Winner of the Governor General's Award for Children's Illustration
Rose and Windy are summer friends whose families have visited Awago Beach for as long as they can remember. But this year is different, and they soon find themselves tangled in teen love and family crisis. From the creators of Skim comes an investigation into the mysterious world of adults.
Sure, Rose’s dad is still making cheesy and embarrassing jokes, but her mother is acting like she doesn’t even want to be there. Plus, being at the cottage isn’t just about going to the beach anymore. Now Rose and Windy are spending a lot of their time renting scary movies and spying on the teenagers who work at the corner store, as well as learning stuff about sex no one mentioned in health class.
Pretty soon everything is messed up. Rose’s father leaves the cottage and returns to the city, and her mother becomes more and more withdrawn. While her family is falling to pieces, Rose focuses her attention on Dunc, a teenager working at the local corner store. When Jenny, Dunc’s girlfriend, claims to be pregnant, the girls realize that the teenagers are keeping just as many secrets as the adults in their lives.
No one seems to want to talk about the things that matter. When the tension between Dunc and Jenny boils over, Jenny makes a desperate and destructive move and Rose's mother is galvanized into action. In the aftermath, nothing is completely resolved, but secrets have been aired, which means that things are at least a bit better for everyone. For Rose and Windy, the end of summer brings the realization that, while Awago Beach might always be the same, they have both been changed forever.
From Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, creators of the multi-award-winning graphic novel Skim, comes a stunning and authentic story of friendship, illustrated with subtly heart-breaking moments and pure summer joy.
Mariko’s strengths as a writer lie in her subtlety and her ability to convey whole worlds of feeling within a few lines of dialogue. . . . Jillian’s full page illustrations are engrossing.
At its heart, This One Summer is a coming-of-age story about an observer. . . . Rose proves herself to be as quietly powerful as this moving, evocative book.
A relentlessly unsentimental vision, built around the dawning recognition that there can be no escaping, that everything counts in large amounts.
Jillian and Mariko Tamaki . . . skillfully portray the emotional ups and downs of a girl on the cusp of adolescence in this eloquent graphic novel. . . . Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated—a triumph.
Together, the Tamakis have created a quiet masterpiece. . . . Contrary to its title, This One Summer is timeless.
This captivating graphic novel presents a fully realized picture of a particular time in a young girl’s life, an in-between summer filled with yearning and a sense of ephemerality.
[T]he illustrations powerfully evoke the densely wooded beach town setting and the emotional freight carried by characters at critical moments . . . Fine characterization and sensitive prose distinguish the story.
With a light touch, the Tamakis capture the struggle of growing up in a patchwork of summer moments . . . Wistful, touching, and perfectly bittersweet.
Even as the book grows darker, the fighting gets uglier and the inevitable loss of innocence draws closer, a sense of hope remains, and your empathy with the characters never falters. It’s difficult subject matter handled with grace.
The tweens’ frank and often humorous conversations and their jubilant fun together provide a counterpoint to the turmoil around them.
The book is poignant and melancholy, and it will be swiftly recognizable to those who only recently hovered at the cusp of adolescence.