This One Summer - Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki

I read this last night after dinner. It's a 346 page YA graphic novel - a shorty.

 

Rose and her parents spend part of every summer in a lake cottage at Awago Beach, a small, somewhat rural summer tourist village. She and her summer friend, Windy, who has been her vacation friend since the age of 5, reconnect after a year of being a part and discover all the ways they've both changed in the last year. Meanwhile, Rose's parents are struggling, she stumbles into some town drama, and has to sort out her own feelings of attraction.

 

It would be hard for me to recommend this to anyone - on one hand, I appreciate how good it is at nailing some adolescent feelings and emotions against the back-drop of some heavily adult situations but where some teens would gobble this memoir-like story up, others would likely be turned off by it.

 

There's not resolution, no driving story, and some uncomfortable moments during Rose's summer at the lake cottage with her friend, Windy. Touching moments are made real with some great splash pages. Honestly, the art is what lifted this book to another level and gave it the emotion it needed to carry it through to the end.

 

As a parent, this is the type of book that I'd want to read first before handing it off to my kiddo because I'd want to ask questions/open a dialogue. While nothing graphic occurs, and while seen through very innocent eyes, it does deal with teen-pregnancy and like issues. The protagonists are 14-15, a precarious time for girls who are not quite children and definitely not adults.

 

I will put here that there should be a trigger warning for miscarriage and infertility.

 

So, I'm torn. I didn't really enjoy it but I appreciated that it was created in such a way that we get to explore complex feelings of growing up and maturing without having to see our protagonists suffer through life altering choices.

 

This One Summer was my real life bookclub selection for September.