This One Summer - Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

Review for…

This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki

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.

In the beginning of the movie Spirited Away we meet the main character in the back of a car, sullenly anticipating arriving at a new home, new town, new school. Her old friends are left behind, but she holds a bouquet of flowers that were a parting gift. Before the story turns into a full-blown fantastical adventure, there’s something very mundane and bittersweet about these moments, and I think most viewers understood her mood, even if they were impatient with her.

Rose starts off her summer in a good mood, happily anticipating the weeks at Awago Beach. But her parents aren’t happy, and their small disagreements stir up discontent and drive Rose and her friend Windy to seek new adventures, and into the drama of some local teens instead. Neither of the girls is a participant, but the way the two dramas are actually mirrors of each other, and the implications of sex and communication in both, have an effect on the girls.

The tone is slightly distant even as we barely miss a detail. The voice is of an older child taking her first steps and missteps toward adulthood. A lot is left unsaid, and in the moments of silence, we can only guess at the thoughts that Rose doesn’t find room for in the margins. It’s slice of life, and there is no clear ‘lesson’ here, but there is growth, a fraction of it anyway, and the result is something nostalgic even if you share almost nothing with the main character aside from being or having been a child as well, so close but still on the outside.

Pages: 320
Year: 6 May 2014
Publisher: First Second

Read: 28 Dec 17 - 28 Dec 17
Stars: 4 (really liked it)