Book Title:
This One Summer
Book Author:
Mariko Tamaki
Book Illustrator:
Jillian Tamaki
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
May 6th, 2014
First Second
Date Read:
February 27th, 2018


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.

My Review

This One Summer has been on my to be read list for a while now.  I finally bought it back in early November of 2017, but for whatever reason I just kept putting off reading it.  I either wasn’t in the mood for a graphic novel or I had too much other stuff to read or work to do, and I just never picked it up.

This afternoon, though, I was combing through my bookshelf looking for something quick to read while my daughters watched Beauty and the Beast for the tenth time this week, and I decided that today I was finally going to pick this up.

Rose and her parents go to a lake house at Awago Beach every summer.  There, Rose gets to spend the summer with her friend, Windy, and the two of them are inseparable for the whole summer.  They can watch movies, go swimming, hang out at each other’s houses – pretty much everything they want.  Plus, Rose and her parents always have fun, too.

But this summer, things are already different.  Her parents are fighting all the time, and sometimes they even quit talking to each other for long periods of time.  Windy is acting a little different, and there is a new guy working at the little store in town, and Rose can’t help but think about him a lot.  When Rose and Windy witness something with the new guy’s girlfriend, they try and put the pieces of this puzzle together to figure out what’s going on.

At the same time, things are getting even worse between Rose’s parents, and Windy doesn’t seem to want to do the same things Rose wants to do anymore, making it seem as though they are growing apart.

This summer at Awago Beach is unlike any other, and it’s the summer that it becomes obvious that Rose is really growing up, whether or not she is ready to.

Not only is that a really pretty cover, but the inside illustrations are really well done and add so much personality to this book.  I love how they are only done in blue, grey, and purple hues instead of full color – it makes the story a lot deeper and more meaningful, and every page of this book is so beautiful.

I’ve seen some negative reviews for this book about the use of language being a problem for the younger audience, but truthfully, I’ve heard eight year old kids swear more than what is said in this book, so I can’t really agree with that.  Sure, there are words like “slut” thrown around here and there, but there isn’t anything in this book that I think would be all that harmful – maybe the F-word once?  Either way, that isn’t something that would bother me, and if this is the kind of book my twelve year old daughter wanted to pick up, I would overlook that, because the book is a really meaningful graphic novel that touches on a lot of important things.

One of the important things that This One Summer touches on is the bond of friendship.  I loved the friendship that went on between Rose and Windy.  They loved each other like sisters, and spent all of their time together.  They had meaningful conversations and they talked about real stuff.  It’s the kind of friendship you can’t help but love.

Another thing that it touches on is parental issues and how it looks to a child.  It might not seem like a big thing, but for those who have experienced it, it might help them to feel not quite as alone when dealing with the problems of their parents.  In this book, Rose’s parents have issues that they try to work out, but Rose can sense it and it really has an effect on her.

The characters, the story, and the illustrations are all beautifully done and incredibly easy to love.  I finished this book in the course of a single afternoon and already plan on going back and rereading it very soon!

5 stars
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