This One Summer

By: Mariko Tamaki

Illustrated By: Jillian Tamaki

Publication Date: 2014

Status: read

Location: Bookshelf One

Tamaki, Mariko. This one summer.

I enjoyed this graphic novel so much. Though it took place in Canada and though I never went away to a lake house during the summer, I found This One Summer personally nostalgic and wistful in a way I haven’t encountered much in literature. The artwork only adds to these sentiments. Done in brushed shades of blue, Jillian Tamaki is a master at capturing the summertime from the perspective of these girls. The friendship between Rose and Windy was so realistic and reminded me of my own childhood relationships. As adults, it can be hard to open up and deal with emotions and tough situations; as children, these same events become more frustrating and difficult due to our perceived ignorance, and they are compounded by our intense desires to know more. Our protagonist Rose is dealing with a lot in this book. Her parents are experiencing marital strife and she’s going through puberty and the early stages of a crush. As someone who’s only known life with divorced parents, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have the happiness and comfort of life before arguments and separation, but I can definitely put myself in her shoes. Throughout the novel, we begin to chip away at what’s really happening with those around her; we see the reasons behind her parents’ fighting, we see the imperfections of her crush, and we see the complexities of life that she perhaps would not have realized a year earlier. And yet, the true strength of Rose and the true strength of the narrative lies in the friendship between Rose and Windy. Windy isn’t perfect, But she never pretends to be perfect, and while they may only see each other every summer at the lake, Windy is an amazing friend. We should all be so fortunate to have someone like Windy in our lives.


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