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This One Summer

Created by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki

Art by Marikko Tamaki

Review by Steve Seigh

This one summer I embarked on a road trip with my family. We drove  from our home  in Long Island, New York all the  way  to Denver, Colorado.  I’m happy to report that we survived our journey. After all, family car trips to just about anywhere will always be brutal, but imagine traveling while  trapped inside of a pale blue  Ford station wagon. My Dad was at the wheel, singing along to Stevie Wonder while passionately playing the “air piano” as my Mom slept soundly in the passenger seat next to him. My sister and I however, were forced to share the back seat. My father was a lot of things, and one of them is that he’s a man who knows how to plan a killer car ride.   We’d sample strange snacks from the local cuisine, stop at a few arcades, and spend our nights checking into quirky hotels (some of which  may or may not have been haunted). Often, my Dad, in his creepiest voice would tell us, “If you stare long enough, you might catch a glimpse of “The Lady Who Waits” looking out from the window on the second floor of our hotel across the way.” my Dad would say. This drove my sister insane. Can you tell that he was really into Horror movies? It was a great Summer.

The official synopsis for the book reads as follows:

Rose 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.

In my humble opinon, This One Summer is a book that begs its reader to step inside the shoes of its characters, and feel the emotional weight of their lives. It’s a coming-of-age story that embraces you with a warm summer breeze but then dunks you into the cooling waters of Awago Beach. I found it to be a lovely story about the shedding on ones skin, those precious couple of weeks where you realize that you have to grow up sometime.

The sisterly relationship between Rose and Windy is a wonderful thing to bare witness to as well. Through their summer adventures and thought-provoking conversations I could feel myself progressively becoming attached to the story of these two young women. I wanted nothing more but for them to be friends forever. Then, when I started to see the proverbial cracks in their friendship start  to form, I was moved, troubled, and found myself wishing for a better tomorrow as I read on.

I’m a finding in recent times that I’ve become a big fan of what I would describe as “slice of life” graphic novels. I really enjoy the sensation of feeling as if I’m a fly on the wall of these characters lives. This One Summer is a book that made me feel like I myself were vacation in Awago Beach. I could smell the bonfires burning on the beach, feel the squish of the wet sand beneath my toes, and taste the fading days of summer on my tongue. Much of these feelings can be attributed to the stunningly gorgeous art of Mariko Tamaki. The graphic novel is presented using only the colors of white and blue to tell its story and WOW! Tamaki’s art shines throughout the book, bringing with it a plethora of emotion and atmosphere that will have you feeling like you’re riding a roller coaster powered by a passion and of summers past.

VERDICT:

Buy it. Published by :01 First Second, This One Summer is a memorizing read that will leave you feeling as if you were pulled into a warm memory of a young women you’ve never met, but suddenly find yourself caring so much about. If true to life graphic novels are your thing and you feel like running the emotional gauntlet of what it’s like to be young and confused this is your book. I can’t recommend it enough.

This One Summer Review Soundtrack

I could not help but think of the song “Beaches” by the band Bridezilla while reading this book.

 

One Response

  1. rgsc

    Great review & I heartily agree with your verdict.
    I read this last week and loved it. As you suggest, this is a book that will resonate with anyone who has done those long summer road trips (our station wagon was maroon) or spent summer days at a cottage. And, oh, that art work. Stunning.

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