This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Canadian cousins Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s first collaboration, Skim, won enough major awards to make their second title an eagerly anticipated publishing event. Get ready because This One Summer hits shelves May 6. And here’s the bottom line: Summer is spectacular without a chance of sophomoric slump in sight.
“Okay. Awago Beach is this place. Where my family goes every summer. Ever since … like … forever,” Rose explains as the graphic novel begins. As soon as she arrives with her parents and dumps her suitcase, she goes in search of her “summer cottage friend,” Windy, who will be her constant companion on the beach, at the single sundries store, in front of the screen watching rented scary movies, and more. Windy’s house is often a refuge from the tension and bitter words Rose’s parents lob at one another – her mother is distant and withdrawn, her father angry and confused, and Rose caught somewhere in between.
But this one summer, high drama is also happening in the tiny waterside village among the local teenagers. Rose, who is a year-and-a-half older than Windy, listens closely when she can and learns that Dunc and Jenny are a couple, that a pregnancy might be someone’s unwanted reality. She tries out new words like ‘drunks’ and ‘sluts,’ and is duly disciplined by surprised mothers. As her parents’ relationship becomes more tenuous, Rose pushes away from her childhood toward new adolescent angst, fears, and shattering discoveries. Life after This One Summer ‘since … like … forever’ … will never be the same again.
Rose is a wide-eyed narrator, approaching adolescence with cautious wariness as she navigates through the troubled relationships around her, between young lovers who are just a few years older to parents who were supposed to stay together forever. The Tamaki cousins are undoubtedly two for two, once more capturing the uncertainty and doubt of growing up and pulling away, of knowing too much and not nearly enough. Given their hit record, their third time should be quite the charm.
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult