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Review: This One Summer

thisonesummer-coverRose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family.

But this summer is different.

Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, have redefined the teen graphic novel with This One Summer. The story is heartbreaking, hopeful, and a vibrant view into girlhood and growing up. The honesty, in both the characters, and situations are a breath of fresh air. The story, and its presentation feels like a big budget coming-of-age story, just on the printed page. The situation, reactions, interactions, it all feels very really, and honest. Kids act like kids, and especially act their age, making it all the more relateable.

For as much innocence, and “child antics,” the adults aren’t shorted either. Their arcs are emotionally resonating, and very real, examining the difficulty of adulthood, and marriage. In one solid graphic novel, adults, teens, and children, go through emotional arcs, somewhat tied together, and all resonating together. It’s a gut punch, and one hell of a read.

The art too is fantastic, mixing in simple panels, multi page spreads, and images that break the panels, with a flow that’s beautiful to stare at. The narrative at times is almost poetic, blending together text and imagery. The art is as beautiful as the story it brings to life.

This is an all ages entry, especially perfect for tweenage girls, looking for something with characters they can relate to, but also looking for something a bit more adult at the same time. This One Summer, is the perfect read during the upcoming summer days.

Story and Art: Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review