This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (BEDM)

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I’ve been wanting to read a graphic novel for quite some time, one of length and a stand alone that i can really get in to. On a recent trip to Waterstones, i found This One Summer, which looked absolutely adorable and something that i’d really want to read pretty quickly. Luckily, my friend bought it and lent it to me, win win for me!

This One Summer follows two girls who go to the same cabins each year with their families for the summer. Windy with her mother, and Rose with her two parents who won’t stop fighting, or start talking to each other. It’s very much a character based story that relies on the reactions to certain situations, and that’s the kind of thing i look for in a graphic novel!

The story itself focuses on Windy and Rose as friends more than anything else. It’s almost as though life is happening around them and they are plodding on as friends who only see each other once a year. What i found absolutely wonderful about the writing of this friendship is that it wasn’t perfect. You could tell when Windy or Rose were annoying each other, or they were thought to be immature or inappropriate, and it was really lovely to see a friendship survive those little moments of annoyance. Many friendships have them, and it was great to see that translated to the page.

The story is then filled with little family life quips, like how Windy’s mother is a little too out-there and Rose’s parents are going through their own family difficulties, which was a really great addition to the story and showed how mature Rose was as a character. This One Summer also deals very forwardly about topics such as relationship issues and also fertility issues which isn’t mentioned often in books, let alone graphic novels. It was a really lovely change of pace for a graphic novel story, and i really enjoyed the added additions of Rose’s family’s issues.

I’m not a fan of black and white graphic novel artwork in general. I have always found it hard to follow and i thought i’d become much more uninterested without plenty of colour to look at across the page. However, i must say that i found the artwork in This One Summer absolutely stunning. It was simple and sweet and perfectly fitted the story-line and tone of the book. I think i’m slowly growing in to a black and white illustrator reader…

This is a story about growing up, finding out who you are and most of all, letting go. Letting go of the good and the bad, which is difficult to put all in to one novel i think. I absolutely loved the tone, the humour and also the serious scenes which kept it moving quickly. It was a truly lovely read and i think it will be a novel that i return to again and again to immerse myself in these characters.

 

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