|THIS ONE SUMMER by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki|
Published by Groundwood Books in 2014
This is a book filled with nostalgia. Countless blogs and professional reviews have called this book the story of the summer—and I understand why. This One Summer is a simple tale. There are no big twists or shocking moments. Rather, the narration is laidback and unusually focused on the "everyday" life of a young girl and her friend at a summer lake house. The art mirrors the relaxing story, perfectly emulating a relaxing summer near the water.
Rose hopes Awago Beach will help her escape the troubles in her home life. Of course, it doesn't, and this coming-of-age story has just as much to do with a girl growing up as it does learning to accept that we can't run from our troubles. Rose and Windy aren't typical young teenagers; there's more character to these girls than in most 500-page novels. It's an honest portrayal of a very vulnerable age, and I think anyone who was once a young girl will understand what the creators are trying to portray.
This graphic novel is set in Ontario, where many people escape to a lake house or a cottage or a cabin once or twice a year. Most people in Ontario have fond memories of family escapes during the summer. While I'm not one of those people, This One Summer made me feel like I am: reading this book made me feel nostalgic for something I never did have. I imagine the story will have an even stronger pull on those who spent days lounging at a cottage with nothing to do but read, swim, and relax with family.
Pick up This One Summer as soon as you can, but consider keeping it tucked away somewhere safe until next summer's travels. This is a book that needs to be read in one sitting while sitting on a dock, surrounded by water.