Rose and her parents spend every summer at their lake house, but she’s got a feeling that this summer might be different. Her parents won’t stop fighting. Then Rose and her friend Windy—who lives in a neighboring house—stumble into the drama of the local teens’ lives. This beautifully illustrated graphic novel follows two young girls as they soak in the world around them and begin developing their own opinions.
THIS ONE SUMMER by cousins Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki is my second excursion into the world of graphic novels. I read ANYA’S GHOST a few weeks ago and loved it, and I enjoyed THIS ONE SUMMER just as much. The story is contemporary YA, and though the main characters are young (11-13, their ages are never specified) the book deals with some gritty issues like depression and teen pregnancy. Rose and Windy confront these problems (and many others) for the first time, and their reactions felt very true.
The dialogue in this book is spot on. I want to go back and study it. Often I feel like “tweenage” dialogue either sounds too kiddy or too teenage/older. It’s hard to find a balance sometime, but this novel does it well. Their jokes, their conversation topics, their reactions to tough situations, everything fits their age.
THIS ONE SUMMER is both a Printz and Caldecott honor book. It is a quick read with great art and impressive dialogue. If you’re looking for an older MG/YA graphic novel, give it a try!