Summers Always Bring Drama: This One Summer

GameStop, Inc.

Written By Mariko Tamaki
Art By Jillian Tamaki
First Second
ISBN: 978-1596437746

9781596437746Rose and Windy spend every summer with their families at Awago Beach. Rose and Windy are best friends and they enjoy swimming, hanging out, and sharing their new discovery of mature rated horror movies. Things are different for Rose this year. Her mother had a miscarriage and her parents can’t stop arguing. Rose has also taken notice of a cute guy at the local convenience store, but he’s gotten his girlfriend pregnant and that spurs its own set of problems.

Rose and Windy are both stepping into adolescence, which gives them the unique perspective of observing the world as kids and young adults. Their actions are still written off as innocent antics and adults ignore them when they’re around,  Rose has matured more than Windy and she struggles to deal with her crush on the store clerk and the few encounters with his girlfriend. Her mother is another target point, because she can’t stop crying and Rose doesn’t know how to handle it. Rose is supposed to be the kid, but she’s feeling more vulnerable as her parents aren’t her touchstone. What makes This One Summer amazing is the ending when the adults, who the reader has been left to believe are unobservant, discuss Rose and Windy’s actions during the summer. It gives the reader a chance to see that teenage problems are often made more serious by compounded lack of experience and that parents just go with the flow.

Jillian and Mariko Tamaki blend East and West aesthetics in their graphic novel. The story is told in a Japanese manner with time to appreciate the scenery and longer in the character’s thoughts. For western literature, this only happens in prose novels. Mariko takes Jillian’s words and transforms into a deft little world. Her use of line is phenomenal as they plummet, swerve, and curl with nary an obtuse angle.

A teenage drama of this caliber is rare in a graphic novel and what makes it even better is that it’s not a depressing as most real life teen drama books. Jillian and Mariko Tamaki are sure to make a corner on the market.

 

 

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