‘This One Summer’ Shines with Joy and Rains with Despair in a Touching Coming of Age Story

Awago Beach is the where Rose and her family spend their summers. Her friend Windy and her non-traditional family also spend every summer at a house on Awago Beach. The beauty of This One Summer is that it, like life, is about everything and nothing. 

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Rose is going through a huge transitional summer. Her parents are fighting and she imagines them getting a divorce. She doesn’t talk to anyone about what she fears or what she hears is going on with her family. She observes and avoids it instead.

Windy and Rose become eye-witnesses to a possible paternity scandal between some of the older teens in towns and Rose becomes engrossed in the drama. 

Windy is younger than Rose and, partially because their personalities are so different and partially because of their different ages and upbringings, the girls seem unlikely friends. Windy is Hawaiian and lives with a lesbian mother and her grandma. There’s no dad in the picture. Windy, true to her name is energetic, excitable and passionate. 

There are more story nuances that one can follow: the older teens and their drama, the history of the location and the Huron natives, the families of the girls, their choices in movies and more. 

There is some graphic use of language and a lot of discussions of sexuality and body changes. The authors, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, have masterfully presented the mix of emotions that the girls are going through during this pivotal summer. The illustrations range from highly detailed leaves and faces to simplistic frames with a flipping Frisbee or a sky full of stars. It’s a remarkably beautiful book and the rendering of the homes and community bring the reader directly to Awago Beach. 

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pub Date: June 2014

ISBN: 9781626720947

Page Count: 320 pages

Publisher: First Second

* Thank you First Second for sending me a review copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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