TITLE: This One Summer
AUTHOR: Mariko Tamaki
ILLUSTRATOR: Jillian Tamaki
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Rose and Windy learn more about the complex world of adults on a summer vacation cottage in Awago.
GENRE: Graphic Novel | Young Adult | Coming of Age | Contemporary
Sometimes when I go to the library I find myself a hidden gem within it’s books. The last time I went I found this book, the cover doesn’t have a synopsis, but one glimpse of the inside was enough to convince me. I knew that I had a contemporary graphic novel in my hands, a rare sighting in the world of graphic novels which are dominated by fantasy and action stories.
Other than that glimpse and the title, I had no idea what the story would be about. There is something about this novel that is enchanting and simple which made me enjoy it. There aren’t a lot of words and that helped me read it in one sitting. Like Blankets, the pictures do the storytelling and the text is extra information, and I love it when graphic novels are able to do that. In that way this is a quiet and subtle story (if that even makes sense).
While the story is about Rose’s summer vacation, it’s also about all these quiet stories around her. There is something so amazingly subtle about these background stories that say so much without saying much. They tell you enough to know what is happening and lets you fill in the rest of the blank spots. The same goes for Rose’s family dynamic, and her friendship with Windy.
The art is drawn in different shades of blue which I loved because it offers a relaxing tone to the drama brewing underneath. The story and art also give me a nostalgic feeling of summer vacations although my family doesn’t have a summer cottage.
The characters are pre-teen and talk about growing up, boys, and they’re also immature. In other words, they act their age. I’m not sure if they take away anything from their summer together, but that’s a whole other issue I had with the book.
The only thing I didn’t like was the conclusion, or lack of conclusion. I kept waiting for something to happen at the end, a sort of resolution, but that never came. I think part of the reason there’s no real ending is because there is no plot. Like I said before, this is a very quiet book, and I appreciated that and all its nuances, but I was left without resolve. If I hadn’t liked its quietness, subtleness, and artwork so much, I would have given this a 2/5.