by Mariko Tamaki
Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki
Published by Macmillan
Genres: Comics & Graphic Novels, Young Adult
This beautiful graphic novel is set in the beachside holiday town of Awago. Rose and her “summer friend” Windy stay in cottages with their families, swim, watch horror movies, and hang out at the local store.
As the friends hang out at the edges of the dramas of the local older teenagers and the adults in their families, we also see into the beginnings of Rose’s pubertal turmoil and desire.
This One Summer is a lyrical show-don’t-tell look at liminal times in girls’/women’s lives – not just preteen and teen years, but also the end of childbearing. This is a book of friendship, yearnings, overhearings, silences, loss, fear, grief, and aftermath.
I love that the book feels authentic. I love the weaving metaphors of stones and water. I love the lush blue & white art. I love that bodies with diverse shapes are shown.
There was just one thing I didn’t love – the way that the slightly chubbier friend was always shown guzzling sugar. This felt judgy and jarring in comparison with the rest of the book. But overall, a big win.