Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It's a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.
In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age—a story of renewal and revelation.
Mariko Tamaki is a Toronto writer, playwright, activist and performer. She works and performs with fat activists Pretty Porky and Pissed Off and the theatre troupe TOA, whose recent play, A vs. B, was staged at the 2004 Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Her well-received novel, Cover Me (McGilligan Books) was followed by a short fiction collection, True Lies: The Book of Bad Advice (Women's Press). Mariko's third book, FAKE ID, is due out in spring 2005.
Mariko Tamaki has performed her work across Canada and through the States, recently appearing at the Calgary Folkfest 2004, Vancouver Writer's Festival 2003, Spatial III, and the Perpetual Motion/Girls Bite Back Tour, which circled though Ottawa, Montreal, Brooklyn and Chicago. She has appeared widely on radio and television including First Person Singular on CBC radio and Imprint on TVO. Mariko Tamaki is currently attending York University working a master's degree in women's studies.
I rarely write GR reviews, but I almost didn't pick this up because of some of the reviews I've seen, so I wanted to add my five stars.
This is a quiet book. Much of the action is observed rather than experienced by the protagonists, but the impact it has on them is deeply felt. If you're looking for grand resolutions or "boy did I learn my lesson" closure, you won't find it here. And that's exactly as it should be.
This One Summer beautifully and poignantly captures a particular moment in girlhood when we begin to understand the way the world sees women and begin to make our own judgments about how we wish to be perceived ourselves. Watching Rose struggle with the idea of wanting to be a "cool girl," and of what it means to be seen as a "bad girl" or "slut" isn't comfortable, but if feels wholly real. The way she and Windy soak up the opinions and behaviors of those around them, the way they take those messages into themselves, and their burgeoning self-consciousness as they leave childhood behind is honestly and painfully drawn, but never skews preachy. (And the idea that this book in any way condones slut shaming is utterly absurd.)
The huge bummer of the graphic novel is that someone labors for ages over their creation and then you sit down with your pint of Chubby Hubby and make mincemeat of the both of them within the hour. I always feel a little awful about it, and this is probably the kind of thing the French have a word for--the sorrow of beauty’s brevity. Anyway it’s hard to imagine a [French-word-for-the-sorrow-of-beauty’s-brevity] more hollowing than the end of summer. Those last days of August nearly slaughtered me when I was a child--time closing in and thinning out, cooling all your firefly sparks and kicking them under dead leaves. Ugh. This One Summer is a story, on its face, about the end of one season in the lives of two families. But it is also--subtly, brilliantly, and infinite-refractingly--a story about girlness and womanness, from incipience to crux to decline, and the spaces between those lodestars, and what it is to inhabit them. The protagonist is Rose, a girl teetering on the cusp between child- and adulthood--on the one side is freedom, where she knows herself and the world and how those two things work together to form her life. On the other is the freakish unknown, where boobs and blood and boys are lurking, waiting to trip her up and malform her. Rose’s summer buddy, Windy, a year and a half younger, is fascinated by Rose, but also a little leery--she watches her for clues about what her own future will hold, both the gains and the losses. Windy is at the lake with her rad hippie mother, and there is as well a wonderful, salty grandmother and even a couple of teenaged girls poured into short-shorts and halter tops. It’s all very maiden, mother, crone in a sly, satisfying way that will make you feel clever for having thought of that. The plot, in keeping with a long summer daze, is not especially complicated; for all its apparent simplicity, however, this is a story with kind of a lot of heavy stuff going on. Without being too spoilery, the subject of fertility plays a fairly central role, with marital discord setting up a good handful of scenes, a few cameos by our old pal Internalized Misogyny, and even death rearing its seamonster head in a series of dark, disturbing panels late in the book. A lovely washed-out lavender bluegray scheme keeps the action at a remove, like these are your own memories dimly recalled from hot, bright days long past; it also provides a constant immersion in the melancholy that informs the core of the story--all the things we have to leave behind in order to become the things we’ll be. If this all sounds a hair downer-y, let me drop on you the knowledge that Windy (who is so true to herself and thoroughly charming as to border on Manic Pixie Dream Summer Buddy territory) krunks at one point in the book, which, if comic book krunking doesn’t make you want to get up on this like yesterday I don’t even know. It's just a great book, and it will make you feel poignant about the trials of your youth and stoked about the less-gruesome row all the little ladies of the future have to hoe, and then stoked again to be on the other end of the trials, just stoked to be a dame. Like, I meet monthly with an all-female graphic novel book club, in apartments scattered throughout Brooklyn, talking about books and art and life in general over what can only be described as consistently sumptuous snack feasts. The women are all insanely terrific, just smart and genuine and creative and thoughtful in ways you think TV makes up when you are a gloomy child living in some redneck backwater. We are not very old and this is not at all uncommon--to have all your ladyfriends be straight-up world-changing amazing. It is a good time to be a woman--the tide that has been turning since feminism’s first wave has obviously not washed away all the grody flotsam (there is still heckuva grody flotsam), but a pretty decent beach has been revealed and it is really possible to spend a lot of your time there, face tilted to the sun.
The thing about graphic novels is that you have TWO giant elements: the writing AND the art.
The art in this book was phenomenal. Absolutely wonderful. I have not a single complaint. There was a giant combination of different types of panels - squares, rectangles, splash pages.. and all of them were gorgeous. And it was all purple! I loved that it was all purple. Very moody and lovely.
The writing/story, however.. meh :( It felt a little boring, and not for lack of plot, but because of lack of follow through. There were two interesting things going on, but there was no sense of growth in either story, and no type of conclusion.
I'm happy to have this in my collection, and I will be picking it up again at times to admire the art (I actually kind of want to cut some pages out and hang them up!), but I think the story was not 100%!
This One Summer is worth a read for the breathtaking artwork alone. Check it out:
Unfortunately, the story didn’t do much for me. I really liked the idea of a summer of firsts and lessons, but when it was all said and done, I don’t really think the main character learned anything. There’s some slut-shamming done and she never understood why it wasn’t okay to say certain things. Though her friend did correct her a few times, she seemed to just write it off. The book also never felt like it actually had a climax at all. It largely felt like a summer of revelations that was witnessed by the main character, but she doesn’t seem to have a strong reaction to most things either way. As a result, it was very hard for me to place my feeling about her and I’m left wondering what the whole point was of the book. But again, the art is beautiful.
6/22/21: Reread with summer class on YA Comics and Graphic Novels with Kick-ass Main Characters, and loved it again, and the class--those that have finished it, ahem--say they love it. A coming of age story that focuses on ONE summer and on girls and women and their relationships with (in the focus of this story, at least) with men. Girls 10 and 12 on the cusp of being teens; teens, teenaged pregnancy; adults with kids who are trying to have more kids. A classic.
7/10/19 Reread with a small group of students focused on coming of age stories. So good.
6/23/17 Reread update, after reading it with my YA Comics/Graphic Novels class this summer. The way all great novels can be, better each time you read it, and it is always a privilege to experience reading with others who also like/love it, especially (for me) people who have never read anything like it before. Most of them have never read graphic novels. So many small details, the mundane, become important. Was choked up speaking with the class of the resolution, Alice, the mother, in the water, saving another, saving herself.
9/16/16 Update, fourth reading: This is better and better every time I read it, and reading it with others always increases my love for it, too. I'd just read this for a summer class in July, but I connected it this fall with Ghost World and Black Hole because they all deal with teen girls' explorations/struggles with becoming sexually active. The class, mostly women, were really engaged with this book. They really seemed to get into the subtleties of the text, the fact that the images carry most of the weight of the story, minimal gestures and facial expressions, and not much talking. An emotional center.
I'll leave the July review intact, but just add here something I don't discuss below in my review, that water--a lake where they go for two weeks every summer--figures in mightily in this story. It's the central image and emotional site of the story. As we know, swimming can be a joyous summer experience, and it can also be dangerous. And we have no real idea through most of the book why it is such an anguished site for Alice, the mother. Or why that changes for Alice in one dramatic moment.
9/16 original review: This One Summer is the collaboration of two cousins, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, who work seamlessly on their story of a summer at a cottage on Lake Huron focused on "woman/girls in peril" as observed by girls "in transition" between tween-age and teen-age, the very cusp of womanhood. More accurately, it is focused on Rose, at 12, who hangs with 10 year old Windy every summer. This summer is different, though, in that 1) Rose's mother is depressed and fighting with her husband; she wants more children, but [spoiler alert, sorry]: she had a miscarriage; 2) Rose has begun to register an interest in boys, particularly a guy named Dunc (Windy calls him Dud) who seems to be the summer crush at this little resort area, and 3) they watch a lot of horror movies, which, as you know, feature (usually) girls being pursued by dark mysterious (principally male?) forces and sometimes slashed. Dunc also seems to have impregnated one of the local girls, Jenny; Jenny is one of the girls in the area referred to casually by the boys as "sluts," though all of the teens seem to party together.
So this is a book about what it means to be growing up female, an early coming-of-age book. The cusp of it all, after the innocence of so many fun, carefree summers. The (darker) adult world looms for Rose, as she and Windy all summer sift through artifacts of the local teen/grownup life--empties, cigarettes--the detritus of the teen party scene, and they overhear rude/profane conversations about sex. Through this inquiry they come to understand what it means to be a teenaged girl and how boys fit into this scenario. Danger ahead, sure, and yet desire looms, regardless.
Talk of sex is everywhere in This One Summer. Windy asks if Rose has a boyfriend, resents her crush on Dunc. Rose resents her mother's pursuit of more babies, though Rose thinks she would like one herself, maybe, at some point, with (daydream twelve-year-old fantasy) Dunc or someone like him. She reads comics and books with romance in them. Desire/crush begins to quietly consume her and Windy resents it. Windy is not ready for any of these considerations herself. She's ten,she wants summer with her friend to last forever! She mostly just wants to swim and dance and dig holes in the sand with Rose.
A lot of people love this for Jillian Tamaki's art especially and I agree. Her art is even more amazing here than on their previous project, Skim, which I also loved. Many people seem to hate this for a lack of narrative, that little happens, but I disagree with that, as so so much happens "this one summer," multiple interpersonal crises, and so much more that is happening is reflected in the visuals, in the inviting/foreboding lavender/purple/indigo coloration, the deftly subtle facial expression, the spot-on dialogue. It's in my opinion very spare and subtle, very slice-of-life as it gives you the sense of what it may be like for girls in the transition between childhood and teens. Most importantly, it takes advantage of the comics medium. A small gesture, a wince, a tear. Subtle representations in word and image. Not much happens, in a sense, not much gets resolved, but really, everything happens.
The most important things happen in this novel in response to these crises in very small ways--a hug or not, a word expressed or not. A smirk, a small smile. It is great patient and spare storytelling deliberately getting at small moments of summer crush, and pregnant girl dilemma and mom and dad dilemma. And friendship pressures.
This is my third time reading it, and this time I was actually quite moved by it. Maybe it's having a daughter. Maybe it's reading all the literary/visual parallelism, the beauty of that. This book is such a tween book, in a way, and evidence for that is that it was a Caldecott Honor Book (for children!) and such a teen book, too, and evidence for that is that it is also a Printz Honor Book (for teens!), and yay, a graphic novel, a beautiful collaboration between cousins. This is a book maybe designed especially to speak to girls and women, and I love it. And I have to say the men in my class this summer also seemed to especially appreciate it. Yay for all that.
The artwork was STUNNING in this book but that's where my love ends. I felt this could have told a bigger story and made a bigger impact but it felt very open ended honestly. I did resonate with the mother so very much ( you'll know once you read the book) But I wanted more plot, more depth.
This story follows Rose's yearly summer trip with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It's their getaway, their refuge. Rosie's friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different.
This One Summer felt like a great summer read. And even though the plot wasn’t the most exciting, it still kept me flipping page after page. Plus, the friendship and banter between the two main characters added some needed humor to the story.
(Windy’s dance moves are hilariously great)
A great read to reminisce about those summery days with spectacular illustrations in it. I'm excited to read more from the authors!
*Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buyingThis One Summer, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!*
I'm going to gush, going to tell you that, as far as graphic novels go, this is best in show.
I didn't only turn the pages of this illustrated story with great enthusiasm, I experienced moments of great reflection here (held my breath a moment or two, too).
This book knocked me out.
The writer/illustrator team of This One Summer, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, are Canadian cousins who have clearly listened to how preteens speak and how preteens act and/or they have remembered their own feelings in adolescence so very, very well. They also know how to illustrate a story with a clear layout and a color palate that is remarkably pleasing to the eye.
This book is just filled, every inch, with authenticity. I didn't doubt Rose or Windy (the preteens) or their parents, or any of the characters here.
And Rose's struggle. . . with her feelings of not quite being a child anymore but not being accepted as a teen, either, are real. And she wants to explain it all to her friend, Windy, but Windy's a year and a half younger and she's still relating better to a child's world. The girls are stumbling a bit in their friendship, trying to find their way in all of the changes. They're noticing struggles within their parents' marriages for the first time as well and are more reluctant to turn to them for guidance.
So much of the material here made me think about my own adolescence and how hasty I was to throw other girls my age under the bus. The girls are shifting, wondering about how to behave as teens and women, especially when the examples around them seem so. . . disappointing.
Personally, I think this book is ideal for the 12+ crowd, probably favored by females, and I believe that teachers and parents should read it first before selecting it for the readers in their lives. A few “f bombs” are dropped here, and some mature conversation takes place, surrounding sexuality and the topics of miscarriage and pregnancy.
I loved this book, and I plan on ordering multiple copies so I may hand them out like bags of M&Ms at birthday parties.
Everyone has said it. I concur, the art is superb.
What I don't understand is how people thought nothing happened in the book... Hmmm, I suppose things didn't blow up, and there were no car chases, and true there were no explicit sex scenes. So nothing like that happened, I agree. But a lot of things that may seem insignificant to adults or to anyone other than the few children, teenagers, adults involved in the story happened. A lot happened in their lives. Perhaps people have forgotten how important it was to find out stuff about the older teenagers, and try to make sense of it all, or how important it was that parents get along when they were younger.
Every bit of the book is genuinely brilliant. The languid summer vacation disturbed with a friendship that is changing, a small-scale domestic drama at home, back to a boring visit to a small-town museum, a chance encounter, a tragedy averted, teenage drama unraveling deliciously in front of the two girls who are disgusted and intrigued by the adult world, and many nights spent in the horror of bad scary films... Almost everything about the story is understated, which, I suspect, is why people thought nothing happened in the novel. There are very few moments of extreme dramatics, and most of the time is spent not saying things, trying to get through things, not understanding things, which is pretty close to my coming-of-age experience, as I think must be to many people's. The friendship between the girls, one being a whole 1.5 years younger than the other, is perfectly executed. The difference in home culture is also well done, creating some interesting and funny moments.
Perhaps the only thing that could have made it better for me was if Rose's mother was given a better opportunity to explain herself. I know this is not always the case in real life, but I felt like a tiny bit more would have done it better justice.
Recommended for those who do not need explosions and severe dramatics to find a story interesting!
Two boring teen girls spend their summer hanging out at the beach with their families. Nothing happens for 300 pages and then something does to give the narrative an unearned sense of purpose. This One Summer? This one sucks.
It really is surprising how little happens in this book. Mariko Tamaki writes a convincing portrayal of some teens’ summer holiday experience except is it worth writing when it’s this banal? She has nothing to say about the girls, nothing to say in general, nothing happens and the thing at the end was contrived literary pap at best. The book’s message seems to be: growing up, eh? It’s a… thing that… happens…
Also, note to Mariko Tamaki: excessive use of “like” in dialogue does not make for realistic teenspeak - it’s exactly the kind of irritating detail a crap writer who doesn’t know how to write young people’s dialogue would do.
Jillian Tamaki’s art is really impressive. It’s very skilful, emotive, and just looks very beautiful. She really captures the spirit of nature with her visuals and was the only thing that kept me turning the pages.
It’s amazing to me how critically acclaimed this one is when it’s so clearly lacking in substance. Definitely not one to bother with - Mariko Tamaki writes another turkey (jerky)!
Possibly my favorite thing about this book is that it is blue.
I mean, I love the plot and the characters and how the problems of growing up are presented and then not easily resolved like tying a bow; I love that there are parents who have their own problems; I love that the dialogue is spare and meaningful and that the art is gorgeous.
This One Summer is a wonderful book.
But I love that Mariko and Jillian made the creative leap to think of this book in another color -- this book was not drawn in blue, I should note. It was drawn in black and white and then the authors were like, 'maybe this would be better if we made it some kind of other color; how about that?'
So we saw lots of samples and had the printer print them on the real book paper and took a lot of time and thought making the decision, and it turns out that it is awesome.
The marriage between the story & the graphics are a beautiful relationship!!! You couldn't have the graphics without the story, and you couldn't have this story without the graphics.
The story is bittersweet, powerful, charming, and sad.....a coming of age young adult gorgeous graphic......dealing with real issues. Two young girls are dealing with their own set of problems while adults in their lives are also struggling. Lots of details hidden in the graphics..... truthful expressions built into the characters faces. Great expression-action moves, too, ....like swimming for example.
Rose is a little older than Windy.... but they have been hanging out together every summer during family beach vacations. This year, Rose's parents are fighting a lot.... creating tension for everyone in the family. Also with Rose being 12, and Windy being 10....their age difference is showing up more this summer than in past years. 'Boys'.....is always the *it* that can come between girls friendships while growing up.
The age range is 12 to 18..... There's an awful lot of sex and swearing....so, if I were a parent of a 12-year-old, I would hesitate having my daughter read this at age 12. By 14 or 15, I think the book would be fine. Point is...it's for more mature teens in my opinion. As for me.....I thought the writing and visuals were both wonderful! I enjoyed my one- sitting read. This is another one of those "SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BOOK TO TOUCH"!!!!
This book is so incredibly, wonderfully beautiful that it almost hurts me to give it two stars. The art is all but perfect, with exactly the right level of detail. The individual characters are drawn as exactly that, individuals, and I never doubted who I was looking at. The expressions are also very clear. Best of all, the art is reproduced in the same lovely, smokey shade of blue as on the cover. If this had been a wordless book, I think I would have been perfectly happy.
But it's not. The biggest problem, for me, was that I simply couldn't stand the main character, Rose. She's often mean and judgmental, and she's just unpleasant to spend time with. She spends much of the summer furiously angry towards an older girl, gleefully labeling her a slut every chance she gets. Why? Because the clerk at the gas station, an older boy Rose has a crush on, got her pregnant and now wants to avoid responsibility. Now, it's very clear that the book isn't condoning Rose's slut shaming, but that doesn't make it any easier to read. She's also terrible to her mother, who's obviously experiencing some form of depression. It's true that her mother doesn't communicate with Rose what's going on with her or why, but Rose doesn't seem to have the least bit of sympathy for her anyways. She isn't even a terribly good friend to Windy, her lakeside friend since they were little. Most of the time, she seems bored by her.
It might have helped if there'd been more of a plot. It's just Rose being hateful towards a girl she doesn't even know, Rose being terrible towards her mother, and Rose being a subpar friend. Yes, it's a very pretty book, but it's only worth looking at, not reading.
This is a hard graphic novel to rate for me. There's a lot of poignancy and well-meant subtext surrounding girls discovering what society is like for women and how easy it can be to fall prey to internalized misogyny and tearing each other down, but at the same time, I don't think any of it is addressed clearly enough for the target demographic. If this were a graphic novel geared towards adults or the older YA range, I wouldn't think twice about the fact that nobody really calls Rose out on calling other girls "sluts" and saying that it's "their fault" for being abused, but I don't think it's entirely safe to hand a book this vague to a middle-grade or early YA reader (which is the group I think this story most strongly appeals to, but that could just be me!) and to simply assume that they'll understand the tongue-in-cheek meanings the creators tried to present.
On a less serious note, I also went with 3 stars because, while the art is lovely, the plot is mostly extremely boring.
The ending was so disappointing! Nothing was solved in terms of the mother's depression, Rose's romantic interest, etc. I wish things could have been more developed. This One Summer felt like a story entirely made of fluff, which was fine, I guess. Not all books need to have huge plotlines or twists and turns. So, it wasn't so much that I minded the simplicity; rather, I would have liked some closure towards the end. Otherwise, the story feels unfinished.
This was a unique and very different graphic novel but I really, really liked it.
I read this in one sitting which shouldn’t be surprising as it’s a graphic novel but I couldn’t put it down. I think with this one, readers will either love it or hate it. The reason I say this is because as much as there is stuff going on within the story, there isn’t much resolution. I know I am still left with unanswered questions but I still feel content with the way it ended.
I also think that part of me enjoyed this graphic novel hugely due to it being related to characters that go to a beach annually each summer. Those kind of stories have always appealed to me, even if that was never the case for me. There is just something about the tradition and adventure of a summer getaway.
This will definitely appeal to some and others will not enjoy it. I loved the artwork, the way this story was told, and I will possibly look for more written by this duo in the future.
Let’s play a little bit of catch-up. I mean, not the type that I actually need to do which are the 40 other books I have yet to review ranging all the way back to the beginning of the year, but the type where I half-ass talk about a graphic novel I read last week for . . . .
Basically, This One Summer is about just that – one summer. The summer in question is the final one where the balance between remaining a kid and becoming a grown-up begins to shift. While at the beach, this is the year where Rose wants to spend less time digging holes with her pal Windy and more time noticing the local boys and wondering if her boobs are ever going to come in. It’s also the year after something terrible happened to her parents causing constant arguments and uncomfortable silences.
This story was challenged basically for being a coming of age story, proving once again that this country is full of people who make me say . . . . .
The big shock and awe factor this time around? Teen pregnancy. The horror. I’m giving this 2.5 Stars because there wasn’t anything wrong with it – it just wasn’t my idea of a great time. I’m rounding up because the artwork was excellent . . . .
This was also the first time I’ve ever read a graphic novel on the ol’ Kindle. I have to say, while paper will always be my medium of choice when it comes to “pitcherbooks” – reading this electronically wasn’t nearly as painful as I thought it would be.
Compared to Skim, This One Summer makes for a rather milquetoast affair. That is not to say that is bad but I did find the story and characters to be bland and very much been-there-done-that. This could have worked if the narrative had presented us with a more compelling protagonist than Rosie who is a painfully generic teen who yearns to be seen as one of older teens and not a kid. Every summer she and her parents stay at a lake house in Awago Beach. There she reconnects with Windy, her childhood friend, who is a year younger than she (a fact which rosie is low-key embarrassed by). Rosie’s parents are going through something and Rosie acts like an entitled brat. She begins renting horror films in order to impress a boy who is clearly a bad egg, going so far as to slag-off other girls. Windy, however one-dimensional, was a much more likeable character. Rosie’s angsting, however ‘understandable’ given that her parents are fighting and she’s currently traversing those painful & awkward teen years, still irked me. She elicited very little sympathy on my part. Whereas the story in Skim never bored me, here I found many scenes to be redundant and repetitive. There was something vaguely moralistic about the ending too and Rosie’s ‘growth’ didn’t entirely ring true. Still, the illustrations, while a bit more conventional than Skim, are lovely and if you are a fan of the Tamaki duo, well, you should consider giving this one a chance.
Reli em 9/3/20 e sigo encantada com a arte desse livro :)
Tô encantada com esse livro. Eu, que não gosto do Verão, fiquei com vontade de passar uns dias dentro dessas artes.
Adorei a amizade entre as protagonistas, as conversas delas e também a forma com que as autoras trouxeram, entre os temas banais e característicos dessa época da vida, conflitos familiares e mais adultos.
Já quero ler mais graphic novels dessas mulheres talentosas :)
This One Summer es el verano hecho novela gráfica. El sentimiento de nostalgia y de tranquilidad que transmite en todas y cada una de sus páginas es mágico. Las ilustraciones son una pasada, y es una historia que disfrutas y devoras sin darte cuenta. Es una novela preciosa, de esas que te hacen sentir calentito por dentro. En resumen: una maravilla.
Half a star for tricking someone into publishing this, and one star for the fantastic five-star artwork. Tragedy to have such great art with this dung heap narrative. Almost no plot, no conflicts, just a sour, artsy-liberal meditation with admittedly well-executed tone and very soft themes you have to really dig to find. Almost, ALMOST nothing really happens.
And the last lines, you ask? "maybe I will have massive boobs. Boobs would be cool." that's the nugget of truth we are left with in this Focus Feature-like indie movie, appealing to 1 percent of the teenagers who come in the libraries, obscurely written by (what came across to me as) feminists about their own self-important childhoods being sold off as psudo-fiction.
Here's what I learned: Innocence is lost because people older than you are fuck-ups.
see my progress updates for more complaining. Awful graphic novel. Read "Blankets" or "Anya's Ghost" or "Smile" for novels with substance that actually appeal to teens.
I was a fan of these authors' previous collaboration, Skim, but I had resisted this one because I've generally found First Second's YA comics kind of unsatisfying. I should have known this one would be head and shoulders above the rest. In addition to having beautiful, fabulous artwork, This One Summer reminded me of the 1970s YA novels I'd check out from the library as a kid: slightly risque, with a main character on the cusp of puberty and a best friend who's still on the childish side, encountering adult situations, arguing with each other, and growing as a result, but not too much. Great, fun read.
This is a very quiet, subtle story that other reviewers seem to either embrace or find very annoying because "nothing happens."
The Weird: This book is awkwardly unclassifiable. So far as I can tell, it's being promoted as a YA story, but main character Rose is too young for YA, as she seems to be around 12, and her friend Windy is a year and a half younger, so she's about 10. Then, much of the story is actually about adult problems.
I think kids from 11 or so up could appreciate this book, but I also think it's a story adults relate to and "get" much better than kids are likely to. This isn't a story for kids so much as it's a story about being a kid, and how adults don't tell you things so you're stuck trying to figure those things out by eavesdropping or putting together what little they say in front of you, and how not knowing what's going on can be far more anxious-making than being told, even when what the grownups are hiding is sad or upsetting.
The Good: I really enjoyed this book. It's a graphic novel, so it was a very quick read, and the pictures are gorgeous, all done in a lovely purple-blue ink that perfectly reflects the bittersweet mood of the whole story.
For all that the book is so short, it covers a huge amount of emotional ground. Rose says she and Windy, both only children, are like sisters as they've spent this summer vacation together every year since Rose was five. But this year, the difference in their ages is showing a little. Meanwhile, Rose's parents are barely speaking to each other. Rose tells us they tried to have another baby the year before, but it didn't work, and Rose is fretting that maybe she's not enough for them. Rose develops a crush on Duncan, a teenage boy who works at the convenience store, and struggles with her reaction to learning that he's impregnated his girlfriend. I found the unwanted-baby versus the wanted-but-never-gotten-baby storylines deeply poignant, and they eventually intersect in a surprising way.
Since this is a slice-of-life story, it just ... ends, with Rose's family driving away from Awago Beach, just as it opened with the family driving in. Nothing is really resolved; life just goes on. And yet, I personally found it satisfying, even as it made me cry.
So I definitely recommend this book if you're in the mood for something different and evocative with lovely pictures and few but deeply expressive words. It's deceptively simple, with a really complex undercurrent that I'm still processing.
I would have liked this more if the main character (Rose) hadn't been an absolute cow who did nothing but slut-shame girls she didn't even know. And when she wasn't doing that she was being bitchy and judgemental about her depressed mum. Unsurprisingly, when it came to the guys around her, she was all about worshipping them and excusing all their douchey behaviour. I was expecting a summery sort of read about two teenage girls growing up and whatnot. Instead I got a female hating, selfish main character who whined and moaned about anyone who didn't have a dick. It was nauseating, Rose was so miserable and up herself. Even Rose's best friend (Windy) who was a couple of years younger than her noticed how sexist and horrible she was and called her out on her bitchy and unfair remarks. Rose didn't listen though, she was adamant that all females (except a select few) were bitches and whores. Ugh, I don't know why Windy was friends with her, she was so fun and witty compared to sour faced Rose.
I was expecting that by the end Rose would learn some lessons but she didn't. Even when one of the girls Rose bitched about and slut shamed nearly died, Rose never looked back at her behaviour as wrong. She wasn't sorry or guilty about her misogyny and pathetic attitude, at most she was just a touch thoughtful about her summer and that was about it. Ugh, I hated her so much, despite knowing on some level she'd been wrong to judge other girls, she still learned nothing. The cow.
The illustrations weren't that impressive, they were decent enough but nothing great.
Bastante rápida de leer. Trescientas veinte páginas y un arte bastante bonito. La lección de que la interpretación de las cosas varía según el espectador. Un verano real, sin locas fantasías y amores fugaces. Estoy satisfecho. Recomendable.
"—It feels good. Floating. It feels like flying."
"—We couldn't figure out what to bring you so we brought cupcakes and wine. And Balloons."
"—I'm a zombie. I have these crazy toughts. Like, I wish. I wish I was a little kid. So I could just scream and be mad. It's terrible to say, but I wish I could just... disappear."
"—The girls in this movie are screamers. —Yeah. Well. I mean, they are getting stabbed. So..."
"—Yes. Well. Mother Nature isn't always the nicest person in the world. —She's a bitch. —Yeah, she's a bit of a bitch sometimes."