#CBR7 Review #141: This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

I want to read more young adult graphic novels, so that I can reference them in future courses and to my students who want something new or different. The Chancellor had recommended This One Summer as a book that came across several “best-of” lists. My library had it, so I thought I would give it a try.

Mariko Tamaki, with her illustrator cousin Jillian Tamaki, creates a simple but unforgettable story that shows the power of rumor and suggestion, the uncertainty of family turmoil, and the painful process that is adolescence and growing up. Rose and her parents arrive at their lake house cabin by Awago Beach, to spend the summer, as they do each summer. Rose’s best friend Windy is in a cabin with her mom and grandmother nearby, as they always do. But somehow, this summer is just a bit different. Rose’s parents can’t stop fighting. Rose finds herself suddenly drawn to the convenience-store cashier, an older teen boy. And there are rumors, whispers, of some romantic drama happening with the older teens in the camp. And they include Rose’s crush. As the novel winds to its dramatic conclusion, Rose and Windy learn about the power of friendship and family as they begin to grow up.

The drawing in this novel is absolutely gorgeous. It’s simply sketched and inked, but you get a sense of the characters in this very concise background. And the writing eloquently captures what it means to be a teen girl on the cusp of adolescence, in yet not of. Rose is a finely-drawn character, one who resonated with me as I recalled my own struggles growing up. This novel is a must-read for me.

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