This One Summer
This is a story in graphic pictures and very few words of a summer at the sea experienced by a preadolescent teen and her younger girlfriend. With artistic skill and emotional sensitivity, both the author and the illustrator have captured the vulnerability, curiosity, uncertainty, daring, and personalities of the youngsters, along with the awkward restlessness that characterizes growing up. The two young girls confront sex and drugs, family misunderstandings, bodily changes, emotional upheavals, and peer pressures during their summer adventures at the beach or cycling around the island. They worry about their changing body shapes, especially the ‘boobs’ that will pop out and fantasize over the possible results. Parental problems confuse them and the rowdy exploits of the older teens they confront serve as the behavior norm. Exposure to a teen pregnancy and a failed suicide trigger many perplexing questions.
Captured in captivating black and white illustrations are the meanderings of a young girl’s unstructured summer and her random encounters with new experiences. In this summer’s growth, the reader watches the young heroine confront the problems that bewilder her but which begin to clarify as she experiences the sweet sorrow of growing pains. This is a fast-reading book that adolescents will relate to.
Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki, Illustrator