypothetical children see the word slut and learn about the sexy times from this book, I would not give it to them because it's too advanced.
I had to see what the fuss was about. I agree: not appropriate for second graders, but would be fine for the 12-18 year olds the publisher says it is for.
In the long run, this was a great coming of age story for a young girl. I would recommend it to anyone, even adults wishing to relive the turmoil of those days.
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (YA)
I am not a huge reader of graphic novels but I liked this one. Two young girls reconnect every summer at their family's cabins. This summer, one is dealing with the problems her parents are having after her mother suffers a miscarriage. While the format seems light and fun, the story tells with heavy issues such as possible divorce, adoption, teenage pregnancy and coming of age. Both the writing and the illustrations were well done. I enjoyed it. I believe middle school girls would especially like this book. I borrowed this book from my public library.
Most recent customer reviews
Nevertheless, the pictures and the story was wonderful.