“This One Summer” Is the Must-Read Book of the Summer
Once a year there is always at least one graphic novel that, upon its release, will generate such buzz, such critical acclaim, that you will be certain that there’s no way that it could possibly live up to the hype. And almost inevitably you will pick up that graphic novel and be proven joyously wrong.
This One Summer, by cousins Jillian and Mariko Tamaki, is one of these books, and it is nothing short of a masterpiece. A deeply immersive, utterly devastating read that will pitch you between childhood exuberance and the harsh complexities of maturity, all the while striking the resounding, harmonious chord in your heart that epitomizes “summer” and all its wonders.
Rose and Windy are summer friends. They see each other once a year on their respective families’ vacations in the small lakeside town of Awago Beach. Their days are filled with swimming, exploring, devouring sweets, and late night bonfires. But this year is different: Rose’s mother has become emotionally distant and unhappy; Rose herself grapples with a desire to be seen as mature without fully understanding its meaning; and the girls find themselves precariously involved on the sidelines of a scandal surrounding a group of local teens.
What ensues is a thoughtful and arresting journey that examines friendship, ignorance, sexism, and the lasting wounds that can be created by those you love most. All of this is gorgeously illustrated by Jillian Tamaki who creates a visual distillation of summer that encapsulates its beauty and impermanence. While an ebook is available, I highly recommend purchasing a print copy as the book is printed entirely in a rich dark blue ink that only heightens the sense of dreamy nostalgia surrounding This One Summer.
This One Summer is published by First Second Books and is available both online and at most major book retailers.