This One Summer Review

  • Author: Mariko and Jillian Tamaki
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Contemporary
  • No. of pages: 320
  • Dates read: 5.02.2022 – 8.02.2022
  • Star Rating: 2.5 stars

Plot: Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Yeah, I’m going to be honest this didn’t work out for me.

I want to start off with the things I did like about this graphic novel. For starters, I really liked all the art of the backgrounds and moments of peace or where nothing is really happening. Panels of the sea or the dirt road looked really good and added to that quiet beach vibe which I thought worked really well.

I thought the exploration of why Rose’s parents were arguing was presented well and you could really feel through the dialogue and art-style the kind of oppressive depression that is slowly creeping it’s way in.

Most importantly I loved the character Windy. It was literally as if 12/13 year old me just turned up on the page. I loved her vibrancy, her youth, the fact that she wasn’t trying to be older than she is etc. She made me laugh and I really enjoyed reading about her.

Now let’s talk about the things that didn’t work as well…

While I really enjoyed the art-style of the backgrounds the same cannot be said for the character design. I personally just didn’t love the style. It didn’t work for me at all. At certain times I was getting quite a lot of the characters mixed up as they were all designed quite similarly which made reading certain scenes hard to decipher.

Rose, the main character, was annoying to me. I truly understand that there are reasons why Rose acts the way she does in this graphic novel but to me I found her to be quite infuriating in the way she acted out to some of the characters. Especially, my girl Windy. I think because I liked Windy as much as I did it highlighted to me certain elements of Rose’s character that I didn’t like.

Finally, and this is my main issue with this graphic novel, was that I felt the story didn’t go anywhere. We are introduced to a lot plot points in this story from Rose’s parents to a possible teenage pregnancy and I just don’t feel that any of the storylines were truly fleshed out properly or had a strong narrative arc. There didn’t seem like the author had a strong sense of where these stories were going which made the story feel underdeveloped. I think this element of under-development is also another reason I couldn’t connect to Rose as I just felt that she was a very surface-level character with no real depth.

The next book I’ll be reviewing will be The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin.

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