Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Review: This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

     This graphic novel perfectly encapsulates the idyllic feeling of summer. The book follows Rose, a young girl, and her family over one summer in their cottage near the beach. Throughout the story, Rose deals with family drama and its effects on her other emotions, depression, friendships, summer days, and local teenage crises. 
     This story captures the in between moments of summer-- the lazy days, the swimming, the deep thoughts, the casual friends, among other things. While there is not much of a plot, it reflects the slow, lethargic nature of summers as a school child. The nature of the content does lend better to a young adult audience, even though the story feels decidedly early teens/middle grade.
     Many reviews of this story express concern about the more adult content in this book. While I understand the concerns of fellow reviewers, the story appears to follow one early teen's process in learning and dealing with these concepts in the scope of her experiences. With that being said, Rose's thought processes and coping mechanisms are the main story line in the novel and were a little overpowering and off putting.
     The illustrations in this graphic novel are stunning, visceral, and evoke strong memories from one's owe childhood. I highly recommend this book, as a novice in graphic novels, to those just starting to explore the genre and those who may already enjoy it. While some of the content may be a little PG 13, it is nothing out of place in an early teens story. This novel highlights the strengths in the genre and reminds one of the early days in a way that would be difficult with only words.

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