Graphic Novel Review: This One Summer

Posted May 26, 2014 by Kara in book review, Kara / 2 Comments

Graphic Novel Review: This One SummerThis One Summer by Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki
Published by Groundwood Books Limited on 2014-05-01
Genres: graphic novel, young adult
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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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.

I hate slut shaming. I really do. I can handle it if it’s corrected, if the behavior is called out by another character, if the one doing the shaming realizes their mistakes. But when it’s never fixed and and the character is a whiny little brat, I have issues. And that was my main problem with This One Summer.

The art is gorgeous. There were no issues there. I had no trouble following the panels like I have before in other graphic novels. For the most part, I think the story and the protagonist’s passive role in all the action going on around her was an interesting path to take. I love First Second as a publisher because they take risks with the work they decide to put out there.

Years ago, I used to go up north to a cottage every summer. I had summer friends, I had summer activities and summer crushes. SO a book like this was almost perfect for me. I enjoyed it a lot and related to much of the content in the book. I felt like something was missing though.

I know the protagonist was just a kid, but I couldn’t help disliking her and the way she treated others. She had a crush on an older boy, and without even knowing his girlfriend, decided she was a slut. She treated her mother horribly. Though her mother did the same in return, neglecting her family members for her own selfish feelings. Maybe that’s why Rose was such a brat. She was acting out due to her mother’s negligence. Whatever it was, it was never made clear and I was left confused and guessing.

I enjoyed this, I just didn’t love it. It makes me really want to read another book about summer break though!

Also, I know my reviews have been shorter lately, but I’ve adapted this for a while to see if it makes writing reviews feel like less of a chore. I was just not enjoying it anymore and it felt tedious. Plus, I think people are more likely to read short reviews anyway. So I hope that’s okay for now. If you have deeper bookish questions that aren’t covered, feel free to contact me.


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