This One Summer– A Review

Posted July 3, 2017 by Aleya in aleya, College Assignment, Reviews / 0 Comments

This One Summer– A ReviewThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki
Published by First Second on May 6, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, realistic fiction, Adolescence
Pages: 320
Format: Print, Paperback
Source: Borrowed

Rose and her family have gone to Awago Beach every summer since she was five. She and her friend Windy spend the entire time together. During this trip to Awago things have taken a different turn. Rose’s parents are fighting and she and Windy have stumbled upon some small town drama. This One Summer is one that the girls will not forget. This is the summer where they start to really grow up.

Caldecott Honor (2015), Harvey Awards Nominee for Best Graphic Album Original, Best Artist (for Jillian Tamaki) (2015), Michael L. Printz Award Nominee (2015), Governor General's Literary Awards / Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général for Children's Literature — Illustration (2014), Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Graphic Album-New (2015)

My Thoughts

This One Summer provides an in depth look at a girl growing up. This book is recommended for ages 12 and up but is really more for age 14 and up. This book is strong in the way it deals with the themes of sexuality, depression, teen pregnancy, and so much more. Sexuality and profanity are prevalent throughout the book. This is about two girls who are observing the world around them and changing because of it. They observe much older teens who deal with issues of pregnancy and sexism. Between the artwork and the text, the Tamaki cousins handle these issues with grace. Readers will experience the heartache and struggles of Rose and Windy through this summer at Awago Beach. This book also handles the silences between words well. Readers can see so much without having to actually read. They can experience the slow passage of time, the silences between words, and the body language of different characters.

Trying to think of a weakness for this book is difficult. This is a very powerful realistic YA fiction. The only issue I could see for some readers would be the language and the how often sex is discussed. This is not a weakness for everyone, but it could be for some. Ultimately the way the author and illustrator handle these themes is perfect. This book reminds adult readers of that period of life when you had unrealistic crushes. Teens are going through these adolescent changes and are going to start to really observe the issues this book covers.

This is an important book for readers who may have difficulty with regular print books. Graphic novels are a great way to get into reading. It takes a different set of skills to read this sort of book. Readers have to be able to observe the images while reading through the text. This is easier for most readers because they do not have to come up with images for whatever is happening. This is also an important book because Jillian and Mariko Tamaki do not hold back. They give readers a story of two girls truly growing up. Growing up is difficult and some teens need reminding that they are not alone. It teaches readers to think first, not just make assumptions or follow the crowd. It teaches that some people are going through things they cannot share yet. This is a book that is great for many reasons and is worth reading many times.


Since this book is all about growing up and issues that are in the lives of teens, teens can get in a group and have a group discussion about issues within their lives. Librarians and Teachers are often one of the few adult figures in a teen’s life that is not a parent. Having a round table sort of discussion would allow the teens to open up. This would be a great opportunity for teens to ask the adult questions. It is also an opportunity for teens to see that they are not alone. Everyone deals with issues. This could be done in two separate groups (girls and boys) followed up by a single group with everyone together. It would allow the girls and boys to discuss personal matters that may not affect the other gender.  The group discussion could be great for more broad discussions.

Related Resources

One aspect of the novel that Rose has to deal with is her parents fighting. She also has to deal with her mother’s apathetic nature while on this fun summer getaway. Parents and teens both experience depression. This resource discusses depression in teens. It also lists symptoms of depression which can be used to identify it in others.

Lyness, D. (Ed.). (2016, August). Depression. Retrieved June 24, 2017, from

Another portion of the novel discusses teen pregnancy. Rose and Windy observed a girl who was a little older than themselves dealing with the struggle of being pregnant. If a teen is pregnant they need to know they are not alone and that there is information out there for them. This resource is a jumping off point for information on teen pregnancy, parent resources, teen resources, and so much more.

Reproductive Health: Teen Pregnancy. (2017, May 08). Retrieved June 24, 2017, from

Published Review

Hunter, S. (2014, April 14). Booklist Review–This One Summer. Retrieved June 24, 2017, from


I’m so happy I read this book. I’ve been meaning to get to it but hadn’t yet. I’m glad this class I’m in pushed me to actually pick it up. I loved it. I think more people should read graphic novels like these. This is a great one because it has a sort of manga style to it. It’s a different experience from other graphic novels but poignant nonetheless. Definitely recommend!

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