Review: This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki & Mariko Tamaki
There is a quiet beauty to this graphic novel of a girl on the cusp of adolescence. Rose and her parents travel to Awago Beach every summer. Rose's friend Windy is always there with her family too, and the pair have become fast friends. This year things are different. Rose and Windy are no longer little kids, but they're not quite yet adolescents and they're starting to notice a lot of things in the world around them. Suddenly, things aren't quite as cozy or as happy as they used to be.
Essentially, this is a story about a girl who is learning that the world isn't the safe place that she thought it would be. Rose is crushing on an older boy (one who really isn't much of a catch,) and struggles to come to terms with some of the harsh realities of life when she discovers that his girlfriend is pregnant. She reacts in a way that, while it isn't nice, is realistic. Luckily, Windy is slightly better adjusted and is able to set her straight. There is a concurrent story about Rose's mother, who is battling with her own demons, ones that Rose doesn't quite understand.
In many ways, this novel reminded me of a time when I was about the same age as Rose, and I began to understand that the world wasn't always safe, or comfortable, and that not everyone was kind. There are a lot of nuances within the narrative and much is communicated quite well through the illustrations.