17 March 2020

This One Summer - Book Review

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Publication date: May 6, 2014
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Graphic novel (not YA)
Rating: 3/5 stars ✰✰✰
Strengths: Evocative illustrations that communicated emotion well
Weaknesses: One-dimensional story

This book definitely wasn't what I was expecting, mostly in a good way. I've been trying to read more graphic novels lately, and this one is required as part of our local adult battle of the books. There was definitely more depth of emotion than I perceived from other graphic novels, especially conveyed through the illustrations.

While I could tell there was a lot of emotional impact from some of Rose and Windy's summer experiences, and how they might be feeling, the limited text left a lot to my imagination. The drawings helped fill this in to a large extent, but I'm used to reading the words in the book, and imagining the pictures instead of the other way around. I don't know if this is from my limited graphic novel experience, or the point of all graphic novels.

I would not recommend this book for young adults or middle-grade readers, which is a bit complicated, as my kids think they should read any graphic novel I do. Not in this case, kids. Our main character, Rose, and her younger friend, Windy, are dealing with a potentially traumatic summer. Rose's parents are fighting a lot - in part because of her mother's adult experience the summer before. In addition, when they escape to the convenience store to just get away from things and rent movies, the teenagers there are embroiled in their own drama. What they overhear is definitely not stuff that early teens or tweens should be trying to understand without adult guidance.

Overall, I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars, and I'm sure I'll be paging through it several more time to keep my eye out for more details that may be useful in the upcoming trivia competition. I'm excited to see what the judges think are the important points of the text and the illustrations.


Liz Parker said...

I don't read graphic novels much but this one could be good. I am LOLing that the friend's name is Windy - kind of unusual.

Rachel said...

Great advice for parents of teens. Sometimes they think graphic novel means it’s for kids. I’m glad you mentioned that.